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Not all residents like Countryside’s plan for busy side streets

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By Steve Metsch 

In attempt to stop motorists from cutting through a neighborhood – and to the chagrin of some residents there – the Countryside City Council has approved installing “no right turn” signs along East Avenue at 56th, 57th and 58th streets.

More motorists have been using those side streets as shortcuts between East Avenue and La Grange Road to the west because of the seemingly never-ending roadwork on East Avenue.

At the council meeting on July 17, residents Beatrice Sutkus, Sandy Said and Rose Dostal questioned the logic of doing so.

“The problem that I see, I live right off of 56th and East, is cars speeding down 56th Street from the west to the east. … Sometimes, they don’t even stop at the stop sign,” Sutkus said.

Drivers are trying to avoid roadwork on 55th Street and East Avenue, she said.

“That is the concern. How do we stop speeding cars (that are) getting off at La Grange Road?” Sutkus asked.

Said, of the 9700 block of 57th Street, voiced her displeasure with the idea for no-turn signs.

She expressed concern about the residents being allowed to turn into their neighborhood, and is also worried about speeders.

“(Officers) are sitting there (in the neighborhood) at 11 o’clock in the (morning) when there’s not that much traffic,” she said. “You’re not going to catch anybody.”

“I’m not sure when this idea came up. We never seem to know in the village when these types of ordinances are being proposed,” Said said.

Mayor Sean McDermott said the topic was covered in an infrastructure committee meeting. “Some of your questions, I believe, will be answered.”

When public concerns were aired about too many using the streets as shortcuts, the committee addressed the issues, McDermott said.

Ald. Mark Benson, who chairs the infrastructure committee, said the public is welcome to attend all committee meeting, adding that the topic was researched and discussed at length.

“We had several lengthy infrastructure meetings that are always advertised and open to the public. The police took part. Our city engineer did hours and hours of timing vehicle speed and counts, eastbound and westbound.

“The city council is not the only time we get together. A lot of our decisions are based on committee meetings and voted on in the city council (meetings),” Benson said.

Residents will still be allowed to turn onto the three side streets from East Avenue, Benson said. If they are pulled over, they can simply show their driver’s license, he said.

Dostal, who lives on 56th Street near East Avenue, said since the roadwork is expected to last a couple more years, “why can’t we suggest no right turn from La Grange Road? … Temporary. I think it may ease some tension.”

That said, signs forbidding east-bound turns from La Grange Road onto the side streets are not part of the city’s solution.

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