Consultants lay out vision for less traffic and more bike lanes on one of Oak Park's busiest thoroughfares.
- LOCAL CONNECTIONS
- Casey Cora
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
How do you use Madison Street? Before you answer that, consider some stats: The east-west corridor is four lanes of traffic between Harlem Avenue and Austin Boulevard, interrupted by eight stoplights. An average of about 17,000 vehicles travel the road everyday, and an estimated 25 to 30 percent of that traffic won't stop while passing through Oak Park. “It’s turning into a standard strip,” said Josephine Bellalta, cofounder of Altmanu, Inc., a design firm that's sketching out a redesign of Madison Street. “Is that what we want?” Well? Is it? That's a question pondered by the committee overseeing what could be a major overhaul to one of Oak Park's most heavily trafficked thoroughfares. Related: A Bike Route from Oak Park to Chicago? The …
Proposed changes would axe some vehicle lanes and add bike lanes, trees and wider sidewalks.
Officials in Oak Park are considering a plan that puts parts of Madison Street on a "road diet," one that would shave traffic lanes from the busy corridor and add bike lanes and wider sidewalks. The idea, officials say, is to provide an economic shot in the arm for Madison Street, which has suffered an exodus of car dealerships — and their sales tax base — in recent years. A more walkable and pedestrian-friendly Madison Street could lure new businesses while at the same time providing Oak Parkers with a greener, cleaner corridor to use while getting around town. That's the vision, anyway. There are three current proposals for renovating Madison from Harlem Avenue to Austin Boulevard, a stretch that sees an estimated 18,000 cars a day. …