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Husband questions enforcement on 47th Street

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August 11, 2009

The La Grange Village Board Monday agreed to fund three traffic studies to improve pedestrian safety at two crossings and along 47th Street where Cari Cook was struck and killed east of La Grange Road in May.

Matt Cook, Cari's husband, acknowledged the initiatives, but pressed for details of the studies, when they would conclude and what would be done to protect pedestrians in the meantime.

"I've visited 47th Street where I lost my wife half a dozen times in the last few weeks," Cook told the board. "On the signs that show how fast cars are going, I saw some at 46, 49 and 51 mph. I haven't seen any increased enforcement.

"Are we doing anything more than before with regard to enforcement?"

Village President Liz Asperger responded that enforcement of the speed limit, currently 35 mph, continues to be a priority while the approval process advances to lower the limit to 25 or 35 mph on the state-controlled road.

"Unfortunately, unless a squad car is parked at every corner, we won't get everyone who violates the law," Asperger said.

Cook, who lives just south of La Grange in Countryside, also questioned the status of a citizens commission to improve pedestrian safety, which had been proposed by board member Mike Horvath, who was absent Monday.

Asperger said the group is still in the planning stages while officials determine the commission's make-up and role. Membership should include school officials and parents, who likely will be more available soon after school begins Aug. 24, she said.

Although Asperger suggested the commission would play a key role in communicating pedestrian safety measures and educating residents, Cook said the group also should do more by compiling citizen concerns and brainstorming solutions.

Board member Jim Palermo said he frequently visits 9th Avenue and 47th Street to gauge the effectiveness of increased signage there as the first step in enhancing the crosswalk.

"Forty-seventh Street remains problematic. More needs to be done with enforcement," Palermo said." We're getting there with engineering studies, curb cuts and traffic studies. But education are enforcement are key in the weeks, months and years ahead to ensure safer streets in La Grange."

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Cari Lyn Cook (Stevens)

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