Saturday, April 4, 2009

Racing Down Racine

A reader writes: "Last time firemen came to my building for a CO leak, I had the pleasure of asking one of the responders whether it bothered them that Racine Ave was a two-way street. Racine Avenue between Wilson and Lawrence is the primary conduit for emergency response vehicles from the Wilson Ave Fire Station responding to 911 calls north of Lawrence. But since Racine is a narrow two-way street, these emergency vehicles often get stuck while southbound traffic has to pull over or back up to make room. In all cases, they honk their horns a lot.

The fireman I talked to said he thought Racine Ave was going to become one-way north. Is this true? These pictures help illustrate my point. See what happened yesterday when a southbound car passed a northbound ambulance. The ambulance hit a car, so another ambulance had to be dispatched while the original pulled off to the side of the road and waited to deal with the accident. Sure it's annoying for residents to hear fire truck horns blaring at 2am, but more importantly, during some emergency responses, minutes can mean life or death. When is this going to change? Should responders use Broadway until they know Racine is more reliable?"


  1. To our reader-
    The fireman is likely correct on Racine becoming a one-way (northbound) from Wilson to Lawrence. Who knows when this will actually be implemented. We were digging through our posts on the Truman College Parking Garage and did see mention of this change.
    Check out this post from 2008

  2. We live on Racine and think making it one way is WAY overdue. I feel bad since the ER's really have a hard time getting by and the people blocking the street seem to always cause car scrapes. Ours was almost totaled about 2 yrs ago the same way.

    While were at it, people drive on Racine like its a highway, just absolutely flying down this street. We have asked for much needed speedbumps but obviously cant since the ER deservedly need to fly down the street. Unfortunately so does everyone else.

  3. Everything is unreliable if you think about it. I've been stuck in unbelievable traffic underneath the Wilson El Stop and even an emergency vehicle would be taking a huge risk riding the opposite lane. That is, some spots, like the one I mentioned, have little wiggle room. Also, double parkers by Truman would be difficult to negotiate safely and add pedestrians. NIGHTMARE! Fender benders happen. Maybe we just all need to give emergency vehicles the right away and that could solve the problem.

  4. During that meeting I actually had the chance to talk to Alderman Shiller for a couple of minutes about Racine Ave. becoming a One Way street. She told me that it will happen but after the construction of the student parking lot. Ald. Shiller mentioned that the Fire Dept. had asked her about making it One Way due to all the traffic we have and because how narrow the street is. We both mentioned about (and already knew) how reckless most people drive down the street; speeding, crazy u-turns, morons who don’t know how to drive their big SUV’s, etc. etc. I asked if we can have it One Way sooner but she told me it has to be after the construction.