Stop Signs and Traffic in a School Zones

As I have said in the past I tend to stay away from village level issues, unless it pertains to the School, or in this case the safety of the students in Schiller Park. At times village level issues tend to have an affect on the School, and I have always found it disturbing that people in positions of leadership would play these types of games with the education and safety of your children.

This brings us back to the flashing stop signs, and the traffic concerns in Schiller Park around our schools that seems to be getting worse yet still not being addressed.

I discussed the flashing stop signs in a post a short time ago, and the program that put them in place (Flashing Stop Signs). The short of it is that the flashing stop signs were installed as a federally funded program to add safety to the walking routes around our schools. Mayor Piltaver, and her staff worked to get this program put in place in Schiller Park for a reason that we hoped was the safety of children, with no political motivation. One of the signs was removed and replaced with a standard non-flashing version, and coincidentally that took place shortly after a petition was circulated to have them removed. A petition that oddly only gathered 25 signatures before action was taken.

Why was the stop sign removed? The original reason for the removal was that a sign at another location was not working, and the village pulled the sign from the corner of Scott and Eden to use as a replacement, and that the one at Scott and Eden would be replaced when a new one arrived. As of the Schiller Park School District 81 School Board meeting on January 18th 2017 it was reported that the lighted sign at Forster and Linn had still not been replaced with the sign removed from Scott, and Eden. As of yesterday January 26th 2017 the lighted sign at Forster and Linn was still not working, and the sign at Scott and Eden was still a standard non-flashing sign. What makes the Sign at Forster and Linn so important that a village president would feel the need to remove one sign to replace another that is not working. Then replace the removed sign with the replacement when it arrives? Why not simply leave the non-operating sign in place waiting for replacement? Or as an alternative theory maybe the sign at Scott and Eden was removed to please a complaining voter, and the story about using that as a replacement to a broken sign was simply back pedaling on a bad choice? (EDIT- I was told recently, but have not verified Yet that the village had a meeting to discuss issues with the School Signs, and traffic, and at another meeting the Mayor asked the Director of Public works to explain and back up her position to have the sign switched that he himself may not have ordered, in essence put the Director of Public works on the spot for something he did not order done. He has since resigned). If that were the case the choice to please a complaining resident took priority over a program the Mayor herself advocated for as an increase in child safety. Who is leading who in Schiller Park? The mayor or the voters?

Who is leading who in Schiller Park? The Mayor or the Voters? It’s my belief that neither are calling the shots, and let me explain why? We have an arguably thorny complainer in the Mayors ear about a stop sign that is located in front of his house, and is a blight on his life and to the community. He presents a single 25 person petition to the mayor and suddenly the sign is gone (Interesting to know that the person who circulated the stop sign petition also had a petition to stop the installation of speed signs, and he had a petition for the Mayor to run for re-election, campaign favor?). It has been reported that the remaining speed signs have been returned and will not be installed.

You also have a significant portion of the community complaining about speeding around the Schools, and busses for months if not years, and still no solution has been attempted. Yes flashing stop signs were installed, but the reports of severe speeding around all three schools continue with almost no enforcement at all. Other parents post to Social Media with complaint after complaint of difficulties with the new traffic arrangements at Kennedy School yet the village blames traffic control on the School, its procedures, and its staff. The standard passing of unloading School busses, and what has been described to me as “The Soreng Drag strip” by Lincoln Middle School have been problems for years. I have witnessed first hand the staff of all three of these schools often putting themselves at risk to try and deal with this issue, an issue that is 100% a village level issue, and not School District staff. How many children have been hit in Schiller Park? How many more have to get hit before the village president will stop pandering to campaign supporters, and listen to the voters? Because that seems to be who is actually in charge of Schiller Park, the Campaign supporters not the voters or the Mayor.

That is in fact what it looks like to me and many others. It gives the appearance that the Mayor of Schiller Park only cares what is best for the people who support her campaign. If you circulate one of her petitions you have her ear type of situation. These are very serious issues regarding the lives and safety of children at a minimum, but truly affect every person that lives in or passes through Schiller Park.

Stop governing based off of your supporters needs and start governing towards what the community needs.

Flashing Stop Sign

What happened to the flashing stop sign at Kennedy School in Schiller Park?

All I know is that it is gone. Poof, just as fast as they went up one of the new flashing stop signs near the villages schools just disappeared.

