A village-wide speed limit of 25 mph? How about 20 mph?
Might Delaplaine Road become a designated “collector” route, inviting federal dollars for improvement but also the potential for more traffic and fewer stop signs? How about turning Riverside Road-Miller Road into the only designated “collector” route on the village southeast end?
How much do residents and officials want to limit cut-through traffic? Could doing so possibly limit access to a central business district that officials are trying to revitalize? What do people think about marking roadways to indicate bike routes?
Those are just some of the questions that members of the Riverside Village Board will wrestle with over the next couple of months after receiving a set of preliminary findings from a village-wide traffic study conducted last fall.
A link to the traffic study can be found in the “Trending in Riverside” section on the village of Riverside’s webpage (www.riverside.il.us). It can be directly accessed at www.riverside.il.us/DocumentCenter/View/1200.
During a more than two-hour discussion of the subject at their meeting on Jan. 19, trustees became acquainted with a number of preliminary recommendations from a consultant hired to do the study, some of them easy and obvious to implement, some perhaps surprising.
The village board commissioned the study, which was completed by the Rosemont-based transportation consulting firm KLOA Inc., in part over concerns about cut-through traffic and motorists speeding along the village’s winding streets, particularly in the Barrypoint/Fairbank area on Riverside’s south end.
The study also appeared to dispel some widely held beliefs about traffic and vehicle speeds in certain areas of the village.
And even though construction along First Avenue may have increased the numbers of vehicles cutting through the village to avoid the backups there, the preliminary report indicated that traffic counts and speeds on residential streets were generally within typical ranges.
There were four routes where traffic volume exceeded typical ranges, according to the report. Those were Delaplaine Road, Akenside Road, Northwood Road and the Riverside/Miller/Lionel corridor.
Michael Werthmann, the KLOA principal who delivered the report at the Jan. 19 board meeting, said that traffic volume on Akenside and Northwood was just over what’s considered typical ranges for residential streets, and likely due to schools being located in those areas.
But the traffic volumes on Delaplaine and Riverside/Miller/Lionel indicated that those routes perhaps ought to be redesignated as “collector” routes, since they essentially perform that way. Collector routes are defined as roads that handle generally higher traffic counts and are designed to move traffic through an area more efficiently.
Werthmann also suggested reclassifying Addison Road – now designated as a “collector” – to a residential street, which its traffic counts would indicate.
The study identified the busiest street in the village to be Woodside Road during both the morning and evening rush hours. The busiest routes through Riverside also originate at Woodside Road, which connects with 31st Street and Desplaines Avenue, and terminating at Miller Road. The second busiest route was identified as beginning at Forest Avenue, which connects to First Avenue, to Miller Road.
The study indicates that motorists using those routes traverse the downtown area in making those trips, which could be beneficial to a business district looking for new life.
“While you do have cut through, the volumes are sort of reasonable and typically within those national standards, so question sort of is, what is the opinion of the board of cut through [traffic]?” Werthmann asked. “Does the cut through help your downtown? Does it bring more eyeballs through? How much do we want to stop that?
“If we’re OK with the volume of traffic, can we work to kind of slow that traffic down and calm the traffic? Is that an alternative that the board wants?”
The study also identified some quick, relatively low-cost solutions for addressing pedestrian and bicycle safety. In the former category, Werthmann recommended replacing mid-block crosswalks and long, diagonal crosswalks, replacing them with end-of-block, perpendicular, high-visibility crosswalks.
To prompt motorists to watch for bicycle traffic, the report suggests such solutions as “sharrows” – markings depicting a bike and an arrow – on the pavement or more noticeable bike route signage.
While Fairbank Road residents complaining of speeders suggested speed bumps and other barrier-type traffic calming devices to slow vehicles down, the traffic study doesn’t recommend using those solutions, though that decision ultimately would be up to the village board.
Werthmann said that if the village board were to try out such solutions that they be installed perhaps on a temporary basis in residential streets, not collector routes.
In the meantime, Village President Ben Sells asked residents to provide input via phone or email to trustees and village staff. The village board will be sorting through the study to identify and implement solutions over the next couple of months.