SIGNS AND DOLLAR SIGNS: Can signs help a community

Littered across the landscape of the 29th ward, you can see large 4 ft. by 4 ft. signs urging you to take action, to make a choice on one day of the year. The sign is asking you to vote for the alderman. The concept is that this choice will lead to a better quality of life in your neighborhood.

There is one sign, less than 2 ft. by 2 ft. that could encourage people to make a choice and take action 24 hours a day, all year long. The sign, which can be provided by the city, could say that it is unlawful to park on a residential street, bordering a commercial zone, for more than 30 minutes after business hours.

The police officers informally surveyed about this type of simple small sign say this is a useful tool in helping to maintain order and a decent quality of life for residents. When residents call 911 at 1:00 AM about the cars parked on the corner, selling alcohol out of their trunks, completing drug transactions, participating in prostitution, the police can clear the area with a simple parking ticket. There is no legitimate business transaction taking place at one o’clock in the morning.

We see small signs of this type as having the potential to make a clear, positive, measurable impact on the quality of life in our neighborhoods. However after the 29th ward alderman:

  • Received on May 11, 2011 a letter from a business owner expressing his support of the concept of the small sign
  • Received on July 26, 2011 signed petitions from 57 registered voting residents asking for a sign on one corner, the corner of Madison and Mason
  • Received on August 15, 2011  a letter asking for a status or a response on the request for a single sign on one corner, the corner of Madison and Mason

As of March 4, 2012, we still don’t see the small sign on the corner of Madison and Mason.

It can’t be that the cost of the sign is a problem. The 29th ward alderman, from the $1.3 million designated for improvements in the 29th ward, under the alderman’s discretion, sent back unspent to the city over $163,000, according to an article in the Chicago Tribune . The cost of the sign could certainly have been covered by that much money.


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