Mayfair Association discusses conversion to one-way streets
by BRIAN NADIG
The possibility of making Leland Avenue, Wilson Avenue and Sunnyside Avenue one-way streets between the Edens Expressway and Elston Avenue was discussed at the Feb. 21 meeting of the Mayfair Civic Association.
About 80 percent of the 25 residents at the meeting raised their hands when asked if making those streets one-way should be explored. Association members are planning to go door to door to get residents’ opinions on how to address problems with cut-through traffic and cars being sideswipes on narrow streets.
The association worked with former alderman Patrick Levar on a plan to make the neighborhood’s east-west streets one-way about 10 years ago, but the idea never gained enough support from residents. Association president Ron Duplack said that while he feels that the community may now be ready to support the plan, more response from residents is needed.
At the request of Alderman John Arena (45th), the city Department of Transportation recently conducted a traffic study of Leland and concluded that it should either be made one-way or that parking should be prohibited on one side. Several residents said that they oppose eliminating parking because it would increase parking congestion.
“Certain parking areas were utilized more than others, but frequently resulted in two cars parked across the street from one another,” the study states. “The consequence was a very narrow travel lane, in which westbound and eastbound vehicles came in conflict with one another.
“Most drivers determined naturally which party was to yield (e.g. yield to the vehicle that arrives first), but CDOT observed a few instances where it was not clear and the possibility of an accident became a concern.”
A woman said at the meeting that after her car was severely damaged in an accident on Leland several years ago, she conducted a petition drive calling for the street to be one-way. “Everyone agreed it should be one-way but could not agree which way,” she said.
After association members discussed the results of the study, many agreed that a more comprehensive plan may be needed. “It’s not going to be that we change one street and everything is great,” Duplack said. “There will be ramifications. If you change one street, it’s going to have impact on other streets.”
Arena’s chief of staff Owen Brugh said that the Leland study was requested after residents expressed concern about the narrowness of the street, which is 24 feet wide in most segments between the expressway and Elston. Brugh said that the alderman later requested that other side streets in Mayfair be examined.
Under the redistricting, all of Mayfair will be in the 39th Ward, and Arena is transferring the paperwork that the ward office has on Mayfair traffic issues to Alderman Margaret Laurino, Brugh said. The association is planning to hold a special meeting on traffic issues during the third week of March.
Also at the meeting, a presentation was made on Energy Impact Illinois, which is an alliance of local governments, utility companies and nonprofit agencies that works with home owners to lower their energy bills. Through the alliance, home energy assessments can be conducted for $99, and a rebate of up to $1,750 is available to cover the cost of insulation and other improvements.
For more information on the program, call 855-946-7228 or visit energyimpactillinois.org.