"It's insulting – they're telling us not even to use the intersection that they want us to improve," Trustee David McCarty said Monday.
McCarty referred to part of a state plan to improve the intersection of Ogden Avenue and La Grange Road. The project includes a right-turn only restriction at the entrance to nearby Gordon Park, which is located on Ogden Avenue a short distance from the intersection. Residents approaching the park from La Grange would have to loop around to Brookfield to get in, McCarty said.
The intersection of Ogden Avenue and La Grange Road, which are state roads, is ranked in the top 5 percent of dangerous intersections in Illinois, Public Works Director Ryan Gillingham told the board. The ranking qualified the intersection to be improved under the State of Illinois Highway Safety Improvement Program, Gillingham said.
The project plan calls for adding turning lanes for some corners and more turning room at others, new traffic signals, new sidewalks, new crosswalk markings, better street lighting and other improvements.
Village planning officials have suggested IDOT install traffic signals at the entrance to Gordon Park instead of restricting it to right turns, Gillingham said. But IDOT has indicated it will not pay for signals there, he added.
State Department of Transportation officials did not return calls for comment.
Trustees Jeff Nowak and Jim Palermo shared McCarty's concern about the entrance to Gordon Park, which is undergoing a $2.2 million renovation project that the village expects will draw more residents there. Also, an adjacent YMCA-owned lot could soon be developed, bringing even more traffic.
"You're literally cutting off three quarters of our village from desiring to go to Gordon Park," Nowak said of IDOT's plan.
He encouraged staff members to keep trying to convince the state agency to modify the plan.
"To the extent that we can increase the volume of our objection to that, and help them to understand what we hope is future prosperity there – both at the park and at the redevelopment – all the better," he added.
If not, the village might have to find a way to pay for it, Palermo said.
"Signalization strikes me as a must, and I'm trying to get a handle on who's gonna pay for that, and how much is it gonna cost," he said.
The project also calls for relocating a utility box that is on the southeast corner of the intersection, which Gillingham said is often struck by turning vehicles. Before the box, a light pole there was regularly hit before being relocated, he added.
Trustee Mark Kuchler questioned the wisdom of leaving the oft-struck area open for pedestrians, asking Gillingham to look at ways to enhance safety on the corner.
Village staff members have also pushed for "pedestrian harbors" to be added to the northeast and northwest corners, where turning lanes are planned, Gillingham said. IDOT has also hesitated to pay for those, he said. The harbors would provide a concrete space between the turning lanes and other lanes of traffic where pedestrians could stand.
Engineering for the project is scheduled to continue through 2014, with construction planned for 2015, according to Gillingham's presentation. One of the next steps is to estimate the project's cost.