Resident tries to slow Blackstone

Staff Writer

Hyde Park resident Steve Benson is preparing a petition for the installation of speed bumps on Blackstone Avenue between 59th and 57th streets.

Benson said he wants the speed bumps installed for the safety of pedestrians, especially children, who live in the area and is drafting the petition to gauge resident interest.

Benson said about a year ago he was nearly hit while retrieving a ball his son had inadvertently kicked into the street.

“Because the street is so wide, one car stopped to allow me to retrieve the ball but there was a second car that sped past the stopped car, not realizing why the first car stopped,” Benson said. “The second car slammed on the breaks when it saw the ball rolling across the street but couldn’t stop in time.”

Benson said traveling for work kept him from seeking speed bumps for the area right away. Once he got the chance he called Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) and asked her what the process was to get them installed.

“[Hairston] was very nice and responsive and seemed genuinely interested,” Benson said. “She even offered to do a traffic study to see if a stop sign was needed at 58th Street.”

According to the City of Chicago website, in order to have traffic calming devices such as speed bumps installed, residents must submit a traffic-calming application, which required the consensus of the block, to the Chicago Department of Transportation. This process must be done in conjunction with the block’s alderman’s office.

Benson, who has alerted his neighbors of the petition by e-mail, said he will collect signatures by setting up a table in front of his home and going door-to door.