Mayfair traffic study sought
By BRIAN NADIG
The Mayfair Civic Association is requesting a traffic study on whether to make east-west streets in the area one-way in an effort to reduce cut-through traffic and improve safety.
Twenty-two residents voted in favor of a motion calling for the study at the association’s April 11 meeting, while 10 voted for no study. Some of those who voted against the study said that the traffic patterns in the area should remain unchanged.
At two earlier association meetings this year, residents expressed support for converting Leland Avenue, Sunnyside Avenue and Wilson Avenue from two-way to one-way between Elston Avenue on the east and the Edens Expressway on the west. Some residents said that the city should consider making the streets one-way between Elston and Pulaski Road, but most of the discussion centered on traffic and parking problems west of Elston.
Residents have said that the streets, which are 24 feet wide in some sections, are too narrow to accommodate two-way traffic and that incidents in which parked cars are sideswiped are common. Many residents at the meetings also said that making the streets one-way is a better alternative than eliminating parking on one side of the street.
There was confusion at the start of the April meeting about whether the association was going to vote on requesting a study or on recommending that the streets be made one-way. The city Department of Transportation recently conducted a study of Leland that some residents criticized as too informal, and Alderman John Arena (45th) has asked the department conduct studies of Wilson and Sunnyside.
Elizabeth Granato, an aide to Alderman Margaret Laurino (39th), told the association that a decision on whether to covert the streets to one-may will not be made in the near future. Under the redistricting of ward boundaries, the entire Mayfair neighborhood is moving into the 39th Ward.
“We will do our best to make sure that there is a consensus before we move forward,” Granato said. “We will reach out to the full community.”
The association held a vote on the issue 10 years ago that ended in a virtual deadlock because of disagreement over which direction each street should flow. “There was so much debate, we decided to do nothing,” association Zoning and Development Committee chairman Chris Lambesis said. “(Former alderman) Pat Levar decided that two votes shouldn’t decide the issue.”
The association is requesting that a new study consider making all or a part of Leland, Wilson and Sunnyside one-way and that it also examine other issues, such as parking congestion. One resident said that some of the parking restrictions in the area are on streets where residents do not have garages to park their vehicles, and another resident said that rush-hour turning restrictions could be used to deter cut-through traffic.
The association asks that residents send their traffic concerns to association Traffic/Safety Committee chairman Vittorio Gomez via e-mail at email@example.com.
Also at the meeting, Lambesis announced that Dispatch Taxi, 4536 N. Elston Ave., has informed the association that 93 percent of the cabs in its fleet typically are leased and that on some shifts 100 percent of the company’s vehicles are in use. Residents have complained that the company’s cabs are being parked on Elston.
It also was announced that residents who want to volunteer for the city’s annual “Clean and Green Day” should meet at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 20, at Mayfair Park, 4550 W. Sunnyside Ave. The association is planning to clean the park and the landscaped bump-outs along Lawrence.
A 39th Ward paper-shredding and electronics-recycling event will be held from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 27, at Lawrence and Kostner avenues.
The association also is asking residents to fill out a survey which is in its April newsletter about the type of entertainment which they would like to see at vacant and underutilized storefronts in the area. The survey is part of Laurino’s “Mayfair Alive” initiative to revitalize the commercial area.