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Study to reduce 47th Street to three lanes approved

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La Grange, IL — A study has been commissioned to determine the feasibility of reducing 47th Street from four to three lanes as part of a series of steps taken to improve safety on the busy La Grange roadway. The La Grange Village Board Monday, May 10, authorized traffic consultants KLOA Inc. to conduct a feasibility study to convert 47th Street from a four to three-lane roadway from East to Gilbert avenues. The purpose is to determine the impact such a reconfiguration would have on regional traffic and also to determine if such a reconfiguration would have the desired effect of reducing traffic volumes and speed.

It is one of a series of measures that have been taken to increase safety following the death of Countryside resident Cari Cook on May 19, 2009.

Cook, 31, was struck by a sport-utility vehicle driven by a La Grange woman traveling east on 47th Street as she was crossing the street at Eighth Avenue with her two children, a 4-month-old son and 2-year-old daughter. The son was in a carrier worn by Cook while the daughter was in a stroller.

Cook was standing in the curb lane of 47th Street attempting to lift her daughter’s stroller over the south curb when she was struck. Her daughter escaped injury, but her son suffered a fractured leg.

As part of the study, traffic counts will be taken during peak periods on weekdays at key intersections, such as La Grange Road, Brainard, Edgewood and Gilbert avenues.

Village Trustee Mark Kuchler asked to take the issue off of the omnibus agenda and open for discussion to make residents aware of the measures being taken to improve 47th Street safety.

“The main reason I wanted to take it off of omnibus approval is because 47th Street is so important to everyone on the board, as well as residents, and to make sure that residents know what’s occurring and all the work staff has done on 47th Street and the intersecting streets.”

Kuchler added he wanted to make sure the study did not start until the repaving of 47th Street, which has begun, was completed since it may impact the results of the study.

Public Works Superintendent Ryan Gillingham said some components of the study could be started now.

“There’s other components that we could hold off on in order to capture once the roadway is done as well as to look at some other facilities, such as (Lyons Township High School) which could change the data.”

The study will also take into account the impact such a reconfiguration would have on side street traffic. Any alterations to 47th Street are subject to approval by the Illinois Department of Transportation, which maintains jurisdiction of the road.

The cost of the study is $14,000.

The study is expected to be completed in the fall to coincide with a Village Board workshop scheduled to discuss safety issues.


Cari Lyn Cook (Stevens)

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