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Local News

'Boycott Lisle' protest attracts attention, leads to speed sign installation

LISLE – A sign reading “Boycott Lisle/Do Not Eat, Shop or Buy Gas Here!” has been visible to hundreds of commuters on major thoroughfares that connect Lisle to Downers Grove, Woodridge and other local communities.

As a result of parent Rodd Elges’ daily protest that started in mid-October, Lisle police will be installing two new radar signs and sending warning letters to drivers sooner than expected.

“I’m asking the village to slow down the traffic before children or a cyclist or motorist is injured,” Elges said, adding he attended numerous village meetings before turning to a boycott.

Elges said drivers regularly speed 35 to 40 mph on Abbeywood Drive, near Ivy and Hickory drives, where about 15 kids live – including his own 6-year-old son and two children with special needs.

He said those kids have to cross Abbeywood to reach the nearest school and park. Police confirmed a child on a bicycle was recently in a minor accident involving a motorist in the Green Trails neighborhood.

Village Manager Gerald Sprecher said Lisle ordered two high-tech signs that will show drivers their speed and record their license plate numbers. He said the Village Board had previously decided to buy such a sign, but Elges’ complaints “sped up the process.”

Deputy Chief of Police Ron Wilke said the signs will be moved to different parts of Lisle periodically, and at least one new sign probably will be placed first on Abbeywood Drive.

Elges is concerned that’s not enough.

“Both kids and drivers are distracted,” Elges said. “If the speed is too high, the likelihood of being injured is much higher as well.”

Elges said he even offered to buy a radar speed sign himself, so it could stay on Abbeywood Drive permanently.

Mayor Joseph Broda said if the village allowed residents to install their own signs, “We’d have signs all over that don’t meet statutes.”

The mayor said the area “doesn’t warrant” that kind of response.

“It’s only during rush-hour morning and evening that speed is a problem,” Broda said, adding police determined the average speed on Abbeywood is 31 mph, although he said some drivers “are going 45 mph.”

Wilke said officers made about 200 stops this summer that reduced the average speed about a mile an hour.

“I want the problem fixed,” Elges said. “Everyone I’ve spoken with has been very supportive once they understand the reason I’m out here.”

Elges said he attended seven different meetings, where he suggested reducing the width of the road or installing speed bumps or stop signs to keep drivers from exceeding the 25 mph speed limit.

Sprecher said the village trimmed landscaping to increase visibility, and bolstered police presence with a neighborhood walk and informational pieces in the neighborhood newsletter.

He said the village also looked into a stop sign to determine “whether or not it meets the national engineering traffic standards in terms of volume and where stop signs are appropriate. I don’t think it has met those standards.”

Broda called speed bumps “hazardous” and a problem for snow plows.

Despite hope that a new radar sign may help, Elges is not putting his protest sign away anytime soon.

“I would much rather be at home playing catch with my son, and that’s where I will be once the speeding problem has been resolved,” Elges said, “[I won’t be satisfied until all] the cars that drive up and down Abbeywood do not go 35 to 40 miles an hour.”

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