Open house lets residents have say on traffic concerns
By Cathy Janek For The Sun March 7, 2013 9:16PM
Updated: April 11, 2013 6:43AM
More than fifty Naperville residents weighed in on traffic in their neighborhood at an open house held on Thursday at Elmwood Elementary School, as part of a new Neighborhood Traffic Study Program.
Initiated by the City of Naperville’s Transportation, Engineering, and Development Business Group, the pilot study asked residents of Zone 11 — which is the area between Edward Hospital, Washington Street, 75th Street, and West Street, to complete forms detailing specific traffic related concerns.
Survey respondents were able to pinpoint traffic issues on a detailed map and include other information such as day of the week and time of day that traffic is troublesome. The city will continue to accept comments through March 18 on Zone 11 issues.
This area was chosen for the pilot study due to anticipated future roadway maintenance and to gauge the changes in traffic based on the completion of the 75th and Washington Street construction project, according to City of Naperville Project Engineer Jennifer Louden.
“We have a team that looks into traffic concerns when residents call us,” she said.
While the individual requests do address a specific concern, it does not take into account that two blocks away there may be a similar concern that the city is not looking at because officials are not aware of it, Louden added.
Given that Naperville is fairly built out, she said, “now would be appropriate to start to look at neighborhood traffic concerns on a more comprehensive basis.”
“We talked to other municipalities including Downers Grove and Mount Prospect who already have done similar studies,” Louden said.
For the study, the city has been broken down into 33 neighborhood traffic zones. The city will take a look at existing conditions in a neighborhood and based on the results create “a traffic improvement plan,” she said.
“We are trying to make sure that all modes of traffic are able to travel as safely and efficiently as possible,” Louden said.
“I live in the heart of Zone 11 on Gartner and Modaff and there is a lively amount of traffic,” Laura Ellman said. “I am concerned for the safety of my kids, myself, my car, and my dogs. There is a stop sign at Gartner and Modaff and people rarely stop all the way. They roll right through it.”
Elmwood School parent Kim Monreal said that parents who are rushing to pick their kids up from school need to slow down.
“They are not paying attention to the kids and the parents walking. I almost got hit myself,” she said.
Monreal said since her family lives so close, they frequently cross Gartner Road to shop at Naperville Plaza.
“No cars will stop for you to cross,” she added. “When I am driving, if I see someone in the crosswalk, I will stop to let them cross, but the cars behind me will get upset.”
Kate Lichter, a St. Raphael parent, said that crossing Modaff Road in the morning is like taking your life into your hands.
“My daughter is in fourth grade and can’t walk to school by herself. Having something permanent in the street to get people to pay more attention would be useful,” she said.
“This is an area with a lot of traffic and little police coverage,” Denny Barfuss said. “This is a great area because now there are young families again and we have to be cognizant of little kids.”
Barfuss was pleased that Naperville is asking residents about their traffic concerns.
“This is a great thing that the city is doing,” he said. “I am excited they chose to do this area first.”
Based on the outcome of the meeting, the city will focus on which areas need to be further addressed. The cost for the initial study is estimated to be approximately $30,000, Louden said.
“We don’t have another location picked out yet for a study,” she said.
“We are going to hold our determination on whether we are going to do other studies until we complete this one.”
For more information on the Neighborhood Traffic Study Program, visit http://www.naperville.il.us/ntsp.aspx.