Mount Prospect trustee: Remove controversial Central Road crosswalk

  • A Mount Prospect trustee is calling for the removal, at least temporarily, of the crosswalk on Central Road near Melas Park amid ongoing controversy about whether it creates a dangerous situation.

    A Mount Prospect trustee is calling for the removal, at least temporarily, of the crosswalk on Central Road near Melas Park amid ongoing controversy about whether it creates a dangerous situation. Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

 
Updated 10/5/2016 7:41 PM

As Mount Prospect moves to install another flashing yellow beacon at a controversial crosswalk near Melas Park -- and the Illinois Department of Transportation looks into reducing the speed limit and possibly allowing a red light there -- one village trustee is calling for the crosswalk's removal.

The suggestion by Trustee John Matuszak came Tuesday after village board members heard from Eric Jakubowski, whose wife, Joni Beaudry, was killed June 9 when an SUV struck her as she rode her bicycle in the crosswalk. Jakubowski and others have been critical of the village's response to the fatal crash, as well as the police investigation of it.

 

Matuszak said he believes the crosswalk at Central Road and Weller Lane should removed as long as the speed limit along that stretch of Central remains 35 mph. Pedestrians should instead be directed to cross at the nearby intersection of Central and Busse roads, where there is a traffic signal.

"It's much safer," Matuszak said.

Mayor Arlene Juracek voiced skepticism, however, suggesting pedestrians would continue to cross at the park without the crosswalk.

"My concern is Melas Park is almost like an attractive nuisance," she said. "It's there, and people are going to want to cross and, try as you might, they're going to cross where it is convenient."

Village Manager Michael Cassady said the village is still awaiting results of an IDOT speed-limit study, which should come in about 30 days.

Meanwhile, Public Works Director Sean Dorsey said the village will install a flashing yellow beacon to the center median at Central and Weller on Friday, adding to the flashing lights on both sides of the road.

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Matuszak's proposal sparked a variety of reactions from his fellow board members, including support and questions about pedestrians' responsibility to avoid vehicles.

"If you are a pedestrian and you want to cross, certainly you have got to look to make sure there are no cars coming," Trustee Richard Rogers said. "It's ludicrous to think that you could walk in front of a car going 30 miles an hour and you're not going to get hit.

"We cannot be responsible for educating everybody in the world," Rogers added. "All we can try to do is make it safer for people. And that's what we did at the crossing at Weller (Lane). There are a lot of children that cross at that intersection. We tried to make it safer by putting in that center median. Unfortunately, we had this accident that occurred."

Juracek said the yellow rapid flashing beacon was approved by IDOT when the law said a driver only had to yield to pedestrians. Now that the law has been rewritten to say a driver must stop, she wonders if the yellow lights should be changed to red.

Trustee Paul Hoefert said, "If I was IDOT, I would be on this like a fly on flypaper, because this is not the only situation in the state of Illinois or in the United States. If it doesn't happen here again, it's going to happen somewhere else."

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