Batavia to push state on crosswalk safety options for Route 31
Batavia aldermen are not giving up on the idea of making a safe pedestrian crossing on Batavia Avenue (Route 31) at McKee Street.
They are requesting proposals from consultants about getting a pedestrian-activated red light signal installed there, where a pedestrian-activated yellow flashing beacon stood for several years.
The red light signal is known as a HAWK signal, for high-intensity activated crosswalk beacon.
The Illinois Department of Transportation would have to approve the signal since Route 31 is a state highway. IDOT does not allow the signals on its roads in the Chicago area.
Batavia hopes to change IDOT officials' minds.
The move came after aldermen were told Tuesday the city's attorneys confirmed that a recent federal rule change prohibits the city from replacing the flashing yellow beacon that was there from 2015 until it was destroyed by a truck crash in January. In December, the Federal Highway Administration withdrew approval for rapid rectangular flashing beacons and said existing ones could only be repaired, not replaced.
Last month, when it learned about the rule change, the council asked the attorneys to find out if it could use a spare flashing beacon it has on hand.
"I feel like we spent the money ... and the first time something gets damaged, we just throw our hands up and say just forget it," Alderman Alan Wolff fumed.
Aldermen also instructed Batavia Mayor Jeff Schielke to ask IDOT, again, to ask if speed limits on Batavia Avenue could be lowered.
"Batavia Avenue is part of our downtown, and it does not get treated as part of our downtown because cars are flying through," Alderman Michael O'Brien said. Reduced traffic speeds might encourage more people to walk the area, he said, although Wolff noted pedestrians have been hit crossing at Wilson and Route 31, a fully signaled intersection.
The city has asked IDOT for permission to paint a crosswalk at Houston Street. An answer is expected in four to six weeks.
The city will keep the old flashing beacons installed on Hart and Raddant roads, Route 25 and farther south on Route 31.