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July 3, 2012

Our Opinion: Board made right choices


— The village board made two good decisions Monday night. Both votes required a tiebreaker from Mayor Jeff Katz.

The first was a proposal to halt the long-standing tradition of the noon whistle, or siren.

The whistle signaling noon, or lunchtime, may have been a more important part of life decades ago, but today was carried on primarily as a tradition.

It turns out that tradition is not such a healthy one, especially if you are anywhere near one of the two sirens when they sound off. Trustee Dr. Walter Franck did some investigating and found that the noise level near the sirens exceeds what the Occupational Safety and Health Administration would consider permissible. The research led Franck to conclude that the siren is “environmentally hazardous to our citizens.” He said he believes it would not be responsible to continue to use the siren for anything but emergencies. To use something that can harm people to carry on a tradition would be wrong, he said.

We would agree with Franck that the piercing wail of the siren should not be used to mark noon if it poses a threat to the health and well-being of residents and visitors. The second decision was one regarding parking on portions of Fair and Lake Streets.

Two months ago, at the urging of residents, the board of trustees limited 40 parking spaces to two-hour parking. In May, many of those spaces were empty and with the south trolley lot closed during Gateway Project construction, the public safety committee recommended changing back to all-day parking.

The residents who asked for the two-hour limit returned Monday night to ask trustees not to change back to all-day parking. The residents told board members that if they return to all-day parking it will simply become an employee parking lot and unavailable to residents or visitors.

It is understandable that parking spaces may be at more of a premium than they normally are, but there are still options available for parking. To return to all-day parking would make it more convenient for the employees of local institutions, but do little to improve the lives of village residents.