River Forest funds new traffic plan

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By Nona Tepper

After a third grader walking to Lincoln Elementary School was struck and injured by a passing car in December 2017, River Forest officials began studying ways to make life safer for students and other pedestrians in the village. 

And while River Forest did not receive a notable state grant to fund the ambitious Safe Routes to Schools plan, Monday night village trustees agreed to fund the project with local tax dollars.

With local funding, it will also be possible to move more quickly and have the many elements of the plan in place before school resumes this fall. Included in the plan are nearly 70 new stop signs, 160 cross walks and other measures to control traffic on River Forest streets. 

Trustees voted unanimously at the May 13 meeting to implement the traffic changes. A total estimated cost for implementing the Safe Routes plan was not included in the village project memo. 

"It's a big plan, it's not only Safe Routes to School but it is safety for our entire village," said outgoing trustee Carmela Corsini. "So I'm super excited this is coming to fruition."

Corsini said at some point after implementation, the village will need to do "some sort of review and reevaluation" to the traffic changes. Palm said that the village would want to see how the new traffic control measures performed throughout the seasons before making any updates.

"Unless there's some pressing need or emergency or something we forgot, let's give it a year with no new stop signs," he said at the meeting.

Palm said the next step would be to bid out the work of procuring the stop signs and other traffic control equipment. Adding the new signals will be "phased, we won't flip a light switch and have all the stop signs appear," Palm said, and he estimated it would take the River Forest Public Works department about 30 days to implement the plan.

New stop signs and other measures will have orange flags on them initially to alert drivers of the new traffic control measure at intersections. Palm added that the village was still working on how to notify residents of the changes.

"The more we can over communicate, the better," said Village President Cathy Adduci.

CONTACT: ntepper@wjinc.com

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