The village of Riverside will spend about $116,000 to relocate a crosswalk in front of Central School and upgrade traffic signals both at that crosswalk and at the crosswalk located at the Woodside/Park Place/Kimbark intersection north of the Central/Hauser Junior High campus.
Riverside trustees voted on Dec. 1 to pay its engineering firm, Christopher B. Burke Engineering Ltd., to manage design and installation of the improvements, which will be completed in two phases.
Woodside Road between Akenside Road and Park Place is a somewhat complicated stretch. In addition to being a congested pick-up and drop-off point for two schools on days when classes are in session, the street is one-way going north during school hours.
While school personnel are out front directing students when to cross, the traffic signal in front of the schools are old, and the crosswalk itself empties into the driveway apron of a private home on the west side of the street. On the east side, the crosswalk ends at a full curb, not a ramp.
“You can’t dump a crosswalk into someone’s driveway anymore,” said Police Chief Thomas Weitzel. “And you can’t have a barrier curb, it has to be accessible.”
Plans call for the crosswalk in front of Central School to be shifted about 10 feet north of its present location. The move will place it in between two residential driveways on the west side of the street.
New sections of sidewalk will be built leading to ADA-compliant ramps on each end of the crosswalk. In addition, the plan calls for replacing the decades-old traffic signals with pedestrian pushbuttons and digital countdown signals.
The crosswalk work, including the installation of new traffic signals, is slated to be done during Riverside District 96’s spring break in 2017.
Six new LED traffic signals with pedestrian pushbuttons and countdown signals will also be located at the Woodside/Park Place/Kimbark intersection, along with new ADA-compliant crosswalks, including new sections of sidewalk and accessible ramps.
The traffic signals are scheduled to be replaced at the intersection during the school district’s winter break, said Village Manager Jessica Frances. Any concrete work will have to wait until the spring.
The Woodside/Park Place/Kimbark intersection can be confusing to drivers at times, especially motorists unfamiliar with Riverside. During school hours, a temporary sign halts southbound traffic onto Woodside Road, routing traffic onto either Lincoln Avenue or Park Place.
Even after school hours, it can be confusing to southbound drivers who may observe parked vehicles on the west side of Woodside, facing north – against the flow of southbound traffic.
Weitzel said that the signal lengths might be adjusted to make sure there’s enough time for pedestrians to traverse the two separate crosswalks leading from the east side of Woodside Road to the west side of Kimbark Avenue.
That particular intersection and traffic patterns on Woodside Road, Weitzel added, are being examined as part of a village-wide traffic study that’s been under way for months. A preliminary report resulting from that study likely will come before the village’s board of trustees in early 2017.