Des Plaines request for crosswalk safety lights delayed in state budget stalemate

Des Plaines' request to install flashing light beacons at a busy downtown crosswalk where a woman was killed last year is tied up in the ongoing state budget stalemate, city officials said.

Meanwhile, a separate city request to install four "Vehicle Stop Here" signs in advance of the Miner Street crosswalk near Pearson Street has been approved by the Illinois Department of Transportation, which maintains jurisdiction over Miner.

Those signs could be installed in the next few weeks once the city receives a permit from IDOT, according to Jon Duddles, the city's assistant director of public works and engineering.

The signs, expected to cost less than $1,000, will be paid for and installed by the city.

But the high-visibility "rapid flashing beacons," which walkers and bicyclists would be able to activate at the push of a button, can't be considered by IDOT until a Federal Highway Administration safety inspection takes place. And that can only be done once there is a state budget, Duddles said.

If the safety evaluation by state and federal officials determines the flashing lights would be a good fit for the crosswalk, the city would pay for them. Des Plaines has requested up to four beacons be installed. They're estimated to cost $12,000 each.

The request came after two pedestrian crashes, one of them fatal, within hours of each other at the same crossing on July 23.

In the first crash, a 70-year-old Des Plaines woman was struck by a vehicle driven by an 88-year-old woman. The pedestrian later died from her injuries.

Less than two hours later at nearly the same spot, two 13-year-old girls riding their bikes across Miner were hit by an eastbound car. Police say the 32-year-old driver was on her cellphone, and her view was partially obstructed by a box truck that stopped to allow the bicyclists to cross.

Des Plaines wants flashing lights at crossing where pedestrian killed

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