Middleton Crosswalk Petition Raises Bigger Safety Questions
Residents are also asking the Village to revisit every Skokie school zone and increase signage and other traffic slowing techniques.
The initiative has been started by Melina Kelson, who managed a similar petition in the fall. After Kelson and several others collected 200 signatures by going door-to-door around October, they presented the document to the mayor. Within 48-hours of the newer petition, Kelson said they've received 100 signatures.
"In the fall they ended up doing a traffic study—the village was thorough and responsive; however they didn't give us everyting we requested," Kelson told Patch. Authorities put in signage that was smaller and less distinctive, according to Kelson. "We had wanted these huge white signs that say 'stop here for pedestrians' that you see throughout Evanston," she said, "We didn't want the signs eveyrone has already learned to tune out."
As a result, this time around the demands are greater and parents, as well as school officials are hoping for a thorough assessment of all school and park crosswalks in Skokie.
"The first petition didn't really do much at all to effect traffic," said James McNelis, President of the School Board for Skokie District 73.5, "What I learned is that if you want traffic to stop you have to ask them to stop traffic."
Stopping traffic this time around involves requesting four-way stop signs around all schools in Skokie and narrowing lanes at Main Street before Middleton, in addition to the extra signage.
"Main Street has no stop lights, or stop signs from McCormick Boulevard all the way to Crawford Avenue, about a mile and a half stretch, where as Oakton Street and Dempster Street have two stop lights." Kelson said.
She argues the need for such signage is greater along Main Street, a more residential road than Oakton and Dempster.
"What happens is a lot of commuters use it as a cut-through street to go faster than dempster, etc." she added.
As signatures get collected, school district officials have been working to coordinate a special meeting with the village manager and others to discuss safety issues.
In the meantime, McNelis said they will deliver their message at the next village trustee meeting. "I think they're going to listen, and that's a good thing." McNelis said.
And as the safety discussion grows, Kelson said she's surprised at how people from all over Skokie are expressing similar concerns about their children getting to school.
"This isn't unique to Middleton School. . . it seems to be a Skokiewide issue." she said "Skokie needs to reframe its position on handling our children's safety."