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Western Springs Poll: Ogden Crosswalk a Plus?

You tell us: is the new, updated crosswalk across Ogden Avenue to Bemis Woods a great solution, or are there too many issues with it?

( results: of 348 respondents, 60 percent [210] favored a park or open land in Timber Trails Unit II, 29 percent [103] wanted a nine-hole golf course, 6 percent [21] wanted a housing development and 4 percent [14] thought of something else entirely.)

Even if you haven't yet used the revamped Ogden Avenue crosswalk to reach Bemis Woods, you've probably at least driven through it and noticed the signage and lights. So what's your call?

From comments on our , it seems like there are three schools of thought about the changes: it's either a long-overdue solution, a flawed step in the right direction or a disaster just waiting to happen.

So we're putting it up to a poll! Improving this crosswalk has been a topic of discussion for at least as long as Patch has been in Western Springs, and now that it has finally come to fruition, is it helping, hurting or somewhere in-between?

And as always, please leave a comment explaining your choice! Got any interesting stories about the crosswalk thus far?

janet Dahl July 09, 2012 at 12:57 PM
This is not really a crosswalk alternative to Wolf, which is a dangerous intersection with sidewalk dead ends and turning lights. It is an attempt to help bike riders and forest preserve hikers get safely across to use the Bemis Woods trails. No light could be installed due to county road restrictions. (too close to Wolf) The Village worked with the county and the forest preserve to effectuate this, and it was in response to bike riders and Village residents. The strobing light gives notice to oncoming cars. Some enforcement and "training" of motorists and pedestrian/bike users will add to the safety net. My husband was almost killed there every time he crossed on his bike. He says "thanks" to Western Springs for three years of work.
Katherine July 09, 2012 at 03:06 PM
I wish I could vote for two options as it is really: A step forward, but it's likely to cause more trouble or danger than it fixes.
Darren McRoy July 09, 2012 at 04:14 PM
I have to admit, results so far on the poll are surprising to me! Perhaps someone should bring their concerns about this to the Board, or at least ask for some answers?
Oscar Madison July 09, 2012 at 06:40 PM
It's very unusual to see a crosswalk like this at a non-intersection across a busy four lane roadway. This morning at about 6:30, the lights activated for pedestrians crossing from Bemis Woods south across Ogden. The westbound vehicles in the lane next to the curb slowed and stopped, and the pedestrians started to cross--except the westbound vehicles closest to the center line did not slow or stop, and the pedestrians were left standing in the trafficlane (waiting for cars to stop), with their vision obstructed by the cars that did stop. It's a mess. I don't understand why pedestrians and bicylists can't be re-directed to cross at the Ogden/Wolf intersection, at a traditional crosswalk that motorists are used to. The stoplights there can be programmed to allow people to cross safely. Short of a costly pedestrian underpass or overpass, or an additional traffic signal, I think it's the best option.
Mouse July 09, 2012 at 06:45 PM
More money wasted by Western Springs. Almost nobody obeys (or even sees for that matter...they are too low) the flashing lights and there is zero enforcement of the state law regarding pedestrians in crosswalks. But I'm sure someone got a nice little paycheck installing it all.
Erik Bloecks July 10, 2012 at 12:31 AM
I seems like any traffic signal is only a suggestion for some drivers. They only care about where they are going and don't care about the people the encounter along the way.
Darren McRoy July 10, 2012 at 12:34 AM
It does seem unusual that it's sort of in the middle of everything and not at a light. There's another somewhat like it on 47th in La Grange, but 47th isn't a state highway. Wonder why they can't put it at Wolf. I actually do not know at this point.
Mouse July 10, 2012 at 03:40 PM
Someone *died* at that spot on 47th in La Grange, and vehicles still zip through and ignore the crosswalk. The only thing that's going to change driver attitudes is some intense enforcement with meaningful fines. Right now, nothing is done except to put up some signs and lights and walk away.
Darren McRoy July 10, 2012 at 04:17 PM
Police do enforce that spot in La Grange... I know because I got pulled over there once! (shame, shame!) The officer helpfully reminded me of the limit and I've been fastidiously careful ever since.
Mouse July 10, 2012 at 06:16 PM
I'm talking about the "stop for pedestrians in crosswalk" law, not the speed limit.
J. Geoff Rove July 10, 2012 at 11:25 PM
So Stever is a Forest Preserve patron, interesting.
J. Geoff Rove July 10, 2012 at 11:29 PM
Why does Wolf Rd. have STOP signs at the RR tracks instead of stop lights ?? People, look at Westmont and Downers Grove. The stop lights help clear traffic alot faster after a train leaves. I'm sure there's some kind of historical reason for the stop signs, but we're in 2012 not 1912.
Erik Bloecks July 11, 2012 at 09:39 PM
I think the reason is that they are afraid a Traffic light will bring more traffic. Some poeple avoid driving through WS on Wolf Rd because of the Stop sign. Due to the Afternoon Commute you can wait for almost a half an hour to get across the tracks. A traffic light will also help cars on Burlington and Hilgrove to get across Wolf.
Cindy July 12, 2012 at 09:44 AM
I noticed the tree in front of the light on the north side of Ogden partially blocks the light. It would be a good idea to trim the branches .
KATHY G July 12, 2012 at 02:58 PM
Wouldn't a simple "bike path" along Ogden (or heaven forbid a sidewalk) leading from Wolf to Bemis Woods be the cheapest and safest measure? It seems the light at Wolf is sufficient to cross with but the concern was the length between Wolf and the entrance to the Forest Preserve would be actually in a traffic lane. Clarendon Hills Road is not as busy, however, they recently installed the "bike lane" and it seems to work well. Westmont uses the flashing light/ped crosswalk on Cass near the tracks but again, not nearly as busy or with the speeds that accompany Ogden. Am I too naive to think a bike lane would work along Ogden?
Darren McRoy July 12, 2012 at 03:28 PM
The problem is that that is not Western Springs land on the north side of Ogden Avenue--it's Cook County Forest Preserve land. And Cook County doesn't really have a lot of spare money to throw around right now for crosswalk improvements.
Darren McRoy July 12, 2012 at 03:29 PM
(Apologies, a sidewalk.) And a bike path would be an IDOT thing, I believe, since they control Ogden/34. There's a lot of bureaucratic crosstalk involved--it took forever just to do this crosswalk.
KATHY G July 12, 2012 at 05:42 PM
Thank you for the insight! I just hope that it will not take a horrific event like on 47th street to make a safer alternative and of course any help is always an improvement and appreciated!
David Weaver August 11, 2012 at 03:08 PM
I find it hard to believe that our government officials actually believe they have installed a safer alternative to playing "dodge traffic" on Ogdon Ave. It only takes one uninformed/careless driver to cause a real tragedy. Perhaps those who harbor a suicide wish will cross at the new blinking light Ogden speedway crossing. I believe, and cost what it will, we need to replace the blinking lights with a real push button operated stoplight.
Dell August 11, 2012 at 06:15 PM
I think without the option of a push-button stoplight, this project probably should have been put on hold and should definitely be re-evaluated now that safety issues are being raised.

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