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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.

Following , Skokie residents have again taken up a petition to make crosswalks around safer.

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."

Earlier:

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."

 

You can check out and sign the petition online. Stay tuned for more news from Skokie Patch. Share your thoughts below or on Facebook.

h m May 29, 2012 at 03:41 PM
MaryN, As I have said previously in other post, I feel sad for the family that lost their child. You are also correct that people need to stop driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. But,why was an 8 year old child riding his bicycle almost a mile away from his home without being supervised by his parents/guardian? Do they not also have a responsibility for their child? Or do you think that the government should do everything for us. I am sorry, but as an individual, I believe I have a responsibility for my children. I was the one that chose to put them on this earth, not the government.
Leslie May 29, 2012 at 04:40 PM
HM the child was on a sidewalk. No amount of parental supervision would have changed these circumstances.
h m May 29, 2012 at 05:44 PM
Leslie, You are correct. The little boy was on the sidewalk. This tragedy should of never happened if it was not for the driver of the van being Under the Influence of Drugs and/or Alcohol. The only way to almost guarantee that nothing like this will happen again is to prohibit driving on Main Street. My concern with the whole thing is why was an 8 year old boy allowed to ride his bike almost a mile away from his home. A parent needs to take responsibility 24/7/365 without exception. I know that I personally would not let my child ride that far away from home until he was about 10 and just so you are aware, I have a 23 year old going to college. When they went oversees, unfortunately I was not with him. But I made sure that someone (grandfather) that would take responsibility for him was with them. If my dad was not going to go, he was not going oversees.
LK May 29, 2012 at 05:53 PM
The bottom line is that good signage around schools shouldn't even be up for discussion. We found the money for a state of the art police station as well as all the other buildings and services that Skokie provides. How anyone can drive by a police officer crossing adults in a well marked crosswalk in front of Village Hall and think that any of our kids deserve less? Carter's death is a tragedy for his family and our community. All the flashing lights in the world may not have prevented that accident. The fact that it happened by a school just highlights a deficiency that should be and needs to be addressed asap. I certainly hope that happens. In the meantime, we have lost a beautiful little boy with a great big smile. Let's show compassion for all those that are grieving and trying to cope with this loss.
Earl Weiss May 30, 2012 at 03:43 AM
" h m 9:36 am on Tuesday, May 29, 2012 Maybe you need to supply facts that are correct. On Dempster, between McCormick and Crawford there are 2 traffic lights, On Oakton & Main there are none. The distance between McCormick (2400 West and Crawford (3200 West) is 1 mile. " 1. There are 3 lights. St. Louis, East Prairie, and Hamlin. Some Numb Nuts decided we needed a light at Hamlin with another light 2 blocks in either direction. 2. McCormick is 3200 and Crawford is 4000. Still one Mile.
Earl Weiss May 30, 2012 at 03:48 AM
Having chhildren colectively involved in 20 years of enrolment at Middleton, I can say there is absolutley nothing wrong with the Main Street traffic configuration on Main and 4 way stop signs and anal retentive signs like Evanston has are not needed. Evanstons should be studied for what not to do. Like some of their signs, 25 MPH Citywide limit, Nuclear free zone $500 School zone speeding fines, overly restrictive on certain business hours, (OK, Skokie can provide a study of what not to do as well for several things. )
Earl Weiss May 30, 2012 at 03:50 AM
"LK 12:53 pm on Tuesday, May 29, 2012 . How anyone can drive by a police officer crossing adults in a well marked crosswalk in front of Village Hall and think that any of our kids deserve less? " They don't, and they don't get less. The school crossings have crossing guards and portable signs.
DS May 30, 2012 at 04:36 AM
To h m... To insinuate that Carter's death had anything to do with him being "unsupervised a mile from home" is ridiculous and offensive. He was on the sidewalk... block from his grandfathers home. he did nothing wrong. His parents and grandfather did nothing wrong. Bottom line, people drive way too fast on Main Street. I live on main street, and I have children at Middleton. What is the point in fighting against slowing dangerous traffic?!? Please.
DS May 30, 2012 at 04:42 AM
And furthermore, to Earl Weiss, they DO drive past the crossing guard. I've seen it happen more times than I can count. It's terrifying. Again, why fight against good people just wanting to slow traffic around our most vulnerable citizens?? That's simply absurd.
Earl Weiss May 30, 2012 at 11:51 AM
"DS Again, why fight against good people just wanting to slow traffic around our most vulnerable citizens?? That's simply absurd." What is absurd is how things have gone overboard. Stoplight at Hamlin & Dempster, crosswalk signs like weeds in Evanston, 25 mph citywide in Evanston, Poorly designed traffic calming on Lawler and Gross point leading to unneccessary traffic tieups every day. At least the Oakton project was scrapped.
