September 8, 2015
At last Tuesday’s Board of Trustees meeting, the Board acted unanimously to approve a new traffic signal at 95th Street and 50th Court. The proposed changes will offer a much needed way to enter and exit the Patriot Station Metra parking structure from 95th Street. Currently, all commuter traffic flows through the residential area long 52nd Avenue. At rush hour, these quiet residential streets become extremely busy with aggressive commuter traffic.
The earliest that the signal will be installed will be the fall of 2016.
The location for the new signal and an illustration of the street modifications are outlined in blue on the illustration below. Museum Drive will be extended to curve behind the former Karas building to 50th Court and 95th Street.
Presently, traffic coming from the east cannot turn onto Museum Drive and this creates a hardship for businesses in the area. Having easier and safer access from 95th Street will improve access for these stores and especially for the hugely popular Children’s Museum, which is expected to have it’s 500,000th visitor this month.
The 95th Street Corridor Study (https://oaklawn95thstreetcorridorplan.wordpress.com/) had a lot to say about the traffic problems in the area and suggested a pedestrian friendly area just south of 95th Street, thus access to and from 95th Street is critical. An illustration of their vision for the Patriot Station campus appears below.
This study is now adopted public policy and this new signal is the first step to realizing a more vibrant Village center as outlined in the study. They envisioned what is now the alley south of these businesses becoming an opportunity for a new pedestrian friendly face of downtown Oak Lawn. Below are some conceptual drawings how things might change.The illustrations below begin with the current view and show two other visualizations of how more “livable” the area would be with more space for pedestrians.
In addition to the approval of the new traffic signal, the Board approved funding for the local PADS (Public Awareness to Deliver Shelter) program and PLOWS Council on Aging. An intergovermental agreement with Cook County was approved, which dramatically improves the signage on Southwest Highway and Central with illuminated signs. Equipment for our police department was authorized, and a bid was approved for work on the regional water system.
In her capacity as Liquor Commissioner, Mayor Bury appointed five residents to serve on a new Liquor Advisory Board. This Advisory Board will assist Mayor Bury in reviewing applications for liquor licenses, conducting disciplinary hearings related to violations of the Oak Lawn Liquor Code and will also assist in reviewing and recommending changes to the Oak Lawn Liquor Code.
The Board of Trustees will still have full authority to increase or decrease the number of establishments that serve liquor and will continue to vote for any proposals in changes to the code. The Advisory Board was created to provide greater resident input and participation while making the process more transparent.