River Forest officials are taking steps to discourage speeding and erratic driving at two locations in the village in response to complaints from residents.
At the Dec. 13 village board meeting, trustees agreed with recommendations from the Traffic and Safety Commission to install a pole-mounted radar feedback sign on the west side of Thatcher Avenue near the intersection with Vine Street and install temporary knock-down bollards at the limits of the parking lanes in the eastbound/westbound directions of Chicago Avenue at the intersection with William Street.
Samantha Tepper, Thatcher Avenue resident, complained to the Traffic and Safety Commission about speeding on Thatcher between Madison Street and Washington Boulevard, requesting that the village install speed bumps or a three-way stop sign at Vine.
However, a six-day study of vehicle counts and speed by the police department did not support installation of a stop sign, according to Jeff Loster, director of public works and development services. Instead, the pole-mounted radar feedback sign, which will face southbound traffic, was recommended with the aim to “help change driver behavior.”
Installation of the knock-down bollards at Chicago Avenue and William Street is in response to concerns about erratic driving at that intersection expressed to the Traffic and Safety Commission by William Avenue resident Lydia Manning.
Loster explained that “anecdotal evidence” suggests that impatient drivers will use the eastbound and westbound parking lanes to circumvent traffic backups at the intersection, especially during rush hour. That, he said, leads to “dangerous situations” with multiple vehicles entering the intersection at the same time.
He explained that the placement of the knock-down bollards is designed to prevent drivers from using the parking lanes as driving lanes. The bollards will not be in place during the winter months to avoid potential problems with snow removal.
While a bollard is a short post used to guide traffic or create a protective perimeter, the elasticated joint on a knock-down bollard allows it to spring back to its upright position if knocked down by a vehicle.
Trustee Erika Bachner expressed concerns that the knock-down bollards might impede bicycle riders but Loster indicated he did not think that would be an issue.
Loster said curb bump-outs also were discussed but commissioners favored the knock-down bollards as a “more efficient manner” to solve the issue.
These issues are separate from those that led the village board to hire Kenig, Lindgren, O’Hara, Alboona Inc. to conduct a study of traffic in the northeast quadrant of the village.
That contract, approved at the Nov. 8 village board meeting, will study traffic in the area bounded by North Avenue, Harlem Avenue, Greenfield Street and Lathrop Avenue.