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Crosswalk on 47th Street sees more improvements

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December 21, 2009
By JANE MICHAELS This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
La Grange officials are looking for feedback since lighted pedestrian crossing improvements became operational Dec. 9 on 47th Street at 9th Avenue.

The crossing enhancements, prompted by the death of Cari Cook May 19 at 8th Avenue, include additional signs and a push button to activate blinking beacons on a post and in-pavement flashers to alert drivers. After pushing the button, pedestrians are instructed to wait until cars stop before stepping into the crosswalk.

Village Manager Bob Pilipiszyn said the signal could serve as a prototype for two additional crossings: La Grange Road at 52nd Street and 47th Street at Waiola Avenue.

"Let us know what you think," Pilipiszyn told residents at a Village Board meeting Dec. 14.

"The feedback I've had so far is great," said board member Mike Horvath, adding he, too, has used the crossing signal and is impressed. "It's head and shoulders the best crosswalk we can find on 47th Street.

"I encourage everyone to write a letter to Bob if you like the crosswalk, and we can use that to solicit approval from the Illinois Department of Transportation for the additional crosswalks."

The village manager may be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Other contacts suggested are Ryan Gillingham, director of Public Works, at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and Police Chief Michael Holub at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

La Grange resident Michelle Borkowski said although she hasn't used the enhanced crossing as a pedestrian, the flashing lights capture drivers' attention.

"Hopefully, it makes other drivers more aware that after crossing over the tracks from Brookfield, it's a residential area and not a business/industrial area they are driving through anymore," Borkowski said.

Pedestrian safety became a top village priority following the death of Cook, a 30-year-old Countryside teacher and mother who was struck and killed by an SUV as she crossed 47th Street at 8th Avenue with her two young children around noon on a weekday.

Previously, neighbors on both sides of 47th Street had complained of dangerous crossing conditions with offset streets, a 35 mph speed limit and heavy traffic, especially in rush hour. Protests led to a crosswalk marked at 9th Avenue with curb cuts to ease the route for strollers and bicycles.

Following community meetings after the Cook tragedy, state Reps. Michael Zalewski, D-21st, Chicago, and Jim Durkin, R-82nd, Western Springs, joined village leaders in meeting with Illinois Department of Transportation officials to enact additional safety improvements.

The usually slow process to reduce speed was expedited, and the limit was dropped to 25 mph in June, and additional curb cuts were made at the offset streets east of La Grange Road.

Cari Lyn Cook (Stevens)

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