Mount Prospect discloses plan for Central Road crosswalk improvements

  • A bicycle was left as a memorial for months at the pedestrian crosswalk on Central Road near Weller Lane in Mount Prospect, where a mother of five was struck in June 2016 and later died.

      A bicycle was left as a memorial for months at the pedestrian crosswalk on Central Road near Weller Lane in Mount Prospect, where a mother of five was struck in June 2016 and later died. Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer, 2016

 
Updated 7/15/2018 10:32 AM

Mount Prospect last week disclosed plans to make Central Road crosswalks safer for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists.

The plans are an outgrowth of two pedestrian crossing studies, one conducted by representatives of the Federal Highway Administration and Illinois Department of Transportation and another by the Ciorba Group, which Public Works Director Sean Dorsey presented to village leaders Tuesday.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Overhead signs, pedestrian refuge islands, marked crosswalks, advance stop lines and signs, and double-white lane lines are pieces in a toolbox that will be phased in over the next few years. The plans come two years after a Mount Prospect mother of five died after being hit in a Central Road crosswalk at Weller Lane, leading her husband to launch a campaign focusing on crosswalk safety and design.

Dorsey said the public will have further input at the village's Transportation Safety Commission, while IDOT will review the plans.

Changes at Central Road and Weller Lane are in the plans. Replacing the three ground-mounted beacons in place today will be two ground-mounted beacons and one overhead beacon. There also will be advance stop lines to provide drivers a visual cue of where to stop, as well as a double white line to indicate they should not be switching lanes as they approach the intersection. Construction is targeted for 2019, at a cost of $65,000.

Other elements of the plan include:

• At Central Road and We-Go Trail/Lancaster Street, widening Central for a new barrier median for pedestrian refuge and installing a new sidewalk to align with the crosswalk, at a total cost of $120,000. Construction would occur in 2022.

• At Central Road and Cathy Lane, removing the existing flashing beacon west and east of the crossing, which Dorsey said has been ineffective, and installing a new barrier median. Construction would take place in 2020 and cost an estimated $120,000.

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• At Central Road and Pine Street, $210,000 in proposed improvements include installing a crosswalk across Central Road, along with a new barrier median for pedestrian refuge, and relocating five existing light poles. Construction is planned in 2021.

• At Central Road and Emerson Street, which sees heavy traffic to the library, village hall and downtown, a barrier median, a new sidewalk to align with the crosswalk and a right-in/right-out island on the north side of the intersection to prevent left turns onto Central Road. Construction is slated for 2019 and is expected to cost $120,000.

Village Trustee Michael Zadel asked whether stop bars at Weller Lane could have a color to differentiate them. Otherwise, the stop bar might be confusing to motorists.

"If I see a stop bar, I'm looking for a stop sign," he said.

Trustee Richard Rogers said that given that IDOT's main purpose is to move traffic, it will likely not approve all of the crosswalks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"IDOT has been difficult at best to deal with, as you well know, and I think we ought to try to get the most important ones first," he said. "I just don't see IDOT approving three of them in a row, block after block after block."

However, Dorsey said many of the proposed improvements are at sites where crosswalks already exist.

"So we're kind of talking about some pavement/curb modifications, some median refuge islands, some signs. So I think that an argument could be made for those permits," he said.

Trustee Paul Hoefert supported the improvements, but warned about sign overload.

"I would suggest that if we put these signs up, we take other signs down," he said.

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