If you frequent the intersection of Madison Street and Circle Avenue either by car or on foot, you may be interested in a meeting Monday night on a proposal to do away with the traffic light there.
Public discussion on Commissioner Mark Hosty’s plan to test the impact of a four-way stop at one of the village’s busiest intersections could mean a red light from colleagues who have wrangled the initiative back to the dais.
Hosty, who oversees streets and public improvements, may not need the approval of fellow council members to institute a temporary change in traffic regulations, according to Village Administrator Mike Sturino. Traffic regulations are “routinely altered” by staff members to accommodate parades or emergencies, but whether an elected official has the same authority is up to the other elected officials to decide, Sturino said.
Following Hosty’s announcement late last month of a 30-day trial in which the busy intersection would see the traffic signals turned off in favor of erecting stop signs, local officials have decided a more thorough vetting is necessary.
At the Feb. 25 council meeting, Hosty informed commissioners of his intentions during a brief report on issues related to his departments. He touted the measure as a possible solution to traffic congestion. Having vehicles in all directions come to a complete stop at the junction could also slow traffic along Madison Street, he said, and make pedestrian crossings safer.
Pending outcome of the village council discussion on March 10, the change is slated to take effect on Wednesday, March 12. Hosty said today that he’s not seen the agenda for the coming meeting but is prepared to discuss the matter and welcomes any feedback.
The commissioner’s hypothesis is based on similar traffic-calming measures used in Chicago, which Hosty learned about during a guided tour more than a year ago. No traffic studies were conducted to assess the extent of the problem at Circle and Madison, said Hosty, or to collect baseline data that may help determine the success of a four-way stop.
Going ahead with a trial period saves the village money on engineering studies, according to Hosty.
“The proof will be in the pudding,” Hosty said.
In response to the proposal, Mayor Anthony Calderone asked the police department to collect data on traffic patterns through the intersection. That effort got under way earlier this week.
Director of Public Works Bob Kutak declined this morning to comment on the merits of removing the traffic signal at the intersection, but said he has discussed the proposal with Hosty and Sturino.
“He’s the commissioner and I’m following orders,” Kutak said.
The village council is scheduled to discuss this matter at 7 p.m. Monday, March 10. The meeting will be in the basement of village hall, 517 Desplaines Ave.
For more background on the proposal to take the traffic light away from the Circle-Madison intersection, click here for the story that ran in our March 5 print edition of Forest Park Review.
For developments from this meeting, see the March 12 edition of Forest Park Review and www.forestparkreview.com.