By Marney Simon | Enterprise Staff
The devices that help keep traffic in check will get an upgrade, thanks to an expense approved this month by village trustees.
On March 6, the Village Board said yes to new traffic counting devices.
“The black boxes that you see out on the roadways that are secured to the pavement in various areas actually help us do traffic studies,” said Director of Public Works Allen Persons. “In these boxes, they have batteries, and what they do, they are computer controlled, they can tell the size of the vehicle, the speed of the vehicle, what time the vehicle passed the counting device, the temperature and other conditions out there. Once our engineering staff gathers that information, they’ll bring it back to the office, they’ll download it in the computer, it generates reports, and it generates the traffic studies that the board utilizes to make decisions about traffic conditions throughout the community.”
The village has used a total of 11 units of this type for the past 10 years, however, those units are now too old to qualify for regular maintenance from the manufacturer, with outdated software, parts, and batteries.
The new units are the same type used by the Illinois Department of Transportation.
“Keep in mind, you’re putting a piece of computer equipment out on the roadway, that people run over on a regular basis,” Persons said. “They’re supposed to straddle it, but trust me, they do run these over occasionally, and they’re designed to take that type of abuse.”
Trustees were excited to make the upgrade, noting the importance of keeping traffic flowing through town.
“It’s a necessity,” said Trustee Bill Lamb. “Traffic is our biggest issue, we need to get true counts in order to keep pursuing things. So, we’ve got to stay on top of the technology.”
The board unanimously approved the expense.
The village will purchase 10 devices and related equipment for a total cost of $15,150.
New Street Lights
The board also approved a motion to purchase 326 LED light fixtures, as part of the US Communities Procurement program.
The program helps the village with paperwork and budgeting to replace aging lighting fixtures.
“In the past, we’ve replaced over 400 different street lights throughout the community,” Persons said. “When we started this program, the street lights were $1,200 a piece, and the color was actually kind of blue. It was a blue-white light, and we did have some calls and concerns about that… The goal was to get rid of the old mercury vapor lights, just with all the risks related to mercury, and the last report I read, we achieved that and we no longer have any mercury lights out in the community.”
The village maintains approximately 5,000 street lights throughout the community.
The new program will target the street lights in several neighborhoods, including Walker’s Grove, Nature’s Crossing, Riviera Estates, Heritage Meadows, and Water’s Edge.
Grant funds are also available to cover roughly 70 percent of the total cost of replacement.
The board approved an expenditure of $73,248 to replace those lights.
Green Region Plan
The board signed off on a resolution endorsing the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus Greenest Region Compact 2 plan.
The plan was developed by the Caucus to provide guidelines and best practices to advance stewardship, sustainability, and quality of life for member communities.
“This is an initiative that’s been advanced by the metropolitan Mayor’s Caucus,” said Director of Planning Jonathan Proulx. “This would unify some of the village’s environmental goals and initiatives, and would also provide us access to resources and support networks for sharing success strategies for advancing our environmental initiatives.”
The plan offers a framework to guide communities to assess their current environmental efforts, and develop a sustainability plan suited to local needs.
Animal Control Agreement
The board approved an intergovernmental agreement between the village and Will County for animal control services.
The agreement will allow the Plainfield PD to contact Wil County Animal Control as needed for animal complaints, for a cost of $100 per call out on weekdays, $150 per call out after hours, and $250 for emergencies.
The agreement will last three years.