Stop signs installed on Milwaukee Ave. at Kostner in Old Irving Park; stop signs are unusual for a major thoroughfare but CDOT says they are needed
by BRIAN NADIG
Stop signs were installed today, May 12, on Milwaukee Avenue at Kostner Avenue in the Old Irving Park community due to concerns about crashes in which a vehicle struck the Concordia Place early education center, 3696 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Kostner dead ends at the daycare building, which is across from the Schurz High School sports field.
Plans also call for a curb extension and a new crosswalk on Milwaukee at the north end of the intersection.
A resident reported that on Thursday evening there were no flashing lights or special signage warning drivers of the new stop signs for northbound and southbound traffic and that she saw a mix of driver reactions. She said that while many drivers stopped, she saw one driver and one bicyclist go through the intersection without stopping and saw other motorists coming to a partial, “rolling” stop.
Alderman Gardiner (45th) toured the area today with city Department of Transportation commissioner Gia Biagi. “By installing stop signs at the intersection of Milwaukee and Kostner and soon to be installed pedestrian bump-outs, our goal continues to be creating the safest environment possible for all commuters,” Gardiner said in a Facebook posting.
The stop signs are intended to help slow down motorists along a three-block stretch of Milwaukee that in addition to the new stop signs includes a traffic signal at both the Milwaukee-Kilbourn and Milwaukee-Addison intersections.
Since 2019 two bicyclists have been killed in accidents in the 3800 block of North Milwaukee Avenue, including an incident on May 4 in which a man was later arrested in connection with the hit-and-run accident. The fatal accidents occurred near a railroad viaduct where the traffic lanes narrow.
Dedicated bike lanes which required the removal of 92 on-street parking spaces were installed on Milwaukee between Addison Street and Irving Park Road in 2017, and a couple of years later plastic bollards were added to better delineate the bike lanes, but the bollards are often taken out by city snow plows in the winter. Gardiner has said that his office makes numerous requests to get the bollards replaced.
The Active Transportation Alliance has said that the city needs more bike lanes that are protected with concrete barriers.
The department released the following statement last year about the planned stop signs:
“The intersection of Milwaukee and Kostner was looked at based on existing condition and type of crashes, including two crashes where the drivers left the roadway and hit the daycare building. It was determined that all-way stop sign is an appropriate traffic control for this location.
“In general, CDOT does not install stop signs on collectors and arterial streets; however, they may be considered at locations with type and severity of crashes, poor sight lines and natural obstruction.”
Stop signs on arterial streets in the area are unusual, with one being located on Austin Avenue at Sunnyside Avenue.