Letter to the Editor: Unhappy With Traffic Study, Prince Street Closure
Traffic study conducted during low-traffic times, resulting in inaccurate data.
I read the announcement of the Village of Downers Grove's decision to vacate the right of way for Prince Street to accommodate Community School District 99's expansion of Downers Grove North High School in the Downers Grove Patch article of Jan. 5.
As a resident in the immediate area affected by the Prince closure, there are a host issues that have not been properly addressed concerning the traffic study and proposed use of the land by the School District.
The first traffic study only covered the hours from 7 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 4 p.m., a time period during which Grant and Prince adjacent to the school is already closed to traffic. There will be no impact seen during this time period, because the Prince right-of-way is already closed to traffic. During the Village Traffic Commission meeting on November 7th, several neighbors were present to voice concerns.
This resulted in a second traffic study focused on the evening hours from 5 to 7 p.m. I have not been able to review the results of this study, but the study was performed on a Tuesday, which is typically the least active evening and late enough in the school year that most extracurricular activities were in transition. Monitoring a single evening during some of the least active days of the year is simply not representative of what the future might bring.
In addition, one factor that has been completely ignored, if not avoided, is the fact that the School District has hired a Facilities Event Manager as of October (a new position), to increase the usage of both campuses. This means far higher traffic volume during non-school hours, particularly in the spring, summer and fall. All of this happening in the front yards of those in the Prince, Grant, Saratoga area.
Other claims by the School District regarding improving safety for the students are also questionable. The new school bus loading arrangement is actually less safe than the current approach. The new arrangement requires all of the students walk between buses and also blocks visibility of half of the bus doors from safety monitors. It is specifically recommended against by by the National Safety Council in the Planning School Sites for School Bus Safety as well as The School Site Planner, published by the Public Schools of North Carolina State Board of Education. Without specific guidelines from the State of Illinois, must we look to others to ensure the safety of our students?
If you or your readers would like to understand our concerns and arguments, you are invited to visit our ongoing blog at: http://dgnimprovements.blogspot.com/