BROOKFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — A lights display has caused nothing but holiday headaches for some families near Brookfield Zoo.
As CBS 2’s Steven Graves reported Tuesday night, the families say bumper-to-bumper traffic practically traps them in their homes.
Christmas Eve brings the gift of a silent night on Hollywood Avenue in Brookfield. It means Joe O’Connor can go to a party hassle free.
Sometimes, the holidays mean his family is strapped.
“All the way from First Avenue all the way to the zoo stop down there, it’s completely gridlocked,” he said.
O’Connor said it happens with the Brookfield Zoo hosts its Holiday Magic light show on December weekends.
“They come by the thousands,” O’Connor said.
It becomes a curse for O’Connor and other neighbors when it lets out around 9 p.m.
“This was the first year I noticed a backup on Hollywood,” said Maria Mancilla.
O’Connor’s mother, a nurse, shot video of the traffic jam. She is fed up with the headache.
“I cannot get out of my neighborhood,” she says on the video.
“It could be really serious if, I mean, there was an accident, or God forbid, you know, you need an ambulance,” O’Connor said.
O’Connor’s mom has contacted everyone for help, but to no avail. She wants police to block off the street from the main roads so they can at least get out.
CBS 2 emailed Brookfield police Chief Ed Petrack, who did not address that specific request.
But he said it is an ongoing issue, and the department is working with the zoo to change how staff take tickets at the nearby south gate.
A zoo representative said they encourage patrons to use the north gate instead. They also want people to come to the festivities earlier.
A social media post said that should help reduce traffic and delays.
“People all talk a good game and say, ‘We’re going to this, we’re going to do that,’ but nothing ever happens,” O’Connor said.
It seems like it will be a team effort to get any changes made here. Residents hope if changes do not come this year, they will next.
Zoo staff said this past weekend saw up to 30,000 people at the light show in one day. They said the warmer weather has brought out more traffic.
The even lasts until the end of the month.