With the Riverside Plan Commission unanimously shooting down a proposal to allow Riverside-Brookfield High School to place an electronic sign at the corner of Ridgewood and Golf roads, if this issue ever does get to the village board, trustees should simply follow suit.
While the school argues that it makes more sense to place the sign at that corner, it actually makes more sense – from a community information distribution standpoint – to place the sign where one has long stood, at the corner of Ridgewood Road and First Avenue.
What goes on at the high school is not just for high school families, but for the community at large. School families have a raft of sources of information on events going on at the school, while the general population has access to very few. That sign – which gives people information on everything from when school is in session to special events to significant student achievements – is a very prominent one.
We agree that the Ridgewood/Golf location is also wrong from a safety perspective. That particular intersection is a complex one, with two offset streets meeting there. And there’s an additional cutoff from Golf to Ridgewood to add to the mix.
The last thing that corner needs is a lighted sign to distract drivers and pedestrians, especially during busy drop-off and pick-up hours at the school.
Finally, the village’s plan commission spent months amending Riverside’s sign ordinance – at RBHS’ request – to accommodate a lighted sign at the corner of First and Ridgewood.
A good part of the thinking that went into the final draft included a conscious decision to limit these kinds of signs throughout Riverside. One of the principal considerations for such signs is that they be located on one of the village’s few arterial streets, like First Avenue.
Turning around and creating a variance for a sign at Golf and Ridgewood sets a bad precedent – one we’re guessing other institutions, like St. Mary School and District 96, might welcome.
The plan commission never wanted lighted signs within residential districts, and allowing the sign at Golf and Ridgewood would have opened the door to allowing them.
While there still might be some opposition from neighbors to any kind of lighted sign at Riverside-Brookfield High School, the village’s code does allow them in the location the high school originally targeted.
We support moving forward with such a sign at Ridgewood and First, one that would replace the rather shabby, old-fashioned one at the location presently.