Petition and open letter for improved Milwaukee Avenue

At a recent public meeting discussing a ‘road diet’ for North Milwaukee Avenue between Lawrence and Elston, former (and apparently current) aldermanic candidate John Garrido ‘grandstand’ against the proposed changes was reported Streetsblog Chicago. While it is unclear how much real support or political influence Garrido has over this project, it is concerning that such forceful opposition is building for a project that aims to improve safety conditions on the street for cars, bikes, and pedestrians in a manner that in all likelihood will help improve social and economic conditions in the area too. Because of the debate being raged about the project, it seems prudent to take the opportunity to publish ways supporters of this project can show CDOT and Alderman John Arena, a supporter of the project, that community members believe in the virtues of the changes being sought.

A petition begun by bike advocate Bob Kastigar is linked HERE. His petition for improvements to Milwaukee Avenue at this times trails the online petition begun by Garrido by about 60 something signatures. Whether you’re from the Jefferson Park area or not please sign this petition if you believe in improving street conditions city-wide in a way that is positive for the great Chicago community.

Additionally, I will be sending a letter to Alderman Arena to express my support in a more traditional way. The text to that letter is quoted below. Feel free to copy it and use it as a template for your own letter or e-mail if you wish to address Ald. Arena in a more direct manner.

“Dear Ald. Arena,

I am writing in brief to express my support for the redesign of North Milwaukee Avenue between Lawrence Avenue and Elston Avenue. I believe that redesigning the street to decrease car speeds, improve bike lanes, and make conditions better for pedestrians is in the best interest of the greater Northwest Side community.

While the Northwest Side is lucky to have the transportation options we have, there is no question that we are far behind when compared to areas like Wicker Park-Bucktown or Lakeview. For that reasons, it is my belief that communities on the Northwest Side must take every step possible to maximize connectivity via intermodal transportation options and make it as convenient and safe as we can to get around by foot, bike, and bus. We should take advantage of modest improvements like this in order to build to a greater whole.

I also support this project because it fits in with the nature of ‘triple bottom line’ sustainability. It is a project that will help the area become more economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable. That is something that is good for everybody.

While it is understandable that there is opposition to this project, the purpose of my letter is to express to you that many people in the area are still in support of this project. While talking with family and friends about this I more frequently hear support rather than opposition. Push forward with this; fears of negative impacts will prove to be unfounded and the benefits will make themselves clear.

Thank you for taking on this project.”