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Elmhurst residents share continued concerns about cut-through North Avenue traffic

The Elmhurst City Council unanimously passes an amendment Sept. 5 that extends the hours during which right turns onto Glade Avenue from North Avenue are prohibited.
The Elmhurst City Council unanimously passes an amendment Sept. 5 that extends the hours during which right turns onto Glade Avenue from North Avenue are prohibited.

ELMHURST – Glade Avenue residents continue to have concerns about safety on the blocks just south of North Avenue, where a revised traffic sign has been placed further restricting the hours during which eastbound drivers can turn right onto the street.

However, cars continue to violate the signage despite the Elmhurst Police Department's enforcement efforts.

Damon Mooren, a resident of the 200 block of North Glade Avenue who hosted a driveway meeting Aug. 7 with nearby residents and aldermen Bob Dunn and Norman Leader, said he's frustrated with the city's reaction, which he perceives to be slow.

"I don't want to believe this, but I think that they were like 'OK, we'll throw up a sign and if we just wait long enough, people will go away.' I don't want to believe that that is the actual case and that's what they're actually doing, but that's what it feels like," Mooren said. "We're not going to go away. This is concerning our children. It's concerning our neighborhood and the safety of our kids, and we're not just going to be quiet on the issue. We're going to push, and I'm going to continue to push them to get the answers that we need."

Residents also are trying to get the city to make a crosswalk on West Avenue and Third Street, Mooren said.

"They are going at a snail's pace, it feels like, which is extraordinarily frustrating when we have young children... It's literally like playing Frogger and avoiding traffic and cars that are flying and have no regard and no respect and no sense of concern for safety for people who are crossing the road," he said.

Dunn said Oct. 3 that the city has been measuring traffic on the street, and officials are being "very deliberate" about safety efforts for the proposed crosswalk, as they don't want a child to mistakenly run across the crosswalk without it being safe to do so.

There also will be a study about six months from now to determine if cut-through traffic has reduced, he said.

Dunn said there hasn't been progress by the residents on their proposal for adding sidewalks on Glade Avenue.

"That has not moved forward at all, and that's completely up to them. ... I would love for them to have [a sidewalk]," Dunn said.

City Engineer Kent Johnson confirmed in an email Oct. 4 the city has not received a formal petition from Glade Avenue residents for consideration of new sidewalks.

"We have talked to a few of them about the City's process for new sidewalk installation and provided an example petition, but we have not received anything official showing support of any sidewalks to date," Johnson said in the email.

Residents are in the process of obtaining the signatures needed for the sidewalk petition, Mooren said.

Mari Saenz, a resident of the 100 block of North Glade Avenue, said some residents don't want to sign the petition. She thinks the city should pay for installation of the sidewalks since the city "hasn't been able to do or doesn't want to do anything to help with that cut-through traffic," she said.

In the meantime, Elmhurst police officers have been enforcing the signage, which restricts right turns from eastbound North Avenue to southbound Glade Avenue from occurring between 6 and 9 a.m. and 2 and 6 p.m., Deputy Chief of Police Administration and Investigations Michael McLean said.

"We're committed to being out there for the residents of Glade," McLean said.

Depending on officers' schedules, at least one squad car is enforcing that signage virtually every day, and sometimes there are as many as three squad cars there, he said.

Mooren confirmed there have been as many as three cars on the block.

There were about 10 citations per day in the first two weeks after Sept. 11, and in the two weeks after that, there were about five citations per day. McLean said it will take some time to educate drivers on the signage, and the department is hopeful progress will continue.

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