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Village revamps intersection code

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An updated ordinance designed to keep a clear view of intersections may require some property owners take a closer look at their own properties.

A heightened awareness of pedestrian safety prompted the La Grange Village Board Oct. 26 to update the villages code regulating the sight distance at intersections.

The purpose of the code, last updated in 1996,  is to ensure motorists have an unobstructed view of other vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians at intersections.

Village Manager Robert Pilipiszyn said a review of the code determined that it was inconsistent with the guidelines established by the American Association of Highway and Transportation Officials, a nonpartisan association representing highway and transportation departments in the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

The primary difference between the village’s code and the association’s guidelines is the association assumes motorists will look in both directions when stopped at a stop sign before proceeding through an intersection. Village code does not factor the presence of a stop sign into the clear sight area calculation, yet assumes all vehicles from all directions must have the same intersection sight distance.

Public Works Director Ryan Gillingham said the new code also takes into account a driver’s behavior.

“The old ordinance was more simplistic in its application in that it just had a sight distance requirement at every leg of the intersection, regardless of what type of traffic control existed,” he said. “The new code addresses driver behavior, such as when a vehicle approaches, the assumption is (the driver) stops and looks both ways to yield.”

The change may have an impact on property owners.

Gillingham said public works employees will start investigating obstructions at intersections that are reported by residents or those observed by crews.

“In order for us to make a determination we have to make a more formal analysis of the site,” Gillingham said. “What we’re attempting to do is to try to apply the appropriate standards for sight distance so that we don’t indiscriminately require the removal of fences, bushes and other obstructions on Read more...private property.”

Meanwhile, property owners need not be concerned they may be in violation of the ordinance and face a citation, he added.

“We will be taken this on a case by case basis,” he said. “If a resident reports something, we will look at it and evaluate it.”

Officials have initiated numerous improvements throughout the village aimed at pedestrian safety following the May 19 death of Countryside resident Cari Cook, 31, who was struck by a car and killed as she crossed 47th Street with her two children.

 Four-month old Connor Cook, who was strapped to his mother's chest in a carrier when she was struck, suffered a broken leg. Ellie Cook, 2, who was in a stroller during the accident, was unharmed.

 

Cari Lyn Cook (Stevens)
(1978-2009)

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