Kids on the way to school, along with runners, bikers and countless others who walk on the east side of Washington Street just north of Bauer Road in Naperville, have to traverse a 200-foot section of sidewalk immediately next to the street.
It can be a little dicey navigating so close to all those cars, so city officials say they'll now take a look at moving the path away from traffic.
Resident Josh Weir brought his concerns about the proximity of the sidewalk to the road before the city council Tuesday night along with photos showing why he fears for the safety of Jefferson Junior High students and others who walk in that area.
"My concern is really just the location of the sidewalk where it goes right up against the road," Weir said. "There's a number of natural dangers with this current configuration."
The section of sidewalk in question is on the west end of a field Jefferson students use for physical education and recreation. Most of the sidewalk is set a few feet back from the street, and Weir asked if the 200-foot section immediately next to traffic could be moved back to a more comfortable distance.
Bill Novack, Naperville's director of transportation, engineering and development, said the 200-foot section abuts the road in order to follow the public right of way, which does not perfectly mirror the curve of the road in that location. There have not been any injuries along this stretch of sidewalk, and Naperville Unit District 203, which owns the land containing the walkway, has not raised any concerns about safety, he said.
Usually, Novack said the city prioritizes adding sidewalks in neighborhoods where they do not yet exist as more important than adjusting existing sidewalks. But councilmen on Tuesday directed staff members to look into moving the walkway a few feet off Washington Street as soon as possible.
"I would rather just try to push this forward and get it done as soon as possible," Councilman Joseph McElroy said. "I think this should be more of a priority than any neighborhood sidewalk."
Novack said city staff members will ask District 203 for an easement in order to move the sidewalk further from the road. Construction to move the pathway is expected to cost $15,000.