Shorewood trustees voted unanimously Tuesday night to restrict parking along a portion of the west side of River Road due to excess traffic at a popular river access point between West Lake Forrest Lane and South Woodland Way.
The concern was first on the agenda at the June 27 regular meeting, where Shorewood resident Ryan Wuebben came to speak of his experiences with the traffic and issues that have ensued.
Wuebben’s home backs up to the west side of River Road and he claimed that he has noticed profanity, drinking and trash from those who utilize this access point, which has made it difficult to enjoy his property with his two young children.
Wuebben said at the June 27 meeting there were 33 cars parked along the road at one point, which also caused a traffic hazard as the cars cannot completely pull off of the roadway, and creates dangers to those who cross the road to reach the east side access point.
Even though the amendment was to restrict parking on the west side so people would not have to cross River Road to access the river, and also remove parking near the Wuebben home, Wuebben pushed to restrict parking on both sides.
The June 27 discussion of the amendment went to a second read on Tuesday, after trustees had a chance to personally survey the area.
“I went down there and it looks like a dangerous place to get in the river. There is a steep incline and, if the rocks are wet, that’s dangerous. I’m in favor of both sides,” Trustee Anthony Luciano said.
Cookie Kirkland opposed the two-side parking restriction and said, “I feel like I don’t wan to restrict both sides. I’m in favor of the west, not both.”
Trustee Dan Warren questioned if the village could actually make the east side a legitimate parking area instead of a shoulder, because he didn’t feel like the village should restrict river access to those who like to fish or float the river.
Village administrator Roger Barrowman said he could look into the possibility of a parking area on the east side, but Mayor Rick Chapman and Luciano hoped parking on both sides could be shut down completely.
“It’s a stop because it's there. If it wasn’t there, it wouldn’t be a stop,” Luciano said.
Wuebben went on to list other access points in the immediate area that do not have homes around them, which he felt made them better access points to the river. He also said he feels this spot has become popular because parking is right on the river, so it's less of a walk from the car than a place like the Seil Road access point.
“I understand this spot has been used for years, but the demographics have changed. This used to be farmland, and now there are subdivisions and my backyard backs up to it, which is 75 feet from the access point,” Wuebben said.
Chapman said those who want to have a good time on the river will find a way to have fun regardless of the access point on River Road.
“We need to figure out a way to shut down both sides of the road from parking and give this man a break from the litter in his yard, profanity and multiple cars,” Chapman said.
The motion was carried to close down the west side from parking, but Luciano had this to say after the motion, “I would like to see both sides, but this is a start.”
The trustees also approved new signs requested by Rick McCraney on behalf of FCA Shorewood. The signs would include an additional 75 square-foot wall sign on the new west façade adjacent to Capista Drive and an additional 36.5 square footage of wall signs on the east façade adjacent to the existing signs and the front entrance, according to board documents.
Shorewood resident and Illinois X-Citement basketball assistant coach Anthony Thompson and his wife Patricia came to plead for the need of a recreation center in the village. Thompson said this Illinois AAU team came home with a sixth place title from a national tournament this summer, and wants to foster this sport, which he feels keeps kids on the straight and narrow.
As of now, 10 of the 15 girls on the team come from Aurora, Joliet, Troy and Shorewood, with the rest out of Chicago. Thompson said the team has to travel to Chicago to practice because he has felt pushback when he inquired about practice locations at schools and the YMCA.
He said, if he had access to a recreation center, he could grow the team, create more opportunities and host tournaments, which can bring in big revenue. When Chapman ran for mayor this past spring, a recreation center was on his list to accomplish this term as the village already has land appropriated for such use.