By Jean Lotus
Garfield School in the 500 block of Hannah opened its very successful preschool program this fall, bringing an additional 75 children under age 5 to the school daily. But along with an influx of new children, with four pickups/dropoffs daily, Forest Park neighbors and parents have noticed more cars, and what they consider more dangerous driving.
And it's not just at Garfield.
The Beloit "Speedway" is what some parents are calling the 1000 block of Beloit where parents cut north from Roosevelt Road in the morning, heading to kid dropoffs at Field-Stevenson, Forest Park Middle School or the park district daycare program.
Twenty-five neighbors of Garfield School, Sept. 23, asked the Forest Park Village Council and administrators at District 91 to look into installing traffic-calming devices, such as a speed bump or signs reading "School Speed Zone."
"Vehicles are constantly traveling down Hannah at excessive speeds," according to the letter. "Children and those accompanying them are constantly crossing the street between parked vehicles."
Suggestions presented included posting signs like those on Jackson Boulevard that say "Caution Children Present" and "School Speed Zone 20 mph." Parents also suggested making Hannah one-way during school days.
At Monday's council meeting, Forest Park Mayor Anthony Calderone asked the Traffic and Safety Commission to look into the situation around the 500 block of Hannah Avenue.
Commissioner Rory Hoskins noted that traffic on South Beloit Avenue near Field-Stevenson and the middle school can also get hectic. Hoskins asked the council to consider a traffic analysis of all Forest Park schools. The council amended the ordinance and officially requested the commission to look into traffic calming.
"We don't have any speed bumps on any public streets at the moment," Calderone said.
Chief James Ryan said police were active in school zones since the beginning of the school year, writing citations for no-seatbelt, unsafe driving and using cellphones. The village installed electronic signs near schools that read, "No cellphone use in school zones."
The council eventually voted Monday to expand the scope of the request to ask the commission to evaluate traffic in all school zones.