RJ Acosta likes to take walks with his wife along Logan Boulevard. In the spring and summer it can be a lovely place to sit on a bench and relax. But with cars flying off the Kennedy Expressway at high speeds, it can often be dangerous. There’s been a lot of chatter on Facebook’s Logan Square Community Page about this very subject, especially since a couple of weeks ago, a car smashed into a bench on the corner of Logan Boulevard and Richmond Street. The bench was quickly fixed by the Department of Transporation, but it’s part of why RJ created a petition to put speed cameras on the busy Boulevard.
A lifetime Chicagoan and first-year Logan Square resident, Acosta sees cars fly onto the sidewalk on the Boulevard all the time.
“I’ve seen accidents happen while eating a bagel [or] sitting on the bench,” he says. “Be at the wrong place at the wrong time and you’re toast.”
Out of love for the Boulevard and concern for families strolling or coming from the nearby church (not to mention the Starbucks on California), Acosta wants there to be some accountability for the cars exiting Western Avenue, traveling at 40-50 miles per hour.
This petition has caused quite a stir among locals on Facebook and has opened up a debate: Would speed cameras really help? Are they just a band-aid for a larger, insurmountable issue? We could apply for speed bumps, but would they have the same effect as the speed cameras?
Acosta reached out to the office of the 32nd Ward Alderman Scott Waguespack, whose chief of staff replied that speed cameras would only produce a “kangaroo effect,” where cars would slow down for the cameras, then speed up again when out of range.
According to the Children’s Safety Zone Program & Automated Speed Enforcement website, the hours of camera operation would be limited from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in safety zones around schools on school days (Monday through Friday) and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a 20 miles per hour speed limit when children are present and the posted speed limit when no children are present.
There are other restrictions, financial and legal, that make the speed camera difficult to obtain, but at least there is a dialogue about the issue. Street signs have been discussed, but would they be effective or just a visual blight?
Either way, Acosta is not discouraged. The petition should have 200 signatures by the end of the week, and with community support this petition could give Acosta enough leverage to create some kind of change within the neighborhood, keeping Logan Boulevard safe for families and ordinary citizens.
In November of 2017, Efrain Rivera was killed in a hit-and-run collision, crossing in front of the Dollar General (3527 W. Armitage Ave.), which literally happened 30 minutes before I went shopping there and crossed that same street.
Traffic issues are becoming a concern. The number of car owners in Logan Square grow year after year, and drivers, from old-school residents to new arrivals to the neighborhood, are increasing the chances of collisions and accidents in this congested area.
Check out RJ Acosta’s petition and let’s start a meaningful conversation about making our streets safe for everyone.