Every day, a fleet of infants and toddlers cross Main Street in baby buggies, from the on one side to on the other.
“We cross the street, but we do it with trepidation in our hearts,” nursery director Cass Wolf told the city council at a special meeting convened to discuss pedestrian safety on Monday.
Wolf came to ask the city to reconsider adding a crosswalk at Main Street and Pitner Avenue, then handed aldermen a petition signed by 50 parents and staff from the nursery.
The nursery asked the city's pedestrian safety committee, formed earlier this summer, to consider a crosswalk at the intersection, but it did not make the cut on a list of recommended locations for new crosswalks or engineering upgrades, according to Public Works Director Suzette Robinson.
Formed of local officials, police and engineers, the pedestrian safety committee reviewed some fifteen potential locations for new crosswalks submitted by local residents, the school district and aldermen. Aldermen approved their list on Monday, but asked for further study—particularly of some locations that did not make the cut.
In its report, the committee recommended one new crosswalk, one new school crossing, and further study or engineering changes at seven sites.
Perhaps most notably, the committee advised making the intersection of Oakton Street and Barton Avenue a school crossing with a crossing guard. Ald. Coleen Burrus has advocated for an official school crossing there since May, when a speeding driver in the crosswalk.
Committee members also recommended a new crosswalk on Dodge Avenue near Monroe Street. Robinson told the city council that a resident had requested a crosswalk at that location, and it made sense since there were no crosswalks on Dodge for the half-mile stretch between Main and Oakton streets.
The committee rejected eight crosswalk locations because they were too close to an existing crosswalk, because there was not enough pedestrian traffic or because the intersection was too dangerous.
The crossing at Main and Pitner was rejected, because the site is located in a mostly industrial corridor with minimal pedestrian activity, Robinson explained.
“We have a lot of trucks and equipment turning out from the tree company,” she added—a situation that could create a potential hazard for pedestrians.
Both Ald. Burrus and Ald. Jane Grover asked the committee to take a second look at the intersection of Main and Pitner. Burrus said she was disappointed to see that no crosswalks were recommended at several sites along Oakton, including at the intersection of Oakton and Florence. Committee members did recommend adding a “No Parking” drop-off area near the school grounds at that intersection.
But given the number of parks and schools on Oakton, Burrus said there should be more crosswalks for pedestrians altogether.
Robinson said the committee would reconsider more crosswalks on Oakton and at Main and Pitner, as well as other sites aldermen brought up during the meeting. Those include the intersections of Forest Place with Davis Street, Ridge Avenue with Colfax Street, Hartrey Avenue with Grant Street and Emerson Street with Sheridan Road.