WEST RIDGE — A busy intersection on Western Avenue that neighbors had called a "death trap" became a little safer last week when a new traffic light was switched on at Ardmore Avenue.
"I see it as a godsend," said Randee Estes, 58, who owns Max's Italian Beef on the west side of Western at the intersection. "It's hard to pull out from Ardmore."
The intersection will also be the future location of one of the entrances to the soon-to-be-developed West Ridge Nature Preserve.
At a meeting in February about the park plans, resident Andy Dane said Western would be a "death trap" for park-goers who would need to cross the street.
Tim Czarnecki, Ald. Pat O'Connor's 40th Ward chief of staff, said the light was installed at the alderman's request.
"Cars sometimes don’t go the normal speed" on Western Avenue, Czarnecki said, so the Chicago Department of Transportation agreed to install the traffic light that now spans four lanes, calming traffic on a thoroughfare known for its speedy motorists.
Construction of the nature preserve should begin in late winter or early spring, he said.
Estes said she had witnessed many car accidents in the 35 years she's owned her restaurant at 5754 N. Western Ave.
She said she hoped drivers stopped at the new light who normally wouldn't see her eatery would look over and come in for a meal.