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How to Make Ridge/Touhy/Rogers Junction Less 'Hazardous'? Meeting Set

By Linze Rice | August 31, 2015 5:47am
 This crosswalk would be shortened from 110 feet to just 40 feet under the city's proposal.
This crosswalk would be shortened from 110 feet to just 40 feet under the city's proposal.
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ROGERS PARK — A meeting on Wednesday will focus on how to better the "hazardous" intersection at Ridge, Touhy and Rogers avenues in Rogers Park after a series of discussions earlier this year between residents, Ald. Joe Moore (49th) and Chicago Department of Transportation.

"The City is ready to move forward with construction of a newly reconfigured intersection," Moore wrote in an email to residents.

In 2010, the city's transportation department drew up plans that would extend the curb at the southwest corner of the intersection to reduce the turning angle from Touhy and would shorten the crosswalk there from 110 feet to just 40 feet.

Funding for the project was approved in 2011 through the ward's Participatory Budgeting, a process by which residents get a say in how to spend some of the ward's money. Action on the project was delayed, however, due to ongoing People's Gas work in the area, which ended last year.

In March, Moore and transportation officials held a community meeting in which the plans were presented to residents, who weighed in on how to improve the "skewed" intersection.

The city's plans to improve safety at the intersection. [Chicago Department of Transportation]

According to the department's plans, changes to the current curb would be expected to benefit both drivers and pedestrians by:

• Slowing right-turning vehicles from Rogers onto Touhy, making it easier for drivers turning left from Touhy onto Rogers to distinguish northeast-bound, right-turning traffic from those heading straight on Rogers.

• Allowing motorists to scan for traffic approaching from the right without having to turn their head at a sharp angle.

• Exposing pedestrians walking at 3.5 feet per second to traffic for 17 fewer seconds.

• Reducing turning speeds.

The new plan would also allow for more space for cars waiting for the light to change at Ridge Boulevard and Touhy, according to the city's proposal.

In addition, the sidewalk created by the extended curb could be landscaped and beautified — but the optional features, such as permeable pavers, trees, planter beds and lighting, would bring the project cost up to $325,000, according to the city.

Some ideas given to the city by Moore were rejected, like including a stop sign on southwest-bound Rogers. According to the transportation department, drivers would be "tempted to roll through the stop sign" to make a green light on Ridge.

The department also rejected a proposal to modify the timing of the signal at Ridge and Rogers to create larger gaps in traffic heading northeast. Engineers said that if the red light time for this signal is extended, the number of cars waiting to turn southwest on Rogers would lengthen, making it more likely the intersection of Touhy and Rogers will jam up.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Pottawattomie Park Fieldhouse, 7340 N. Rogers Ave.

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