LK May 30, 2012 at 02:19 PM
All of our schools do not have crossing guards and portable signs. Please check your facts.
Earl Weiss May 30, 2012 at 02:31 PM
"LK 9:19 am on Wednesday, May 30, 2012 All of our schools do not have crossing guards and portable signs. Please check your facts." Be happy to. I can drive by in the morning and check it out. Just tell me which ones. The discussion involved Middleton area. It does, as does McCraken, East Prairie, The one on Church near Central Park, Highland, The one on Crawford in Lincolnwood. If you are arguing for Crossing guards and temporary signs like Middleton uses, we are on the same page. If you think a school should have guards and doesn't, then you should motivate that school to change. Much simpler and easier than chnaging the Village. So, what school or schools does / do not have crossing guards?
KP May 30, 2012 at 04:35 PM
He was a block from his grandparents' house. That is why he was not near his own house. Since you seem so interested in "facts" why don't you get some information before attacking a family for their parenting?
Skokie Mom May 30, 2012 at 09:40 PM
How hard is it to just slow down. Not just in the school zone, but also along school bus routes. Our school bus stop for Middleton school only has a yield sign for our stop and that's in the direction the bus is going. Cars don't stop when the bus has stopped. Additionally there have been several accidents on that corner - evidence in the damage to the trees. Overall traffic control is poorly designed and needs to dissuade drivers from cutting through north/south streets to avoid Crawford traffic.
h m May 30, 2012 at 09:53 PM
Skokie Mom, If cars are not stopping for Busses that are letting kids on/off the bus and bus has there flashing lights on and the STOP sign is activated, it sounds like you need to get the Skokie police department involved. "Illinois law provides that the driving privileges of a person convicted of passing a stopped school bus will be suspended for three months for the first offense and one year for the second, if the second conviction occurs within five years. Additionally, the fine for a first conviction is $150 and $500 for a second or subsequent conviction." http://www.isp.state.il.us/media/pressdetails.cfm?ID=15
Leslie May 31, 2012 at 04:31 AM
I agree with SkokieMom My kids bus stop is on Main street on the Evanston side the cars don't stop for the bus and the police department is a JOKE. Have you ever tried getting a police officer to sit at a corner for 20 min? It doesn't happen. They can't even get the guys down the street to stop smoking and selling weed at all times of the day and night.
Matt Smith June 02, 2012 at 12:21 PM
HM, I'm reading your posts here, and I'm saddened at just how clueless and misguided you really are. To even for a moment suggest that what WE as Middleton parents are looking for REPLACES parental supervision suggests that you don't get out of your house very much or don't really live in the neighborhood. As you SHOULD have read, Carter was visiting at his grandfather's house at the time of the accident. This is a place he called home before he and his family moved into D69. This was a neighborhood that Carter knew well, so any suggestion of impropriety regarding parenting is WAY off base. Go quote Kennedy somewhere else, and in the proper context. When the parents ask, demand, plead for better signage, or ANYTHING that makes the streets safer, it is not so we don't have to do our jobs as parents, it is to HELP us in ways that we can not. Your narrowminded political views have no place here. Perhaps we should remove stop signs everywhere, or perhaps do away with crossing guards completely. Please do us a favor and go lay down on Main Street in front of Drake where our crossing guard has to take his life into his hands every single day. If you can have the stones to do that, don't criticize the parents for seeking REASONABLE methods to keep EVERYONE safe, even your sorry backside.
Matt Smith June 02, 2012 at 12:26 PM
Earl, if you think there's nothing wrong with Main Street, I invite you to go lay down at Main and Drake as well. Evanston and Morton Grove's approach is EXACTLY what is needed here. I'm appalled at you and Mr. Kennedy quoter for your cluelessness. Main Street is the damn Indy 500. Do us a favor, Earl... stay home and reminisce about the 'kinder, gentler' Main Street you remember in your dreams. Or...once again... I invite you to cross Main Street as some idiot barrels down the parking lane at about 45 mph.
Matt Smith June 02, 2012 at 12:28 PM
The Middleton crossing guard, Wayne, has repeatedly indicated how cars blow through his stop sign, and how unsafe it is. Should I mention that he is the THIRD Middleton crossing guard for the school year that just ended? This year has been especially dangerous...so dangerous that our original crossing guard, Ike, demanded to be transferred for his own safety. To those who are suggesting that everything is fine, get a damn clue.
Matt Smith June 02, 2012 at 12:30 PM
Earl, you are clearly the most clueless individual I have ever interacted with online. Your complaints about absurdity are the most ridiculous I've ever read.
Matt Smith June 02, 2012 at 12:39 PM
