Brookfield residents who want village officials to address traffic safety and parking problems they may be encountering on a regular basis have a new place to lodge their complaints.
On April 24, the Brookfield Village Board voted unanimously to create a new Traffic and Safety Committee comprising staff from the police and fire departments, public works, community development and the village manager’s office.
The new committee replaces the former Public Safety Commission, an advisory panel of citizen volunteers who met sporadically to address issues like stop sign and speed limit requests.
The commission had not met for many years, with the most recent meeting appearing to be in 2015 to address traffic concerns during pickup and drop-off times at Hollywood School.
Police Chief Michael Kuruvilla proposed the staff committee as a more efficient way to handle requests from residents and address them more quickly.
“This is a matter that for myself and the police department, it comes across my email and my desk on a fairly common basis – the concerns for traffic safety and/or resident parking-related matters,” Kuruvilla told elected officials at their discussion of the committee at their April 10 committee of the while meeting.
On their own, police often respond to citizen complaints, such as motorists speeding on side streets or ignoring stop signs, by ordering traffic enforcement details to deter those behaviors. They can also do targeted parking enforcement to drive away people regularly ignoring restrictions.
However, Kuruvilla said, those traffic and parking details are sometimes just temporary solutions – once police end their details the same problems begin to creep back.
“There exists a need for the application of analytical and objective methods to review requests for, and modifications to, traffic signals, signage, striping and other traffic controls,” Kuruvilla wrote in a memo to the village board, “and to review traffic studies, new roadway requests, traffic calming ideas and regional transportation plans, and to examine other traffic and transportation issues pertaining to pedestrians, bicycles, rail and others.”
While the village’s Public Safety Commission was an avenue for those discussions, Kuruvilla said, village staff had immediate access to data and a greater understanding of the problems than the commission members, who rarely convened.
Kuruvilla used as an example of a resident request, a plea at a recent village board meeting from two women who live on Prairie Avenue for the village to introduce traffic calming measures there due to persistent speeding.
The committee would handle two kinds of requests, traffic control and residential parking. Residents can continue to make complaints and requests by emailing Kuruvilla at email@example.com, through the village help desk at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the police non-emergency line at 708-485-8131.
If an issue requires more than traffic details to solve, the committee will convene to analyze data, including ordering traffic engineering studies, if needed, and then come up with a solution that could require a new village ordinance.
“The purpose of this is to make it a more comprehensive process by having stakeholders in all the village departments approach this collectively,” Kuruvilla told the Landmark. “The intention is that it’s an evidence-based, professional approach.”