Saturday, June 25, 2011

Oak "No Park"

Oak Park is notorious for its scarce and expensive parking -- hence its nickname, Oak No Park. (Its other nickname is the People's Republic of Oak Park.) But parking is easier if you're driving an electric car. Under an ordinance enacted in 2010, Oak Park offers free parking for electric vehicles.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Oak Park to pay big bucks to NRA

Earlier this month, a court ruled that the Village of Oak Park (together with the City of Chicago) is liable to the National Rifle Association for the attorney fees it spent successfully challenging the municipalities' handgun ordinances.  Gee, that's too bad--Oak Park could have put that money toward something worthwhile, like talking about preventing nuclear war, or talking about saving the environment, or talking about social justice.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Frank Lloyd Wrong

Oak Park is known as the hometown of Ernest Hemingway and Frank Lloyd Wright. Hemingway fled Oak Park right after finishing high school, but Wright stuck around long enough to build some of his hideous high-maintenance houses here. Wright basically took simple mission-style architecture and made it grotesque, distorting the dimensions, adding useless ornamentation, and then delegating much of the real work to incompetent proteges -- which explains why many of his houses began falling down not long after they were built.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Do as I say, not as I do

The Village of Oak Park is about to sign a five-year contract with Waste Management Inc. for garbage collection.  Garbage collection?  What happened to recycling, composting, and zero waste?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Will Oak Park never learn?

Years ago, Oak Park turned one of its major thoroughfares, Lake Street, into a pedestrian mall. The predictable disaster was eventually reversed; Lake Street was reopened to cars in 1989, and the remaining remnant of the boondoggle, Marion Street, was finally converted back into a regular street in 2008.

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it, as they say, and Oak Park is no exception.

A recent proposal would put one of the village's other east-west thoroughfares, Madison Street, on what proponents call a "road diet," eliminating some of the traffic lanes. "More and more people are riding bicycles," says one resident. But wherever will we drive our electric cars?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Happy anniversary, Papa!

According to the Chicago Tribune, Oak Park's Ernest Hemingway Museum plans to ignore the 50th anniversary of Ernest Hemingway's suicide on July 2, 2011, apparently hoping no one will notice. Fortunately, the truth is hard to hide: museum staff members confirm that visitors frequently ask about the old man's suicide.

It doesn't seem much of a stretch to speculate that growing up in Oak Park had a lot to do with his misery, either. Hemingway left Oak Park for good the first chance he got, and his father, Dr. Clarence E. Hemingway, also shot himself to death -- at his home in Oak Park.