Oak Park parents discuss crosswalk safety at Longfellow School meeting
OAK PARK — Discussion among parents, school and village officials continued Wednesday night on possible changes to improve the safety of Longfellow Elementary School’s perimeter.
About 20 people attended the hourlong meeting at the school.
They heard Village Engineer Jim Budrick say an additional step will be taken to increase safety at crosswalks near the school.
A crosswalk just east of South Cuyler Avenue along Jackson Boulevard will get a “stop for pedestrians” sign, Budrick said.
A similar sign already had been placed in the crosswalk just west of Cuyler in November, after a group of parents voiced concerns regarding the safety of the intersection for students.
That intersection northwest of the school is used by people walking to school as well as those being dropped off by car.
Buses also stop there.
Because having buses drop off and pick up at that intersection has added to congestion, Budrick said they’re looking to have school buses stop farther to the east, at Jackson and Highland Avenue. That would require a new opening in the school fence.
If that occurs, village employees would work with District 97 buildings and grounds staff to make cuts in the fence along Jackson, install sidewalks to the curb and have that area ready for use in spring, he said.
Other proposed changes include increasing no parking areas on the south side of Jackson near the crosswalks, and changing parking on Highland in front of the school’s main entrance from no parking during school hours to restricted time parking during school hours.
Parent Maria Kunigk also expressed concern with the safety of Van Buren Street and South Cuyler, another spot where students cross to get to school.
Budrick said traffic on South Cuyler is required to stop, but they scould propose making it an all-way stop.
The next step, Budrick said, is to send information on the proposed changes to residents living near the school and hold a similar meeting in January to address their questions.
From there, any changes would be brought before the village’s transportation commission before being voted on by the village board.
Though the sign has helped, Kunigk said drivers aren’t stopping for pedestrians at Jackson and South Cuyler unless police are present.
Oak Park Police Officer Mark Scott said he’s stationed near the intersection during high-traffic times if he’s not on another assignment.
Sgt. Dave Jacobson said they’ve stopped a number of cars at Jackson and South Cuyler, and frequently written citations for things like drivers passing stopped school buses.