CHICAGO (UKTN) – Speed bumps and dead ends usually add to one thing in Chicago – controversy.
A prime example right now is a proposed cul-de-sac in the University Village – and as UKTN 2 political investigator Dana Kozlov found out on Tuesday, technology could be the root of all the problems.
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The cul-de-sac would be built where 14th Street meets Union Avenue. Opponents say it would force traffic to the next busy street to the west – Halsted Street – but those in favor say it’s all about safety.
On the short stretch of 14th Street in question right now, there are plenty of issues – including grilled stop signs, over-speeding cars, and drivers using the stretch for quick access to the road. Dan Ryan Highway via Ruble Street. Some do it after committing a crime.
“It’s their direct access, right here on 14th Street,” said Charmaine Nichols of University Village.
Many of those who live near 14th Street between Halsted Street and Union Avenue have said it makes their neighborhood unsafe.
“I think it’s just risky to cross the street,” said Sarah Wieland of University Village.
This concern is why Nichols, Wieland and several other neighbors want a dead end.
But Sharon Lewis and over 100 other close neighbors don’t, and they’ve signed a petition against it.
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“It literally has a negative impact on the majority of the University Village because it’s our way back,” Lewis said.
Traffic and congestion, along with convenience, are the reasons Lewis and others oppose the blocked street.
Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson (11th) is caught in the middle.
“I think at the end of the day the decision is public safety versus personal inconvenience – and when it comes to that, I’m going to side with public safety,” Thompson said.
The alderman and residents said traffic on this stretch of Union Avenue has skyrocketed in recent years. They blame the technology.
“With the apps that we have – Waze and other apps for navigation purposes – they’re using that as a shortcut, so we have to look at that,” Thompson said.
“I deal with the same thigs,” Lewis said, “but I’m not asking anyone to close a street.”
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Unless another barrier appears, Ald. Thompson said construction of the standoff is expected to begin next month. He said the cash-strapped city could install it for less than $ 50,000.