Officials say cul-de-sacs are poor public policy
Updated: July 15, 2012 3:03PM
A resident did not get a warm reception Monday to his request for a cul-de-sac on his Hinsdale street.
John Bulger lives on Lansing Street, a street that runs east and west for only one block between Lincoln and Washington streets in northern Hinsdale.
“It’s a street from nowhere to nowhere,” Bulger told the village’s Environment and Public Services Committee.
But that doesn’t mean traffic doesn’t come down Lansing, with some people driving “maniacally,” Bulger said.
He is concerned about the safety of his children because Lansin, at 24-feet wide, is narrower than most village streets, and it has no sidewalks. Two of his children just learned to ride their bicycles, Bulger said.
“The street also is a hill,” he said. “When you are coming down it, you can’t see the second half of the street.”
He proposes a cul-de-sac be built toward the eastern end of the street, after the last driveway that connects with Lansing.
Bulger submitted a petition in favor of the cul-de-sac signed by the majority of homeowners on Lansing, and on the neighboring blocks of Lincoln and Washington streets between Center Street and Ayres Avenue.
Only one resident spoke against the idea at the meeting, David Weber, who lives on the northeast corner of Lansing and Lincoln.
“I just don’t see the same need (to block off the street) as John,” Weber said. “It’s convenient for me to be able to turn right and left” exiting his driveway on Lansing.
Bulger thought the cul-de-sac could be created when Lansing is rebuilt this summer as part of a larger road project, involving the reconstruction of Washington from Maple Street to Ogden Avenue.
But village officials said adding the cul-de-sac would raise the cost of the project by $95,000, a fact Bulger and his neighbors did not know when he circulated the petition.
Fire trucks also have difficulty turning around in cul-de-sacs. The existing Fire Department vehicles would need a 50-foot turnaround radius, which would fit only if the village took some residential property on Lansing.
Committee members said the benefit to a few homeowners did not justify the cost to the rest of the taxpayers in the village.
“Everyone understand the benefits of living on a cul-de-sac,” said Village Trustee Doug Geoga, who serves on the committee.
But he believes it’s anti-social, because any traffic that is diverted off the street with the cul-de-sac ends up on adjacent streets.
“Any benefit you have is in general a detriment to your neighbors,” Geoga said.
Geoga said the village has identified $100 million of needed infrastructure work. Residents have to wait 15 years to have their streets fixed, to get new water mains, or drainage improvements, Geoga said. Spending nearly $100,000 on a cul-de-sac “that does not benefit a lot of people, . . .is ask(ing) people waiting in the queue to wait even longer.”
Trustee Laura LaPlaca, who chairs the committee, said she would ask the village staff to explore other ways to make Lansing sa safer.