A perfect world would have Skokie police full time at each school. You and Mr. Weiss seem to have a problem with reasonable requests to modify traffic flow, how can you possibly even think about getting police involved. The issue here is that Main St. is totally unregulated. It's a 35 mile zone without the parking lane being prohibited from driving. Main St. is not a four lane road, it's a two lane road. What isn't being mentioned in any of these debates is that the woman who hit Carter was hit by one of those 'Main St. drivers" Because she was under the influence, she lost control of the car and did a complete U turn, drove up on the sidewalk, hit Carter, and another car. So, the reckless driving on Main St is partially to blame. The costs to narrow Main Street as they do in Evanston, or at least stripe off the parking lane as they do in Morton Grove when it turns into Lincoln, with the lowering of the speed limit to 25, and a stop sign at St. Louis, are perfectly reasonable. While we're focusing on the children here, note that this helps everyone: the elderly, and adults in general. Enough is enough. This isn't political. While my frustration is vented at those who disagree, the point here is that we do have a right to demand that the Village make the area safer. It is NOT a replacement for doing our jobs. We do have responsibilities as parents, but Main Street is the Wild West at times. It needs to stop NOW.
Earl Weiss June 02, 2012 at 01:31 PM
>>Matt Smith A perfect world would have Skokie police full time at each school.<< In a perfect world this would be unneccessary. >You and Mr. Weiss seem to have a problem with reasonable requests<< I have no problem with reasonable requests. >>without the parking lane being prohibited from driving. << As it should be, instead of the disasters created on Lawler by Niles North and Gross Point road from Main to Oakton. >> What isn't being mentioned in any of these debates is that the woman who hit Carter was hit by one of those 'Main St. drivers" Because she was under the influence, she lost control of the car and did a complete U turn, drove up on the sidewalk, hit Carter, and another car. So, the reckless driving on Main St is partially to blame. <<< No, the idiot driver is totally to blame. Nothing you describe would have prevented this tragedy. >>>the point here is that we do have a right to demand that the Village make the area safer. << The point is that there are trade offs everywhere. Cost isn't only measured in dollars.
Earl Weiss June 02, 2012 at 01:35 PM
>>Matt Smith 7:30 am on Saturday, June 2, 2012 Earl, you are clearly the most clueless individual I have ever interacted with online. Your complaints about absurdity are the most ridiculous I've ever read.<<< I'm happy that I have expanded your experince level.
h m June 02, 2012 at 04:12 PM
Matt Smith, Just so we sre clear, I grew up in Skokie. I have attended Jane Stenson, Sharp Corner, Devonshire, Cleveland, Oakview, and Niles East High School and I still live in Skokie. But you probably do not recognize most of theses Skokie schools.
Earl Weiss June 02, 2012 at 05:29 PM
" "Matt Smith Earl... stay home and reminisce about the 'kinder, gentler' Main Street you remember in your dreams. " I attended Highland for 7 years. Crossed Golf 2x each school day. A street busier than Main with the same or higher speed limit as Main, more lanes and same distance between lights. No problems. That's reality. I have lived 2 blocks North of Main for over 20 years with 4 kids crossing to go to Middleton, 5 years each. There is no dreaming involved.
Dr Joel A. Feder June 03, 2012 at 01:50 PM
This misfortune cannot to Solved with more signs or traffic guards. This tragedy was due to a drug hazed woman who should not have been driving. No amount of signage or personal could have prevented what she did. Throwing money money or planning time into this misfortune will solve nothing and probably inconvenience a lot more tnah it will benefit
MKP June 05, 2012 at 12:32 AM
Would it have stopped the taxi from hitting the school bus full of kindergarteners at the same intersection two days later?
Earl Weiss June 05, 2012 at 11:48 AM
" MKP Would it have stopped the taxi from hitting the school bus full of kindergarteners at the same intersection two days later? " Sadly, no. Signs, lines and curbs, even many walls as we have seen will not stop an errant driver. With the exception oif some sophisticated anti terrorism and restraining barriers no system exists that can perform this function. You could put people with Spike strips 500 feet from all crossings, ready to deploy them and it might work. Not very practical.
MKP June 08, 2012 at 04:51 PM
If there are two terrible accidents at the same intersection just two days apart, one would conclude that the intersection is probably dangerous. If that intersection is in front of a school, any invested citizen would and should act to improve it.
Earl Weiss June 08, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Anybody have a link to a report on the bus accident describing how it happened? Which vehicles traveling which way on which streets? How many accidents at this intersection in the last 30 years? Conclusions from coincidences and statistics are problematic. There is a town in England where the number of mesting storks coincides with the number of births. - true.

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