Norridge XSport visitors noisy, huge traffic increase
Ever since the Norridge X-Sport opened at the Harlem Irving Plaza expansion in May 2014, local residents have been subjected to a huge increase in traffic down Cullom Ave, and, to a lesser extent, Octavia Ave.
In 2012, when the Harlem Irving Plaza expansion went before the Zoning and Village Boards, residents were vocally opposed, but the changes passed unanimously.
“They threw us under the bus”, one Cullom resident stated.
Residents say X-Sport customers are obnoxious, with no regard for those that live on Cullom or Octavia.
Little effective action taken by the Village Board thus far
Residents have attended several Village Board meetings and have asked the Board to take action several times. Little to no meaningful action has been taken so far as of this writing, despite comments by Mayor Chmura he was “looking into” the issue.
Residents remain frustrated and angry at the token efforts made so far.
At a spring 2014 Village Board Meeting, Chmura implied he would be looking at removing the permit parking system due to the number of Norridge residents ticketed on Cullom and Octavia.
Residents petition for change
In the summer, residents responded with a petition urging the permit parking system be retained, and signage revised. The petition also asked for action to be taken about the traffic and noise issues.
Chmura ordered new signs, but they were never installed. When a resident at an August board meeting asked why new “Permit Parking Only” signs haven’t been posted, even though the signs were delivered to the Village of Norridge Public Works months ago, the response from Chmura was hostile.
Chmura even went so far as to make the claim there were no illegal parkers on Cullom, a statement completely at odds with the facts: public records show 126 permit-parking related tickets were issued between May 1 and August 31 on the 7200 block of Cullom.
Residents say this number is in fact 2 to 3 times higher when you take into account all the times tickets were not issued, such as when police arrived after the violators have left.
With such a significant number of citations written, it’s clear the current permit parking signage is not discouraging violators.
As of the time of this writing, the signs have not been revised.
Chmura also said he could do nothing about enforcing no left turns after 10:30PM as that is up to the HIP. However, there is an ordinance on the books to prohibit right turns from the bank on Pensacola and Harlem, indicating it is within the Village’s jurisdiction to regulate traffic from parking lots.
“It’s clear that Chmura can act if he wants to, but he is choosing not to”, the resident said.
Quality of life plunges in Cullom/Octavia neighborhoods
The X-Sport parking lot is consistently full, even as late as 11PM, several months after the X-Sport opened, with continuous activity day and night.
X-Sport is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Most if not all of the traffic to the HIP expansion flows through Cullom Ave (a residential street), rather than Harlem Ave, despite an entrance/exit on Harlem.
During the holiday shopping season, the Village placed police cones on Harlem, making it impossible for drivers to turn left directly into the parking lot from northbound Harlem.
The Harlem Irving Plaza and X-Sport have posted signs asking customers to be respectful and turn radios down, but this has had little impact, in our observation.
Customers have been observed drag racing down Cullom and Octavia, revving their vehicle engines at high RPMs, performing engine braking, blaring radios with loud music, speeding, and illegally parking in the permit parking zones.
A temporary speed radar was placed on Cullom to slow down traffic during the summer, which was removed. A permanent speed radar was installed in November, but was only briefly operational, and non functional as of this writing.
Residents frustrated, angry by lack of concern
However, a radar will not physically address the problems of this dangerous intersection, where shoppers regularly ignore stop signs, speed limits and right of ways.
In late September, a 17 year old girl on roller skates was hit by a shopper driving out of the HIP expansion on Cullom. She was taken to the hospital.
Residents are frustrated and angry at the Village’s lack of more meaningful action. Another resident stated “Whenever we ask for a status update, we just get the runaround from Chmura.”
“It’s always some excuse why he won’t do anything, or he says he will do something by a certain date, then that date passes and he keep delaying action. Chmura always seems to defer any action to [HIP Mall owner Michael] Marchese”.
Gym memberships are considered a service, which is not taxed, and X-Sport brings in little if any tax revenue, Village officials confirmed at a 2014 board meeting.
Another resident stated that Chmura “has made comments about how getting the federal government to do anything was a very slow process”, with regards to getting the federal government to address airplane noise at O’Hare airport.
“That’s an ironic statement by Chmura, considering the only public body that moves slower is the Village [of Norridge], under Chmura”.