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One More at Jewel

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois

One More at Jewel

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
September 18, 2008

Pontiac Aztek

As I was leaving the Jewel-Osco this afternoon, I spotted a vehicle parked at the curb 1) parked the wrong way with the driver's door nearest the curb; 2) more than a foot from the curb; 3) part-way in the pedestrian crosswalk; and 4) parked right in front of a No Parking Fire Lane sign; and 5) unoccupied.

When I drove by, three young men were standing on the sidewalk about 30 feet away. Couldn't be their car; right?

I parked and, when I walked over with my camera, the three were getting into the car, and a woman asked why I was taking pictures of her car. "It's parked facing the wrong way right under a No Parking sign." She informed me that her uncle is a cop. Well, fine; maybe he'll explain why the car should have been parked in the parking lot.

If Woodstock would get on the ball and implement the Vehicular Control Agreement (VCA) such as in use in many other communities, then the police could enforce traffic laws on the Jewel-Osco property.

As it is, today, none of the above is a violation of traffic laws, because traffic laws (with a couple of notable exceptions) cannot be enforced on private property.

The three property owners are willing to consider a VCA. The City, however, has a four-page form that would scare a Philadelphia lawyer. One of the three property owners read the four-page Agreement carefully and refused to sign it. The City won't contract with Jewel (anchor business and business with the most employees and customers) or with the property manager of the strip of stores that includes Papa Murphy's, because the third property owner wouldn't, at that time, sign on.

If the City Attorney presented to Woodstock the same VCA as it gave to Algonquin, we'd have a one-page Agreement with a lot of white space. Instead, for some reason, the City Attorney gave Woodstock a four-pager. Perhaps fees are higher for a four-page document?

A VCA on the Jewel-Osco corner would make the parking lot and driveways safer for thousands of people a week. Did somebody drop the ball, when Jewel moved two blocks to the new location?

If the third (reluctant) property owner were offered a reasonable legal agreement, I'll bet he would sign. I'm sure he is interested in doing everything to lower his liability.

Do you know when the VCA will be done? It'll be done right after someone is killed or seriously injured by a driver who doesn't stop at a stop sign or who parks along the curb and obstructs the view of another driver!

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