Despite a village-wide traffic study being planned for later this year and 2023, River Forest officials responded to complaints of residents living in the northeast corner of the village by implementing five separate steps to address concerns over cut-through traffic from Harlem and North avenues.
At the Oct. 10 village board meeting, officials voted unanimously to implement four steps recommended by the traffic and safety commission and a fifth step that was generated during discussion at the meeting. Residents of that area who attended the meeting reiterated complaints about drivers who speed and fail to stop for stop signs in their neighborhoods, raising concerns about the safety of children on their blocks.
The traffic and safety recommendations stemmed from a traffic study by Kenig, Lindgren, O’Hara and Aboona Inc. (KLOA) of the area bounded by North, Harlem, Greenfield Street and Lathrop Avenue that was commissioned in January.
The action in January followed similar steps taken by officials to address traffic concerns raised by residents at village board meetings last November and December.
Affected by the Oct. 10 action are LeMoyne Street, Bonnie Brae Place, Clinton Place, William Street and Greenfield.
LeMoyne will be converted to a one-way eastbound street between Harlem and the alley with a right-turn-only curb diverter to allow for only southbound turns onto Harlem; a cul-de-sac will be installed on Bonnie Brae at the south edge of the east/west alley just south of North; and a partial cul-de-sac will be installed on Clinton at the south edge of the east/west alley just south of North.
Officials also amended the traffic and safety commission’s recommendation regarding stop signs on William, LeMoyne, Clinton and Greenfield. Unchanged from the recommendation are converting the two-way stop at the intersection of William and LeMoyne to an all-way stop and modifying the all-way stop at Clinton and LeMoyne such that only the north and south legs of the intersection will be required to stop. Officials tweaked a recommendation regarding the one-way stop at Clinton and Greenfield, moving the stop signs to the intersection of William and Greenfield and making it a four-way stop.
Based on discussion among officials and input from residents at the meeting, officials concluded that action planned for LeMoyne would just push cut-through traffic coming from Harlem from LeMoyne to Greenfield. To address that concern, officials added a fifth step similar to the step taken on LeMoyne, converting Greenfield to a one-way eastbound street between Harlem and the alley with a right-turn-only curb diverter to allow for only southbound turns onto Harlem.
Officials stressed that four of the five steps are temporary and subject to change or elimination following presentation of recommendations stemming from the village-wide traffic study. The exception is action affecting stop signs on William, LeMoyne, Clinton and Greenfield. Jeff Loster, director of public works and development services, said taking steps on a temporary basis will allow staff members to implement changes more quickly and will allow for feedback from residents before taking more permanent steps.
Officials also directed staff members to install ladder-style crosswalks with pedestrian crossing signage on the east and west legs of the Greenfield/Bonnie Brae intersection.
In a memo, Loster said that findings of the KLOA study were presented to traffic and safety commission members at their July 26 meeting but commission members requested more substantial options to calm area traffic. Those were presented at the Sept. 21 meeting, leading to the recommendations to the village board although questions were raised Oct. 10 whether all options for Greenfield were discussed.
Loster also said implementation of the changes will depend on how quickly materials can be obtained.
“We’re working on finalizing the quantities needed for all of the improvements and the implementation timeframe will depend on the lead time of the material,” he said. “Once everything is in, we plan to implement the changes immediately.”