The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) wants to purchase three one-hundredths of an acre from Riverside-Brookfield High School to build a right-turn lane on southbound First Avenue at Ridgewood Road.

At its Oct. 22 meeting the District 208 school board authorized school officials to begin negotiations with IDOT.

The land is just east of the school building, near the intersection of First Avenue and Ridgewood Road. Negotiations over price to be paid for the small piece of land have yet to begin, District 208 superintendent Kevin Skinkis said.

The west curb line of First Avenue will have be moved about two feet west toward the school, and the width of the lanes of First Avenue will be narrowed from 12 feet wide to 11 feet wide to accommodate the dedicated right turn lane and serve as a traffic calming measure for vehicles approaching the intersection.

The District 208 school board and others, including Riverside resident Randy Brockway, who has called for increased pedestrian and bicyclist safety measures in the area, would like to eventually see a multi-use path along First Avenue from North Riverside to RBHS to provide students from North Riverside a safe and convenient way to get to school without a car.

Plans currently call for an eight-foot wide gravel multipurpose path to be built just west of First Avenue from Parkview Avenue to just north of the RBHS fieldhouse.

If the new right turn lane is built, RBHS’ electronic sign at the corner of First Avenue and Ridgewood Road will have to be moved. Two street lights at the intersection also will have to be moved.

On Nov. 6, IDOT will kick off its Road Safety Audit of the intersection, the result of a request from Brockway to ensure that the final improvements fully address safety concerns.

Brockway has called for a raised concrete island in the middle of First Avenue to serve as a safe haven for pedestrians crossing the wide state highway. IDOT and Riverside officials have recommended against the idea, since it would involve more land acquisition, including forest preserve property.

The Road Safety Audit team will present its findings to IDOT and village officials at a meeting at 1 p.m. on Nov. 7 at the Riverside Township Hall, 27 Riverside Road.

—Bob Skolnik