Anyone who has gotten used to turning onto Lionel Road from Ogden Avenue during the morning or evening rush hour will again face a ticket for doing so, after police ordered the no-turn signs to go back up last week.
Riverside Police Chief Thomas Weitzel directed that the signs be reinstalled after a clear majority of people who showed up at a Safe Environment Commission meeting on Oct. 18 said they wanted the no-turn rule enforced.
For the past five months, rush-hour turns have been permitted from eastbound and westbound Ogden Avenue between 7 to 9 a.m. and 4 to 6 p.m. Police ordered the signs taken down temporarily in June after nearly 50 residents of the area signed a petition asking for the law to be rescinded.
While overturning the law requires action by the village board, Weitzel was able to temporarily suspend the law’s enforcement on a trial basis and then revisit the decision in the fall.
Of the 20 or so people who testified at the Oct. 18 public hearing, said Weitzel, a clear majority wanted the law enforced. Weitzel said he also received nine emails from residents of Lionel Road and other nearby streets, overwhelmingly in favor of enforcing the law on the books.
As a result of the testimony, the signs went back up on Friday, Oct. 19.
Prior to the hearing, Weitzel said he received few complaints from residents about either accidents or additional traffic in the neighborhood as a result of the non-enforcement trial period.
However, that’s not the end of the discussion, according to Weitzel. There’s still a chance the Safe Environment Commission could recommend that the village board overturn the law.
The commission tasked Weitzel to perform a traffic study prior to its next meeting in November. Weitzel is to compile information about traffic accidents for the past year on northbound Harlem Avenue and eastbound and westbound Ogden Avenue to see how the law or its non-enforcement has affected crashes.
According to Weitzel, “several residents said they knew of or had been involved in accidents either on Harlem or eastbound Ogden.”
When the law has been enforced, motorists wishing to enter that section of Riverside must do so via Harlem Avenue at Blackhawk Road, forcing many of them to make a left turn from busy Harlem Avenue into Riverside.
On the flipside, when the law was not enforced, motorists could turn left from Ogden Avenue onto Lionel Road during heavier rush hour traffic.
“I hope to get the reports back to them by Nov. 15,” said Weitzel, who added that the study requires him to get crash data from both Berwyn and Lyons, which could slow down progress.
There is no date set yet for the next Safe Environment Commission meeting.