When it comes to traffic issues there needs to be a balance between data-driven decisions and anecdotal evidence. Forest Park officials will need to find that balance and consider both in the aftermath of a bad week for pedestrians along the village’s two main thoroughfares.
Lovie Sanders, a Forest Parker who seems to have been a remarkable Chicago school teacher, was killed last Tuesday while crossing Madison Street to stop at the Starbucks on her way to work. Two days later an unidentified man was injured trying to cross Roosevelt Road.
While neither pedestrian was using a crosswalk, the death on Madison is of greater concern because it results from a chronic rush hour traffic tie-up that regularly leads frustrated drivers and pedestrians to dart and weave.
Last Tuesday morning such an illegal maneuver brought a 1993 Corolla heading east into the westbound lane of Madison to short-circuit a turn onto Elgin.
Most of us can identify with Sanders cutting between cars to get her coffee and never anticipating a car headed the wrong direction in the westbound lane. Too many of us can also identify with the driver pulling out of the back-up, trying to make the short detour to escape traffic.
Our point is not that all traffic accidents can be avoided. It is that morning and evening rushes on Madison as it intersects with the heavy traffic and long lights on Harlem. And frustrated drivers do stupid things. Usually they get away with it. Last week a good person was killed.
The village and the Illinois Department of Transportation need to take a hard look at this intersection. We understand it is a complex corner with traffic backing up from the Ike and, generally too many cars and not enough time. If the options are too limited then local police will need to work harder on enforcement if tragedies such as the death of Ms. Sanders are to be avoided.
And, ultimately, both drivers and pedestrians need to exhibit more patience and more care at this corner.