LOGAN SQUARE — Twice over the past few weeks, Lisa Janoschka has watched truck drivers ram into The 606 trail underpass at California Avenue and get stuck.
Janoschka, who spends afternoons at her friends’ apartment helping them with childcare, said it’s become a regular occurrence. Her friends have witnessed the same thing happen up to 10 times in recent months, she said.
Luckily for Janoschka and other concerned neighbors, help is on the way. Ald. Daniel La Spata’s 1st Ward office is working with the city’s Department on Transportation on potential fixes to help prevent future truck mishaps.
After receiving a couple of complaints, the alderman’s office recently reached out to CDOT, which is now working with the city’s sign department about installing another sign in the area, saidAllison Carvalho, La Spata’s chief of staff.
Currently, there are two signs on-site about 100 feet in either direction, which is required of such underpasses in the city. But it’s possible another, more visible sign could be installed given the circumstances, Carvalho said.
The alderman’s office is also talking to Department of Transportation Commissioner Gia Biagi’s office to “identify additional solutions,” Carvalho said. That could mean reaching out to local trucking companies to make sure their drivers are aware that underpass is not meant for trucks, according to an email shared with Block Club.
In both instances Janoschka witnessed, the truck drivers were traveling south down California Avenue when they hit the bridge and got stuck. They eventually backed up and went a different direction, one with help from police, she said.
Neither instance created a traffic jam, Janoschka said, likely because the stretch is sleepier due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Janoschka said she’s more worried about the integrity of the underpass and the safety of trail users.
“I was thinking, ‘Oh my god, I hope the bridge doesn’t fall down.’ There are people up there,'” she said.
The alderman’s office will continue to work with the city to fix the problem in the coming weeks, Carvalho said.
In the meantime, neighbors who witness trucks getting stuck in the underpass at Bloomingdale and California avenues should reach out to the alderman’s office directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Carvalho said neighbors should note the time and date of the collision, the name of the trucking company and take a photo.
“It just seems like such a shame that the city worked hard on building The 606 and making it nice and they didn’t bother to put up sufficient signage up so trucks didn’t ram into it,” Janoschka said.
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