How Mount Prospect is trying to make it easier to cross downtown streets

 
Updated 1/17/2019 11:43 PM
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  • Mount Prospect is launching a plan to improve pedestrian crossing in the village's downtown, in part through the use of smarter signals.

      Mount Prospect is launching a plan to improve pedestrian crossing in the village's downtown, in part through the use of smarter signals. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

Crossing the street in downtown Mount Prospect can be a challenge.

The village is trying to make it less so by improving crossing signals at three intersections: Northwest Highway and Main Street; Emerson Street and Main Street; and Main Street and Prospect Avenue.

The village board this week hired Sam Schwartz Engineering, at a cost not to exceed $79,400, to conduct a series of design and engineering tasks to launch those upgrades.

The work, funded from the village's motor fuel tax and Community Development Block Grant funds, will include preparing construction plans, timing pedestrian signals with traffic signals, assisting with construction bids, and overseeing and inspecting construction once it begins.

Although there are pedestrian crossing signals there now, Public Works Director Sean Dorsey said they can stop traffic along both Northwest Highway and Main Street when somebody just wants to cross Northwest Highway.

"So it will be a more intelligent interaction with the intersection," he said of the planned upgrades.

Dorsey said the improvements will need to be coordinated among such agencies as the Union Pacific railroad, the Illinois Commerce Commission and the Illinois Department of Transportation.

"There is a great deal of engineering, and it is kind of complicated," he said.

Mayor Arlene Juracek said the current arrangement at the intersections is "so confusing."

"You're not quite sure if you should be pushing the button, because it's sort of at an angle. and it's like, 'Why am I going to push the button to affect Emerson when I really want to cross Northwest Highway?' I think this will make it a whole lot clearer," she said.

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