Village, schools add crossing guard in downtown Flossmoor

With the addition of a crossing guard at school dismissal time, Flossmoor officials are continuing to target traffic problems in the village’s downtown area.

In a Thursday media advisory, Village Manager Bridget Wachtel said the village and Flossmoor School Distrcit 161 have agreed to add a crossing guard at the intersection of Sterling Avenue and Flossmoor Road at the end of the school day.

Wachtel told the H-F Chronicle on Friday that the new plan is already in effect, with a Flossmoor community service officer — who normally directs rush hour traffic at the intersection — coming in earlier to help with student crossings.

Students are being encouraged to cross the street at that intersection rather than further north along Sterling, especially at the traffic island next to the Flossmoor Metra station’s north entrance. A tunnel at that location is frequently used by students from both Western Avenue School and Parker Junior High School.

“We know a lot of children walk to and from Western and Parker in nice weather,” Wachtel said. “Many use the north pedestrian tunnel in Flossmoor Park to cross through the downtown area. We know it’s convenient, if not a shorter distance, to cut through this area. However, a crossing guard cannot manage children across the multiple crosswalks at the north end of the downtown.”

Wachtel asked parents to talk to their children about using the Flossmoor Road crosswalk where they can find a safe crossing in the morning, with a traffic control officer, and in the afternoon, when the crossing guard is on duty.

“We continue to make safety, especially for our children, a top priority and we appreciate the level of input from the community in helping identify issues and solutions,” Wachtel said.

The village has already attempted placing a crossing guard at the north end of Flossmoor's downtown but "it's an impossible task for one person."

Wachtel said Thursday that the Flossmoor Police Department continuously takes applications for crossing guard positions. Interested persons can visit the Village of Flossmoor website to apply or call 708-957-4500 for further information.

Flossmoor has been looking for solutions to downtown traffic concerns since last summer, when a woman and her two children were struck by a car while they were crossing from the Sterling traffic island to the post office corner.

On May 21, the Flossmoor Village Board will hear a report from a traffic engineer from Baxter & Woodman on ways to improve the flow of cars in the downtown area and also ensure pedestrian safety. The agenda at that meeting will include an item on recommended traffic changes, both for cars and pedestrians, in the downtown area.

"What is being presented is an interim solution, requiring no hard construction," Wachtel said. "It’s a stopgap until we can identify funding for more permanent solutions."

The village spent a little more than $5,000 on the study which included on-site observations, she said.

That meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the village hall, 2800 Flossmoor Road.

Following the accident on Sterling last August, village officials posted a list of possible solutions to traffic problems on the Flossmoor Facebook page. Those proposed safety improvements included the removal of some vegetation and crosswalks, the funneling of pedestrian traffic into the circle from the south end only and the relocation of the drive-up mailbox to a less congested location.

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