South Side residents fed up with rains leaving their alleys underwater

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CHICAGO — After several rain soaked days, some Mount Greenwood residents dealing with standing water in their alleys — again — say they want the city to take action.

“This happens every single time it rains,” Kara Farej said. “We’ve given it a name. We’ve got Lake Sacramento over here.”

Neighbors near 106th Street and Sacramento Avenue say they’ve been dealing with flooded alleys after rainstorms for years, and now they want the city to come up with a solution.

Part of the issue in the alleys is that they’re paved, so there’s no where for the water to go.

They say they’ve asked 19th Ward Alderman Matt O’Shea for help, and they haven’t exactly been told to go jump in the lake, they’re worried they’ll still get soaked if they have to pay to correct it themselves.

“Unfortunately the alderman said it would be $150,000 to replace this alley fully and get sewers, which I understand, but we can’t afford to pay half of that,” Farej said.

O’Shea issued a written statement saying back in 2004, residents petitioned the city to pave the alley, and the impermeable asphalt could be a cause of the flooding.

“I have asked CDOT to explore removing the asphalt alley and replacing it with gravel. This possible solution would require a petition from residents. In these challenging fiscal times, I am unaware of an infrastructure funding source for a more permanent repair,” O’Shea said in the statement.

In the meantime, every time it rains, neighbors worry the water is causing other problems, like flooding backyards and basements, and causing damage to cars and garages. Not to mention what’s festering under the surface.

“This is a mosquito haven. This draws rats, rats play in water. It’s just not … it comes down to a safety issue at some point because this can’t stand like this for four days at a time,” Farej said.

Frustrated by the standing water, they want someone from the city to walk a mile in their shoes, which — in this case — would require rain boots.

“We’re just looking for some type of solution to the problem,” Franzen said.

The City started a pilot program on the North Side that built environmentally-friendly alleys using “permeable paving,” which uses gravel to better absorb water and melting snow.


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