By Andrea Earnest | Enterprise Staff
At its April 25 committee of the whole workshop, the Plainfield Village Board heard the results of a traffic study on 135th Street.
Civil engineering firm Baxter & Woodman started the study earlier this year. Director of Public Works Allen Persons said the firm collected data on pedestrian use and road capacity, and suggested possible improvements.
Tara Orbon, of Baxter & Woodman, gave a presentation about the traffic study, which focused primarily on the intersection of 135th Street and Route 59.
The study looked at peak-hour traffic during the a.m. and p.m. rush hours. The morning rush hour at the intersection was determined to be 7:15-8:15 a.m. and the evening rush was 5:30-6:30 p.m.
Orbon gave an overview of three alternative options to alleviate issues at the intersection. These options included adding a northbound and southbound right turn lane on Route 59, constructing eastbound and westbound right turn lanes on 135th Street, or installing right turn lanes on both streets.
Orbon added that the street has bike paths and sidewalks, but there aren’t any crosswalks.
“The village would be able to add crosswalks across Route 59, without impacting the storage [buildings],” she said.
Trustee Margie Bonuchi asked if a crosswalk might make the situation worse, because it would encourage people to cross there.
Plainfield police Sgt. Eric Munson said the intersection is a complicated situation.
“There’s a lot of potential conflict going on,” he said, adding that if you factor in a pedestrian or a driver who isn’t paying attention, it could be bad.
Trustee Jim Racich said he liked the study and valued what the board was trying to do.
“If you value your life, I couldn’t even imagine trying walk across Route 59,” he said, adding that drivers are not always aware of pedestrians.
Red Light Camera Program
Munson followed up the 135th Street discussion by outlining the red light safety program, which began in 2007.
There is one red light camera at Route 59 and 135th Street.
Munson showed a series of videos to the board, in which the camera caught drivers going through red lights, as well as causing several accidents and avoiding “near misses.”
In January 2010, the village had three cameras go live. The cameras were at north and southbound Route 59 and 135th, and westbound Route 30 and Renwick Road.
The Route 30 camera was taken down for construction and will not be reinstalled, according to Munson. He added that Plainfield only enforces straight through red light violations, which means drivers are not ticketed for turning right when the light is red.
Munson also described the process that the camera images go through. First, the image will go to the operator of the cameras, and they will forward it to police if there is a violation. Police then review the images and, if approved, notify the offender.
Since the inception of the program, only three vehicles have run the red light at 135th and Route 59 and caused a crash.
“We are changing drivers’ future behavior with these cameras,” Munson said.