As concerned citizens and active members of the community, we often find ourselves noticing small problems in our neighborhoods that may not be noticed by people who do not live in our particular neighborhood or zone in Chicago.
For this reason, it is our responsibility to report problems and make our voices heard by aldermen and representatives and councils that make decisions that affect our community. Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy to make our voices heard or to know how the process to request changes works. It is so important, then, to share this information with each other so we can all make a bigger impact on our communities.
One problem that many people in Chicago often notice is a need for traffic signs, such as a stop sign at a dangerous intersection or a need for a marked crosswalk with a yield sign near a playground. In many cases, the safety of our children is a real concern. We need the problem to be resolved in a timely and efficient manner. When you know the process to apply for a traffic sign, it goes much faster.
The most important thing you need to know in order to get an issue resolved in Chicago is who will be responsible for making it happen. Ultimately, your alderman is in charge of passing and approving ordinances about new traffic signs and signals, but there are several ways that you can reach aldermen about these types of problems.
A common first step is to submit requests to the city. You can do this directly by emailing the alderman in your ward, and usually they will respond to tell you that your request has been heard. You also can use the reporting mechanism, 311 City Services, from the City of Chicago. You can call directly to make a formal request or you can use the automated form on the website. You submit your request related to the particular sign desired (stop sign, yield, crosswalks, etc.) to be approved by Department of Transportation engineers, and then it will be forwarded along to the alderman if an ordinance is required.
If there is a real safety issue involved, you can also fill out a request with the Chicago Police Department. They have a form on their website to report community concerns. A police officer may be dispatched to direct traffic if there is a real threat of immediate danger or they will forward your concerns to the correct city department.
However, the most effective way to quickly get a traffic sign put up is usually to get together signatures on a petition. When there is clear community support for a traffic sign, your alderman is more likely to get involved. People who live or own businesses within a few blocks of the intersection where a sign is proposed should prepare a document that says something like “We the undersigned do hereby request the installation of a stop sign at the intersection of…”. Everyone will need to put their signatures and addresses beside each name.
Once the Department of Transportation approves the proposal and the aldermen approve the ordinance, you will see the traffic sign put into place. This process is not always quick, but if you are persistent and get the support of other people in your neighborhood, you should be successful.
As Chicago personal injury lawyers, we know you’re concerned about the safety of your family, friends, and neighbors. If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, you may have a claim. Please contact us at (312) 236-2900 for a free consultation to learn what your options may be.