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Commissioner corner

I've held off writing much about my new post as a Transportation Commissioner partly because I'm still getting a feel for the position. Not to mention the first two meetings were no-brainers in my book. Resident-led petitions for stop signs or overnight parking on the street in front of their home. Those ideas both should get enthusiastic support in my world. Residential 4-way stops and crosswalks near a playground and the basic idea that someone should at least get the opportunity to park in front of their house or apartment are uncomplicated.

So I was fairly excited going into this week's meeting to see something I absolutely had no opinion about. Nothing. No previous thoughts going into the matter. Don't get me wrong, I had concerns to bring up. But no opinion as to the idea being presented. Wow me. Win me over with your persuasive argument.

The topic at hand was a request from the local high school to turn the block of busy street in front of the high school stadium from student permit parking to a school bus loading zone (with blocks of hourly visitor parking in the morning). Which is a...weird...situation because it involves two communities who share one high school. Plus two taxing bodies between the high school and the village. Nothing is uncomplicated here.

There was someone from the high school at the meeting to give testimony about the problem (of buses double parking). And one resident who owns an apartment complex across the street had a few comments. A traffic study was completed by the village about the parking situation...a traffic study, unfortunately, whose data did not show the problem we all realize exists. Usually, staff from the village makes a recommendation to us. Which we're free to approve, reject, amend as our 7-person recommendation to the Village Board. In this case, however, village staff had no recommendation.

Which pretty much left us on our own.

Strong opinions all around. Don't remove the student parking. We need more info. Let's slice the baby in two and try to make half the block student parking with half the block a bus loading zone (which staff did most definitely have an opinion about how to best do). We had concerns about the complicated signage required for all these rules--including the fact that the signs explicitly cover the school year only from August to June. Then there was me who can't quite understand what the high school needing to better schedule and instruct their buses about extracurricular pickup/drop off has to do with needing to change parking regulations. While I understand the needs of the high school students, I wasn't sure this was the plan...or venue...to solve the problem. I tried to hop on the block-splitting idea at first but the more I thought about it...ugh.

In the end, the solution of having the block split between student parking and bus loading went 3-3 (we had a missing member) so it was tabled. We asked for more research and will revisit down the road. Pardon the pun. For now, the whole block will stay student permit parking. Though they still had to run it by the Village Attorney about whether or not the Trustees would get to see something that we, technically, defeated. If you call a 3-3 vote to not do something a negative action.

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