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Speed Camera Recommended for Goethe School After Death of Neighbor in May

By Darryl Holliday | August 15, 2014 9:48am
 A memorial for Jose Medina sits in front of Goethe Elementary School.
A memorial for Jose Medina sits in front of Goethe Elementary School.
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DNAinfo/Darryl Holliday

LOGAN SQUARE — Neighbors on the block where a 61-year-old resident was fatally run over in May told authorities that speeding violations are continuing on the stretch where he died, directly in front of Goethe Elementary.

About 20 residents of the area surrounding Rockwell and Lyndale streets met at the office of Ald. Joe Moreno (1st) on Wednesday night to push for increased safety and speed-reducing construction following the death of Jose Medina, a 24-year resident of the block.

Medina was hit by another neighbor of the block on May 23.

Attendees debated the value of bump-outs — recommended by the Chicago Department of Transportation — with Keith Weaver, traffic calming director for the department. Ultimately, they settled on supporting the placement of a speed camera outside of Goethe Elementary School to slow traffic on the street, which they said has a number of ongoing motor vehicle issues.

Several speakers, including Goethe principal Barbara Kargas and Moreno, indicated that parents of Goethe students are largely responsible for speeding and other traffic violations in the area between Fullerton and Milwaukee avenues.

“People in the community have legitimate concerns, it’s huge for them,” Kargas said.

The principal said Goethe parents have in the past been sent letters and verbal warnings asking them to slow down when picking up kids before and after school at 2236 N. Rockwell St., which is near where Medina was killed.

“Their consciousness just needs to be pricked again,” Kargas said, trying to strike a calming tone as angry residents clashed with the CDOT official.

Motorists trying to beat traffic by using a shortcut are also among those responsible for unsafe road conditions on Rockwell Street between Fullerton and Milwaukee avenues, according to Ken Greene, a 7-year resident of the block.

Medina’s death revived a push toward increased safety measures on the block, but "reckless" drivers have been a regular occurrence both before and after his tragic death, according to Greene.

The 61-year-old Medina was frequently spotted on his daily walk through the neighborhood — a small white cat trailing behind him, according to his son, Danny Medina, who described his father as a Chicago-native loved by those who knew him.

Medina was killed a block from his home in May when a nearby neighbor backed up Rockwell Street in reverse from his own driveway, illegally attempting to travel east across Lyndale Street, a one-way road that lets out on the main drag of Western Avenue.

Medina’s son was among those voting to support the installation of a speed camera on Rockwell Street, directly in front of Goethe Elementary, that would capture evidence of speeding by Goethe Elementary parents and short-cut drivers from Fullerton, and those making illegal turns like the one that killed his father.

Moreno guaranteed that funds would be found for a speed camera at the school intersection if the decision was supported by residents of the area. A tentative proposal for the safety measure includes one speed camera with at least six road signs aimed at directing attention to the camera at each intersection entrance.