Commissioner Daley Wields Power, Gets Funding for Traffic Signalization
Cook County Commissioner John Daley announces that county will fund full amount of traffic signalization project at Central Avenue and 93rd Street.
In an evening of stunning announcements, Cook County Commissioner made another appearance at Tuesday’s village board meeting.
Daley announced that the county—with the blessing of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and the rest of the board—would pick up all of the costs of adding a left turn lane at 93rd Street and Central Avenue.
The county and village had each passed resolutions to share the costs 50/50, but instead Oak Lawn trustees voted 3-2 to delay the project and divide up remaining bond monies across the village’s six districts.
“This project has always been a concern,” Daley said. “It was obvious [at the Feb. 12 village board meeting] what your priorities were.”
The commissioner said the county found room in its budget to provide the full amount, except for right-of-way land acquistion.The village will purchase the land necessary to widen Central Avenue at the intersection, which is anchored by St. Gerald Parish and School on the southeast corner.
Total cost of the project is around $1.6 million.
Cook County Highways Superintendent John Yonan said that accident data for the intersection supported adding a left turn lane, a project that has been many years in the making.
Yonan has said simply adding a left turn signal would not reduce accidents at the intersection.
The highways superintendent explained that once closing titles and fees are finalized, shovels could hit the pavement late next year.
Trustee Alex Olejniczak who’s pushed for the project for his second district since winning his second term in 2009, admitted to being surprised by Daley’s appearance at Tuesday’s village board meeting.
“The county gets a bad rap but this is a home run,” Olejniczak said. “Commissioner Daley went to bat for the residents of Oak Lawn … it’s $800,000 that is not going to come out of village’s coffers and we’re going to make a true difference in an area that needed it.”
Oleniczak said he did not know how much it would cost to purchase the land for the right-of-way, but if he had too, he’d pay for it out of his $750,000 share of the remaining Build America bonds.
This is a green light,” Olejniczak said. “Streets will continue to get paved in the second district and alley 13 will get done this year.”
Following Daley’s visit on Feb. 12—who had come to “clarify” remarks made by another village trustee that the county was no longer committed to the project—Olejniczak said that Daley understood the importance of the project.
“The fortitude and leadership of a county commissioner to come to a village board and listen when another trustee made a false statement that the county wasn’t backing it,” Olejniczak said, “not only did the county back it, they came up with the full of amount of money.”
Asked if he was the one that placed the call to get Daley involved, Olejniczak responded, “there were a lot of conversations with Commissioner Daley.”
Read more GOVERNMENT NEWS: