State forces Park Ridge to ditch pedestrian signs
Signs like these, at Northwest Highway and Euclid Avenue, have been taken down from busy Park Ridge crosswalks by order of the Illinois Department of Transportation. | Contributed photo
Updated: March 22, 2013 6:10AM
PARK RIDGE — The reflective metal sign reminding drivers to stop and allow pedestrians to cross the street has long been a fixture in the center of the crosswalk outside the Park Ridge Public Library on Prospect Avenue.
In more recent years the city added additional, mounted curbside signs to reinforce the same message — stop for pedestrians — at the Prospect location and three other heavily-traveled crosswalks in the city.
But the Illinois Department of Transportation recently ordered the city of Park Ridge to remove the rectangular mounted curbside signs because they do not conform to published IDOT rules governing roadway signage.
“It’s a little frustrating,” said Park Ridge Police Chief Frank Kaminski who said the signs were a way of making the crossings safer. “You think you’re doing the right thing, but suddenly you have to deal with a bureaucracy.”
City Engineer Sarah Mitchell said IDOT ordered that the mounted curbside signs be removed from Northwest Highway at Euclid Avenue, Devon Avenue in South Park and Elm Street at St. Andrews Lutheran Church and School because they are “in violation of the manual on uniform traffic-control devices.”
The city can continue to use the portable signs that are placed in the center of the crosswalks, as long as they are temporary and removed each night, Mitchell said.
An IDOT spokesman confirmed that the city cannot install its own curbside, mounted signs, but is allowed to place the removable signs in the actual crosswalk.
Both Kaminski and Deputy Police Chief Lou Jogmen, a member of the city’s Traffic Advisory Committee, said the “stop here for pedestrians” signs were created to address complaints from citizens who found it difficult to cross certain streets.
Jogmen said the mounted signs were added to call drivers’ attentions to the crosswalks and put pedestrians in a better position to cross the street.
Though no studies were performed on whether the extra signs did, in fact, improve safety, Jogmen believes they have been effective as the department has received fewer complaints about drivers failing to stop for pedestrians.
“Informally I would say they have been successful in accomplishing the objective we’re trying to do,” he said.
Kaminski said there are no current plans to meet with IDOT officials and possible alternatives to the signs have not yet been discussed.