Illinois officials seek lower speed limit to protect residents

Residents of Chicago, Illinois, want to stay safe. This means avoiding motor vehicle accidents. In pursuit of that goal officials of Northbrook may go to court in order to force the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) to lower the speed limit from 40 mph to 30 mph on Waukegan Road between Dundee and Voltz roads.

Northbrook Village Board members contend that the higher speed limit is unsafe. They met with their legal team on June 27 on ways to get the speed limit lowered, despite IDOT documents that say that Waukegan Road isn't classified as a low-speed state road. According to the documents, the road is not in an urban district, only has low-density development in the area and has few curb cuts, so a lower speed limit is unnecessary.

IDOT said, in a letter to the village in 2016, that it doesn't view that stretch of Waukegan Road as a high-accident area. It acknowledged that the Dundee and Waukegan intersection is a high-accident area though. It said that signal improvements would help, affirming that those could increase visibility, but provided zero money for the improvements. Their unfunded recommendation wasn't enough for the Northbrook Village Board.

The road is west of District 28's Meadowbrook and Northbrook Junior High schools, which raises safety concerns for students. Many students ride bicycles, and a bicyclist was a victim of a hit-and-run at Waukegan and Walters Avenue. The police report of the incident said that the bicyclist was hit from behind, knocked into the air and landed 20 feet away. The car that hit the bicyclist was speeding.

One of the Northbrook Village Trustees lives near the Walters and Waukegan intersection. She describes it as very scary. Naturally, she and her colleagues want to make it safer. They view lowering the speed limit as part of that, and hope that their efforts will succeed in court to protect their local people from future accidents.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Northbrook intensifies quest to lower Waukegan Road speed limit," Irv Leavitt, July 03, 2017

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