Pedestrian safety consultants work to solve community members’ concerns


Luc Alvarez

One of the concerns being addressed is cars going to fast and the lack of sidewalks on 63rd Street. Many community members criticized this as being unsafe.

On Nov. 14 District 99 held a pedestrian safety presentation lead by two consultants from Sam Schwartz, a traffic planning firm hired by the district to identify and remedy current safety problems for pedestrians. The presentation centered on solutions to community members’ safety concerns that were shared through an online traffic study.

Among these concerns is student safety when crossing Dunham from the church parking lot. Junior Sam Hudec shared how he feels when walking from the church.

“No, [I don’t feel safe walking from the church]. There is a blind hill and an intersection on each side of the place where students cross. There is no real place to cross out of the church parking lot unless you walk the side of the road to the light, which is dangerous with cars coming,” Hudec said.

To solve this, the consultants have proposed adding a sidewalk on the East side of Dunham. Sam Schwartz associate Kelly Conolly explained how this would affect the safety of students.

“[In this proposal], we are trying to channelize connections to a centralized location instead of having [students] cross Dunham mid-block,” Conolly said.

In addition to this sidewalk, the consultants have proposed reducing the speed of 63rd Street down to 35 mph and adding a traffic light at Norfolk and Oxford.

Another problem many students have while commuting is the frequent congestion on Norfolk. Junior Annie Le explained her frustrations with the typical congestion which she encounters.

“Congestion is more annoying than anything else most of the time, just because you end up losing a lot of time, and it can take a lot longer to get home than it needs to. Along with that I feel like since there is so much congestion, everyone in a car is always really frustrated and defensive driving is kind of lost in the mess of congestion,” Le said.

This is another thing the consultants are attempting to tackle. Conolly explained how they plan on partially reducing DGS’s congestion by additional areas for drop-off.

“[In this proposal there] is an off-street drop-off area that would give additional relief to the drop-off issues on the Southside of school,” Conolly said.

These proposals are not final. In the coming days, an online survey will be released to the community to gather feedback before the consulting firm gives its final recommendations. From there it will be up to the Village Council and school board to decide whether to enact these proposals.