Traffic safety on Keeler Avenue between Berteau and Cullom has been a concern for some time. Until recently, it was part of the 38th Ward.
The block is both a single family residential area and a dropoff and pickup area for Belding Elementary School, a situation which creates congestion and conflicts in many neighborhoods. The situation is much more complicated on Keeler, because it also serves as access to the expressway. Unfortunately, some drivers going to and from the expressway go faster than they should. Drivers picking up and dropping of their children can sometimes be rushed and will ignore traffic signs and regulations. Stop sign compliance is low at the intersection, with incidents of drivers not obeying traffic regulations as they go around the traffic circle.
Shortly after the transition to the new ward boundaries this year, a mother and two children were injured by a car. Alderman Margaret Laurino knew she had to act quickly, but she also wanted to make sure any action was well planned and well considered. She met with Principal Heather Yutzy and representatives from the Chicago Police Department and Chicago Police Department. Because of those meetings, the following actions were taken:
- Belding formed a volunteer Parent Patrol to increase compliance with traffic rules. The Police and Department of Transportation will work with the school to give the Patrol proper training.
- The Department of Transportation brought its educational programs to the school to teach students about safety.
- To improve crosswalk visibility, crosswalks were upgraded to the new continental crosswalk standard, and the stop line paint was refreshed.
- To improve sightlines, new “No Parking” corner clearance signs were installed.
- Traffic circle signs with directional arrows were installed to highlight the correct direction to navigate the circles.
- “All Way” markers were installed under “Stop” signs. The minimum heights were verified, and posts were replaced as needed.
- Alderman Laurino worked with the Department of Transportation to replace outdated and missing signage throughout the neighborhood.