Riverside trustees last week gave the go-ahead to permanently shut down the short section of Parkview Avenue that arcs from First Avenue to Forest Avenue, but they’re going to have to wait until they get the blessing of the Illinois Department of Transportation to do it.
Public Works Superintendent Daniel Tabb said he has petitioned IDOT to allow the village to erect a barrier where Parkview Avenue meets the east side of First Avenue, but that he has no idea when the state agency might respond or even allow it.
“It could take a while,” Tabb said.
Village officials, particularly from public works, have complained that the short street, which cuts through Cook County Forest Preserve District property, has become a dumping ground for people who want to rid themselves of everything from construction and landscaping debris to bags of trash.
“It seems to be the community dump for people who don’t want to pay [for a dumpster or waste hauler],” Tabb said.
The roadway, which once was the access road for a now-demolished Cook County Forest Preserve District watchman’s house, no longer serves a purpose other than as a cut through for northbound motorists looking to avoid the stop light at First and Forest avenues.
The street is in terrible condition, making even some impatient drivers think twice about risking their car’s tires, and it’s not lit at night – perfect for someone wanting to get rid of something without being noticed.
“It’s so dark back there, you can drive in, unload and drive away and no one’s the wiser,” Tabb said.
While the village of Riverside owns the street itself, the land on either side of it is forest preserve property. And while cleaning up debris dumped there technically ought to be done by the county, Riverside Public Works does it because they don’t want to wait for the county to do it.
Village President Ben Sells indicated the village is seeking to perhaps trade the Forest Preserve District the street property for some other property, and that those talks were ongoing.
In the meantime, however, the village wants to block access to what’s become an attractive nuisance.
While Riverside could block off the street at Forest Avenue without seeking permission, the village can’t eliminate a curb cut on First Avenue, a state highway, without IDOT approval, said Tabb.