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updated: 7/30/2013 3:44 PM

Naperville traffic study proposes improvements for Gartner

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Proposed improvements to a "difficult" intersection, upgrades to pedestrian crossings and efforts to reduce speeding all are part of the first report completed under Naperville's neighborhood traffic study program.

The recommendations will be presented Saturday to the traffic advisory board as the city looks to finalize and begin implementing changes as soon as September.

The initial study focuses on an area the city refers to as Zone 11, which is bordered by Edward Hospital on the north, Washington Street on the east, 75th Street on the south and West Street on the west.

The city started the neighborhood traffic study program in this area because drivers already have adjusted to the revamped intersection at Washington and 75th streets and because any work deemed necessary can begin during maintenance scheduled to start soon, said Kim Schmidt, project engineer.

With Zone 11 as a starting point, the program, launched earlier this year, aims to address traffic concerns on a comprehensive basis instead of waiting for residents to bring them up one at a time.

The approach earns a positive review from Bob Fischer, president of the Naperville Area Homeowners Confederation, who said his group has followed the first study through initial meetings in March and earlier this month.

"These are neighborhood-wide issues that nobody ever agrees on," Fischer said. "If you change one thing, it's going to impact something else. So it makes a whole lot of sense to address this from a neighborhood basis."

Schmidt said Gartner Road developed as a focus of the Zone 11 study, and recommendations were developed to improve an offset intersection, ease pedestrian crossings and decrease speeding.

Two possibilities are proposed for the intersection of Gartner, Magnolia Lane and Modaff Road, which Fischer called "difficult" because Magnolia and Modaff are not aligned. Schmidt said one strategy involves shifting Modaff 50 feet west, closer to Magnolia, and the other includes removing a grass median from Modaff to decrease the crossing distance for pedestrians.

Both strategies would increase driver visibility and pedestrian safety, but neither would result in a fully aligned intersection.

"In order to do that, we'd have to take a property," Schmidt said.

Crosswalk improvements to two Gartner Road intersections are proposed so walkers at West Street won't have to traverse five lanes of traffic at once, and so drivers more easily can see pedestrians at Catalpa Lane. The study suggests adding a median at West and a flashing light pedestrians can activate with a button at Catalpa near Trader Joe's.

"It just gives a little additional visibility to the pedestrians because it is such a highly traveled road," Schmidt said.

The traffic study found eastbound drivers on Gartner between Washington and Modaff go an average of 37 mph in a 25 mph zone, and "that was extremely different from what we saw throughout the remainder of the study area," Schmidt said.

The study suggests extra police enforcement, the addition of a painted centerline and new pavement markings reminding drivers of the 25 mph residential speed limit.

Residents can view study recommendations at naperville.il.us/zone11.aspx and can submit comments at the transportation advisory board meeting, scheduled for 8 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 3, at the municipal center, 400 S. Eagle St., or by contacting Schmidt at schmidtk@naperville.il.us or (630) 548-1199.

Final recommendations are scheduled to be presented to the city council in September.

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