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How do you solve a problem like...an uncontrolled intersection?

The corner of Greenfield and Forest is currently one of the few remaining uncontrolled intersections in Oak Park. No stop signs from any direction. It's a residential T intersection that dead-ends into a large park, is one block north of a school, and is frequently congested with event parking for baseball/soccer games. The only crosswalk is the older style (faded) parallel bars. The walkways coming out of the park slope downward towards the street and don't feature any markings, ADA-compliant texture, etc.. The route features about 1,600 cars per day (800-1200 is typical for a residential street in the village) with speeds of 30 mph as drivers cut-through the neighborhood from major roads.

What to do?

The resident petition last night was for upgrading to an all-way stop. But there have been no crashes at the intersection in the last 3 years or in the village-wide traffic study from a decade ago. As I've discussed before on the blog, stop signs may be the cheap/obvious sol…
Recent posts

Guest post: Amazing Aerodynamics!

I was approached by the folks at Education.com about possibly doing an activity of theirs as a guest post. (I'm not affiliated with them in any way.) It's a kinda cool science experiment to do with your kids and I'm all for that. Enjoy!

Activity:
Amazing Aerodynamics With a button, string and a stopwatch, children can see, hear and measure aerodynamics in action! In this energy transfer activity, your child will compare the spin duration of a button strung on different kinds of string. Two key elements of the scientific method are introduced: how to record results of an experiment on a data chart and how to use data to support a conclusion. GradeThird Grade SubjectSciencePhysical Science What You Need:Flat button with 2 holes5-10 kinds of string (thread, yarn, fishing line, kite string, dental floss, waxed thread, twine, etc.)Measuring tapeStopwatchPaper and pen What You Do: Ask your child to cut each type of string into 4-foot lengths.Have your child thread the string through…

Léa Oak Park first thoughts...

I decided to try Oak Park's new "locally sourced, authentically French" eatery--called Léa--for lunch today. It's a great concept, but was a bit of a rough experience.

When you walk into the restaurant, the line was almost out the door. (A great problem to have!) In the end, it would have been a benefit to have someone greeting guests and explaining both the process and that they were struggling. There are rows of menu cards on the wall, very artistic/rustic and cute, which are divided into 3 rows. Sandwiches on top. Salads in the middle. Tartines and kids meals on the bottom. There are quiches of the day and soups. Plus a little case of bakery items.

Making your way to the registers, there are computers for self-serve order input...something I'd rather not have seen. Each meal comes with sides, different bread types, etc. and it's just easier to tell a cashier. Plus, one of the ongoing problems was that you're asked to take a number from the counter and …

Transportation Commission update

As always, please note that I'm just one of 7 voices...
Parking StudyWe had the rare opportunity to meet with our Board liaison, Trustee Tucker, at last night's commission meeting. It's helpful to get immediate feedback on our work, but usually there is a simultaneous board meeting he must attend. As part of a discussion about hiring a consultant, there needed to be a conversation about the Transportation Commission's role and appetite for more work relating to the Board's ongoing parking study. We already have a lot on our plate, but we've agreed to hold a few extra meetings. Especially with regard to seeking more public input on parking. Not to mention that we needed to be able to see eye-to-eye about the goals and anticipated outcomes of the parking study. I'm still deeply skeptical about that part. 

My own personal skepticism is not the timeline (it's refreshingly quick for Oak Park) nor the process itself. Rather, I think the process is putting the …

The Never-Never Rules

Don't get me wrong. Broadly speaking, it's probably a good idea we teach kids a few basics of safety. Not every parent is equipped to show responsible handling of potentially dangerous situations. So we create very general guidelines that apply to most. It's cool.

I'm not really upset that my kids are learning about things like unwanted touches. Though there was a little overheard discussion at preschool drop-off about getting everybody onboard with the same body part names as they're referenced in the lessons. We all handle these things a little differently.

So when the school sent home the "Never-Never Rules" that they'll be studying soon I cringed a bit. Here they are...

The Never-Never Rules are: • Never ride on wheels without wearing a helmet. • Never cross the street without checking all ways for traffic. • Never play with fire. • Never touch a dog without asking the person in charge. • Never use a sharp tool without an older person’s help. • Never touch g…

Rome wasn't built in a day...and neither was your street

One day last week, I was waiting at the bus stop with my son before school when we heard that sound. You know the one. Crunching plastic and metal that is characteristic of a crash. When we looked down the street, a sporty make/model had been trying to make a left turn out of the alley with parked cars blocking the view. This is exactly the situation we've been trying to prevent with the new traffic light which is due for installation any day (supposedly) at the next intersection down where we were standing.

But it was a long, winding process from the time our local business association asked that the Right Turn Only restriction be removed to the approval of the new traffic light. That initial meeting predates my almost-three years on the Transportation Commission. There's been fighting with the state over the design and funding. The the lowest bid was double what was expected at the time of approval. And my sinking feeling as I watched the drivers sort out their information …

Why I March for Science

It would be too easy to say "for my kids" and leave it at that. When thousands gather to March for Science in Chicago on Saturday, we're marching for progress for humanity that only science can bring. It seems fairly obvious that nearly every aspect of modern life is deeply influenced by our past investment in evidence-based policy, education, and research. From the cell phone in your pocket to the moon landing, America does science better than anyone. And many (most?) of our best accomplishments in science came via government support. If we expand our vision slightly, science has also given us our national parks, preserves our history, and keeps our economy thriving.

But there are cracks in America's science program.

There are those willing to sacrifice our clean water and air. They deny climate change. They deny that vaccines are one of our best medical techniques for saving lives. They wish to lower the amount of research dollars given to important studies. They …