Lyons Township High School safety measures urged for Willow Springs Road
Updated: December 19, 2012 10:56AM
LA GRANGE — La Grange officials agree safety needs to be improved for Lyons Township High School students crossing Willow Springs Road.
But Village Board members stopped short of signing off on any definite measures Nov. 12 before a traffic signal is due to be installed in 2014 at the south campus for freshmen and sophomores at 4900 S. Willow Springs Road in Western Springs.
“Willow Springs Road has a designated school speed zone of 20 mph, but it’s poorly marked, and that makes it difficult for pedestrians to cross,” La Grange parent Nora Valentino told the board. “Cars don’t stop or slow down.”
Improvements to benefit pedestrians could include flashing warning lights before and after school, cones, additional signs and increased police patrols, Valentino said.
A new pathway through Denning Park on the east side of Willow Springs Road is resulting in more students using it and crossing to school at the site of the proposed traffic light without appropriate markings or signage, Valentino said.
“The village has the ability to increase safety for the south campus,” she said. “Additional visual aids on Willow Springs Road will raise driver awareness and allow them to safely respond to students in the crosswalk.”
Village President Liz Asperger said the board shares Valentino’s concerns, but her suggestions require additional funding, such as signs and increased police patrols.
“They are out there and doing their best to enforce the law,” Asperger said.
Village Manager Bob Pilipiszyn estimated the cost of a pedestrian-activated signal with yellow flashing lights would cost $80,000 and not be an appropriate investment, considering a full traffic signal will be installed in 2014.
Asperger said signs attached to the roadway warning motorists to stop for pedestrians can’t be used on Willow Springs Road, because they would impede ambulances rushing to Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital south of the school.
Trustee Mike Horvath suggested some of the signs for the new signal be installed early and a concerted effort be made to educate parents, students and community members using Denning Park, as well as motorists along Willow Springs Road.
Trustees Jeff Nowak and Bill Holder said they favored parents stepping forward to enhance safety, perhaps by serving as crossing guards.
In 2010 the villages of La Grange and Western Springs undertook a joint study with the Park District of La Grange, the high school and the hospital, splitting the cost of a traffic study.
In the meantime, pedestrians are urged to cross Willow Springs Road north of the school at 47th Street, where there is a traffic signal.