The “Safe Routes to School” initiative is a federally funded program designed to improve the safety of the children that walk to and from our schools. With the Village of Schiller Park receiving money to implement that very initiative. A collaborative effort between School District 81 and the village included purchasing solar illuminated stop signs and vehicle speed feedback signs designed to increase pedestrian safety around all of the village’s schools. Part of the initiative was completed a few months back and the stop signs have been helping remind motor vehicle operators in Schiller park that stopping at stop signs is not only the law, it involves the safety of children.

This “Safe Routes to School” initiative didn’t sit well with everyone, and despite the efforts by many to reduce the signs hours of operation one resident took it on himself to spearhead a campaign to stop the federally funded efforts to help keep the Children of Schiller Park safe. He circulated a petition to have the sign removed, attended village hall, and School Board meetings (Correction: He never attended School Board meetings on this subject). He indicated to some that the flashing of these stop signs disrupted his quality of life, and were a disruption to the community. On Wednesday January 11th I noticed that the flashing stop sign at the corner of Scott and Eden streets in Schiller Park was gone, and had been replaced by a standard none illuminated version. I am not sure exactly when it was replaced as I do not travel that route daily.

History of Safe Routes to School

The SRTS concept began in the late 1970s in Denmark over concern for the city’s pedestrian accident rate. The city implemented a number of improvements including a network of pedestrian and bicycle paths, slow speed areas, narrowed roads and traffic islands. The result was an 85 percent reduction in traffic injuries to children.

The first SRTS program in the United States began in 1997 in the Bronx borough of New York City. In August 2005, federal transportation legislation devoted $612 million for the federal SRTS Program from 2005 through 2009. In 2012, SRTS activities were eligible to compete for funding through the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) transportation bill.

Benefits of Safe Routes to School

SRTS programs can help reverse the downward trend in physical activity levels among children. Walking and bicycling to and from school can contribute towards the development of a lifelong habit of incorporating physical activity into daily routines. Children who walk to school are more physically active overall than those who travel to school by car. Among the benefits of successful SRTS programs are:

Reducing the number of children hit by cars.
-Reducing congestion around schools. Parents driving their children to school account -for 20 percent to 25 percent of morning rush hour traffic. (Source: NHTSA 2003; Dept. of Environment).
-Improving children’s health though physical activity.
-Reducing air pollution.
-Saving money for schools, through a reduction of the need for bussing children who live close to school.
-Improving community security by increasing eyes on the street.
-Increasing children’s sense of freedom.
-Teaching pedestrian and bicycle skills.

What does all this mean in Schiller Park?

First and foremost it means that at one point the safety of our walking School Children was important, but in reality not so important that the complaints of one seemingly never happy resident took priority over the previously mentioned safety of our school aged walking children.

One could also argue that the intersection of Scott and Eden has the highest volume of student foot traffic, more then any other intersection in the village. With over 800 students at nine years old or less attending Kennedy School it’s sad that the leadership of the village of Schiller Park (specifically the mayor) would put the unhappiness of one individual, and his very small petition above the safety of more then 800 students and remove a safety devise at arguably the most crowded school intersection in the village. It sends a very unfortunate message to the remainder of the population of Schiller Park.

In Schiller Park the squeaky wheel apparently gets all the oil. Even if it reduces the safety of children walking to and from Kennedy School.

 

Portions of this post taken from the following web sites:

http://www.idot.illinois.gov

http://www.saferoutesinfo.org

Get Your Heads Out Of Your @$$

image

Instead of being excited about the Kennedy expansion project because it is a good thing for the entire village of Schiller Park some people automatically assuming that taxes will be raised, and they comment to others based off of that alone. According to the financial lady with the MBA (Wendy) at the School District offices we will see a slight decrease in the SD81 part of our taxes. Why cant we be happy that an improvment is going to be made to the school that might raise the value of moving to Schiller Park, or possibly keep or attract more of the fantastic staff we already have. Modern Schools that provide a quality education help bring new families to town.

Many people scream and yell that the Mayor Piltaver isnt doing enough to grow Schiller Park, but with the needed improvements to grow a town that people say they want comes the cost of that development, but when the School District tries to do something to improve Schiller Park the minions come running screaming and yelling that its a disgrace to the tax payers and the sky is falling or what ever drama suits their needs, they can’t have it both ways. Its sad that the people like Roy F McCampbell, Korey Gibala-Krastev, Kathie Ewanio Janis, David Stachura, and a few others are so short sighted that they cant see through their own BS. This is a great thing for the entire town, not just the students or as Janis has said “the egos of the School Board and Administration”. If they stopped the hatred in their hearts for just one moment and opened their eyes they might see for themselves what is really happening and how good it really is for everyone.