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What's Going On At Harwood and Dixie? Minutes With the Mayor

In this installment of "Minutes with the Mayor," Village President Richard Hofeld explains why the road near Homewood's north viaduct has been blocked off for so long and what its future will be.

Patch gathered questions from readers, for  Village President Richard Hofeld. Now, we're airing a series of video responses to the questions readers voted as most pressing.

In this edition, Hofeld answers: what is going on with the blocked off section of Harwood Avenue just south of Homewood's north viaduct? His response? Ask IDOT.

Transcript:

The section of Harwood Avenue just to the south of the north viaduct has been blocked off at least four to five years. It’s a state route, Harwood Avenue, and the reason it was blocked off was, when it was a two way street, there were numerous accidents as people tried to get through the viaduct and make a left turn. So it was blocked off. We have asked the state for years to construct a curb to narrow the roadway down so it’s southbound only and the state had said they will look at it. Well this is the Illinois Department of Transportation. We’ve worked with them for the last four years. We talk to a different person every time we’re talking to someone. And we’ve been up at their headquarters less than a month ago and that was one of the four projects we discussed with them. And once again, they’re reviewing it. So, until they do the curb work and do the actual narrowing of the lane, which is on their street, it has to remain the way it is. And I agree, it looks terrible.

Flossmoor residents: be on the lookout for a Flossmoor edition of "Minutes with the Mayor" soon!

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S August 01, 2012 at 12:12 PM
Thinking back four or five years ago I thought the decision to block off that partod the street was Homewods and not the states. If I am remembering correctly it is interesting to see the mayor blame IDOT for a "ugly situation" that the village created. With that said I may be wrong, Ryan any chance you can confirm whose decision it was.
Keetch August 01, 2012 at 01:20 PM
I no longer have my email but I contacted IDOT years ago asking about why the road was blocked, and their initial reply was they knew nothing about it.
Deanna McIntyre August 01, 2012 at 01:23 PM
Shaun, it doesn't sound to me that he's blaming the state for closing it, just for the slow process of completing the task to narrow the roadway. I would assume, perhaps in error, that the decision to close off that section of the street was made after too many accidents (as he said) by both parties and now the work falls in the hands of our broke state of Illinois. Perhaps though, you are correct and a politician is just passing the buck. Unfortunately, politicians working with politicians means loads of time passes with little work accomplished sometimes. Maybe we should put a toll booth there ;)
JG August 01, 2012 at 01:27 PM
....and if the answer is that the village decided to block it off - how does that change the current issue? It's safer and uglier and Homewood can't tear up the street to make it pretty because that's an IDOT issue. I would like to have the contact information the city has for any of their IDOT contacts so we as citizens could call and call and email and call until IDOT fixes it just to get the town off their back.
S August 01, 2012 at 02:15 PM
My larger issue is that why pull the trigger on blocking off part of the street when the agreement with IDOT is not finalized....more of a situation of putting the cart before the horse and poor planning. As opposed to taking a step back and asking is everything in place to complete the process (IDOT building a curb), they rushed to block it off and now we have an eyesore. A good follow up question would be why not try to make the area look a little nicer for example instead of using those ugly orange poles put in some of the larger planters...similar to what Chicago buildings use out front.
FlossmoorMom August 01, 2012 at 02:33 PM
@Shaun, spot on!
JG August 01, 2012 at 02:41 PM
If the cart is safety and the horse is aesthetics, you're totally right! As for planters, have you seen how people drive? They'd hit them then sue the city. LOL
JG August 01, 2012 at 02:47 PM
That's an excellent point. I see city workers sweeping dirt on the side of the road, they could sweep a little sand while they're at it.
Tim F. August 01, 2012 at 03:12 PM
Eyesore yes. Big deal--not really. We have all learned how to maneuver Homewood and will continue to do so. One way south makes sense as it alleviates traffic on Dixie and makes a nice short cut to the west downtown area as well as the train station. Volunteers could always adopt the block and sweep it themselves. Just sayin....
Karen V. Maurer August 01, 2012 at 03:37 PM
This is helpful information. It would also be helpful to give names and contact information at IDOT to that citizens who agree that it looks terrible and are tired of a do-nothing attitude could have a door to knock on (or a phone to ring or an e-mail to write to). Add our squeaks to the wheel. Karen Maurer
Tim F. August 01, 2012 at 03:59 PM
It can be made one way---with IDOT's blessing. It's their road. Names and numbers are easily obtainable. We are in District 5 in the IDOT world.
SoSub Resident August 01, 2012 at 04:28 PM
A general comment: the transcripts are very helpful; please keep them coming.
WA Mama August 01, 2012 at 05:52 PM
When did this become an IDOT issue? My memory of that road closing is that it was done by the village and presented as part of the (failed) initiative to build condos in the police parking lot. They wanted that entire two-block area to be reconfigured, and were planning on closing that section of Harwood completely - Elm Rd was to be the end of the street. So instead, they closed off half of it, as a "trial idea," the development deal fell through and that's where they left the street closing. Before they closed it, it was in complete disrepair because agencies kept passing the buck about fixing the concrete. I would like to see them reopen that section of Harwood. If you live on the west side of the tracks (gasp!) and are driving to the library, it's easier to go down Harwood and make a right onto Dixie, rather than go up Elm and make a left on Dixie. All that intersection really needs is a repaired surface on the NE corner and a No Left Turn sign. Don't wait for IDOT, since they have no idea why it's in their court - the village closed it, the village can re-open it.
Tim F. August 01, 2012 at 06:17 PM
Disagree. The proximity to the viaduct is unsafe for right or left turns from Harwood onto Dixie. Leave it one way south.
Joanne Houston-fath August 01, 2012 at 06:18 PM
I just figured it was closed, cus, if you wanted to make a left turn, it would be a great place to get in a accident..

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