You may recall that this July, the city attempted to permanently close the intersection of Lamon and Wilson to all vehicle traffic without having any conversation with my office or the community. After I halted construction with my vehicle, they agreed to work through this issue with us.
After several months of discussions between the Mayor’s Office, the Chicago Department of Transportation, the Department of Water Management, the Law Department, and my office, they are now ready to present their plan for this intersection to the community.
The meeting will be 6 pm Wednesday, Oct. 28, at the Copernicus Center Annex, 5214 W. Lawrence.
In the discussions, city lawyers indicated that a digital billboard must be installed at the site due to a contract the city entered into with the billboard company, and no other site of a similar value is available. (By the way, I voted against the ordinance authorizing these billboards on city property back in 2013 in part because concerns about the contract.)
According to Department of Water Management records, underground infrastructure related to the Mayfair Pumping Station prevents the billboard from being located on the front lawn of the pumping station or on other nearby city-owned land. They cannot release those records due to security concerns, but I have reviewed them, and their assessment appears correct.
Also, state regulations prevent the billboard from being located further to the east on city land because of the proximity of another billboard.
To try and accommodate both the contractually-required billboard and access to the community, CDOT has created a plan where Lamon would become one-way southbound from Sunnyside to where it curves into Wilson. This would allow residents to still access Cicero and the Edens Expressway from Lamon and Wilson.
However, no traffic would be able to go from Wilson westbound to Lamon. Traffic would instead have to go north on Cicero and west on Lawrence.
Wilson would remain two-way up to the old LepreCan site to accommodate the future Streets and Sanitation yard, but a cul-de-sac would be installed west of that. By the way, Streets and Sanitation will move to that yard, from their current location on Lamon, as soon as possible.
We’ve asked CDOT to look into what options are available to make turning left from Lawrence into the neighborhood easier. Additionally, we’re in the process of having a No Left Turn, 7 am to 9 am and 4 pm to 6 pm, at westbound Lawrence and Laporte removed.
CDOT is also working on additional options to try to keep large semi trucks off Lamon and out of the townhomes to the west.
I hope you’ll be able to join us at the meeting Oct. 28, where you will have the chance to ask representatives from the Mayor’s Office, CDOT, and Water Management about how they intend to try and fix the situation.