By Jean Lotus
Speed bumps are not the answer for traffic calming near Garfield School and other schools in Forest Park, the Forest Park Traffic and Safety Committee said in a memo to the village council Tuesday.
According to the committee, speed bumps are dangerous to emergency vehicles (fire trucks, police cars and ambulances) traveling at a "higher rate than safely provided with a speed bump." The committee also said speed bumps cause issues when public works vehicles are plowing.
Neighbors in the 500 block of Hannah Avenue petitioned the village council last month to explore traffic calming devices such as speed bumps and signage.
With a new preschool program and four daily pickup and drop-off times, neighbors worried that small children were being put at risk by local drivers speeding down Hannah as kids cross the street with parents.
Instead, the committee recommended the block become a one-way going south between the hours of 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. They asked for a special one-way sign to be installed and for street horses to be placed daily at Jackson Boulevard and Hannah. New signs are also to be installed in the alley behind the school to prevent it from becoming a new "runway." The committee also recommended moving handicapped zones to the other side of the street, to clear bus and car drop-off zones on the school side so traffic flows freely.
But the committee also branched out to address other schools.
They requested that Public Works conduct a "full study of signage" at all schools to confirm that signs are consistent throughout the village. Signs they'll be checking are: school zone, speed limit, prohibited cell usage. They'll also ask for a report on street markings (such as crosswalks, and "school zones").
The committee recommended that District 91 develop a uniform school drop-off and pickup policy that prohibited children (and parents) from dropping off across the street and crossing traffic. They also recommended D91 schools channel bus traffic away from cars.