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updated: 7/7/2011 4:57 PM

Downtown Lombard getting new crosswalk

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An extra crosswalk is coming to downtown Lombard this construction season.

It won't be at a traffic signal where crosswalks traditionally are located, but many in Lombard say it could help create a more pedestrian-friendly atmosphere along St. Charles Road.

Trustees voted 4-2 Thursday at a rescheduled village board meeting to install a designated walking area across St. Charles Road at its intersection with the southern section of Lincoln Avenue. Pedestrians will be able to cross as if Lincoln continued straight across St. Charles instead of jogging over to the west.

"People are going to cross there anyway," Karen Stonehouse, executive director of Lombard Town Centre said Wednesday before the vote. "They can either do it where there's some warning to motorists or not."

Drivers will be warned of the new path by a pedestrian crossing sign to be installed in the crosswalk, Carl Goldsmith, Lombard's public works director, said.

"We will make sure the crossing is as safe as we can at a noncontrolled intersection," Goldsmith said.

The crosswalk installation, estimated to cost $25,000, also includes extension of curbs on both sides of St. Charles Road to shorten the walking distance, gutter and drainage improvements to control stormwater, brick pavers and asphalt stamping across St. Charles and other pavement markings, Goldsmith said.

Village President Bill Mueller said installing the crosswalk follows the village's downtown plan approved in March by making the area more welcoming to walkers.

"Part of the plan that we approved for downtown is to make it more pedestrian-friendly," Mueller said. "This is just to give pedestrians access to the businesses in downtown on both sides of the street without having to go to an intersection."

The crosswalk is adjacent the splash park water area, several stores and a condominium development. Trustee Greg Gron said it will benefit families who live north of downtown Lombard but want to visit the water area with their kids or do some shopping downtown.

And business advocates agree.

"I think it's important for businesses to have access for crossing the street as well as a safety issue," Dan Whittington, president of Lombard Town Centre, said.

Trustees Keith Giagnorio and Zachary Wilson voted against installing the crosswalk. Wilson said his vote represents the wishes of the committee he leads -- the transportation and safety panel -- which twice voted down the mid-block crossing.

According to a memo, the committee in June opposed the mid-block crossing in favor of encouraging pedestrians to cross at intersections with traffic signals.

But with Thursday's 4-2 vote, the crossing will be installed this summer by Lombard public works crews and contractors.