To the Editor:
If you look north on Dorchester Avenue from 55th Street, the first thing that will catch your eye is now no longer the canopy of green trees sheltering the architecture of the old street. Your eyes will instead focus on a half dozen bright yellow signs announcing the street is a “SAFE PASSAGE.” They are the latest example of visual blight brought to our neighborhood by the City of Chicago. A forest of these signs have sprung up all over Hyde Park in the last couple of weeks.
They are the city’s effort to convince passing schoolchildren that they are safe even though their neighborhood school has been shuttered. Will they work? Well, the one they put up in front of our house is about 10 feet from where our car was stolen a week ago. This so-called protection program is costing the taxpayers almost $12 million. How many teachers could have been put back to work for that kind of money? Then our children would indeed be safe and our streets freer of visual clutter.
There is an ironic message in this dramatic signage sprung up everywhere. Every time I see one, I am reminded of what the mayor did to Chicago’s teachers and children and how unsafe this city is for them.
The Tribune was surely right on Wednesday in calling for the signs to be pulled down as an ineffective and embarrassing eyesore. But perhaps we should leave them there so future generations can ponder the legacy of Mayor Emanuel.
John B. Wickstrom