Input gathered on Edgebrook traffic
by BRIAN NADIG
Input was gathered at an Aug. 16 meeting to help determine the scope of the first phase of an engineering study that will examine traffic safety and congestion in the Edgebrook business district.
The study will consider vehicle, train, pedestrian and bicycle movement in the Devon-Central district. It also will include a larger study area that examines traffic which feeds into Edgebrook from Bryn Mawr Avenue on the south, Touhy Avenue on the north, Cicero Avenue on the east and Nagle avenue on the west.
About 60 people attended the meeting at the Edgebrook Clubhouse, 6100 N. Central Ave. The meeting was sponsored by Aldermen Margaret Laurino (39th) and Anthony Napolitano (41st) and the city Department of Transportation.
Laurino said that the planning process is in its "infancy" stages and that a continuous dialogue with the community will take place before any recommendations are made. "This is the first of many meetings," she said.
City traffic engineer Nathan Roseberry said that one of the challenges to improving the area’s traffic flow is the close spacing of seven intersections, three railroad crossings and the Edgebrook Metra Station, all within an approximate two-block radius of each other. He said that daily traffic counts on Caldwell, Lehigh, Devon and Central range from about 7,000 to 27,000 vehicles.
At the meeting, audience members were asked to write concerns and recommendations on maps of the business district that were on display at four tables in the room.
Suggestions included the use of smart technology that could adjust the timing of traffic lights based on real-time traffic flow and the relocation of the Metra station further north so that trains would not block Devon when stopped there.
Others noted that vehicles too often get stuck on the railroad tracks on northbound Central, just south of Caldwell, and that many motorists on westbound Caldwell run a red light at Lehigh. Others said that Edgebrook School students struggle to cross streets in the business district during those times when crossing guards are not on duty.
A recommendation also was made for a designated bike route on side streets that would allow bicyclists to avoid the heavy vehicle traffic in the commercial area.
A concern also was raised about a plan to install shared bike lanes in the district as part of a separate project being funded by the county. The shared lane symbols on the roadway would be a distraction to drivers, according to one resident.