Madison Street from Harlem to Austin will soon be going on a “road diet” after the Village Board approved the measure to resurface and restructure the road in a 4-3 vote this week. The project is slated to begin in March and continue through November of next year and will include reducing traffic to one lane each way and adding bike lanes.
Those on the Village Board were not the only people divided over the issue. Many Oak Park residents came forward during the meeting to express their support or concern over the plan for Madison Street. Supporters of the road diet cited safety concerns as well as better access for bicyclists and pedestrians on the busy road as their reasons for supporting the issue.
Many questioned whether Oak Park should be car focused or pedestrian focused. Opponents were concerned with the effect the narrowing will have on traffic on Madison and neighboring streets. A recent traffic study done in anticipation of the road diet suggests that the traffic on Madison Street surpasses the space that the road diet allows.
The approved road diet comes at a cost and will have a budget of $6,250,000. K-Five Construction Corporation will be managing the changes. Another resolution for the Phase III construction engineering portion of the Madison Street Improvement Project was also passed on Monday, allowing up to $459,007 to be spent on the project.
The Phase III construction will be managed by Edwin Hancock Engineering Co.