Traffic on Keeler to revert to one-way
by BRIAN NADIG
Traffic flow in the 5100 block of North Keeler Avenue will once again become one-way northbound after a 3-month trial during which a portion of the street has been two-way to accommodate cars that are leaving the Gompers Park parking lot on the east side of the street.
Last fall the portion of the block from the parking lot exit south to Carmen Avenue became two-way to allow vehicles to travel west on Carmen to northbound Kostner, where motorists can turn onto Foster at a stoplight. The city made the change because of the difficulty of making a left or right turn onto Foster from Keeler.
However, in response to concerns about the change, Alderman Margaret Laurino (39th) has introduced an ordinance to make the entire 5100 block of Keeler back to one-way northbound, Laurino spokesman Manuel Galvan said. Police reported at the Feb. 6 meeting of the North Mayfair Improvement Association that there have been problems with northbound motorists driving down the middle of the street and thus not allowing for two-traffic between the parking lot and Carmen.
Association president Rich Kroon said that he tries to avoid parking in the Gompers lot because of the difficulty of turning onto Foster from Keeler.
Resident Michael Stirk said that one of the main reasons that the two-way traffic experiment on Keeler failed was that residents were not given any warning of the change, creating confusion. “It just went up the day after Thanksgiving,” Stirk said. “How do people usually react to change? They don’t like it.”
Stirk has opened a Facebook page called “New Foster Avenue” which outlines ways that traffic on Foster can be slowed for the benefit of both pedestrians and drivers. “It’s time to sit down and plan things out,” he said.
Stirk said that many motorists drive over the speed limit of 30 miles per hour and that it is dangerous for pedestrians to cross Foster, even where there are stoplights and crosswalks at Tripp Avenue and at Kostner. Foster has two lanes in each direction, although parking is allowed in the right lane.
One of the traffic strategies which the city should consider for Foster is a “road diet,” which slows traffic by either narrowing or eliminating lanes, Stirk said. The strategy calls for reallocating the space for turn lanes, pedestrian refuge islands or wider sidewalks.
Laurino has asked the city Department of Transportation to study safety improvements for Foster, Galvan said.