ROGERS PARK — It's no surprise locals and commuters passing through Rogers Park at the Rogers/Ridge/Touhy intersection want to see modern traffic improvements — Rogers Avenue was built 200 years ago as a Native American trail.
On Thursday, Ald. Joe Moore (49th) and representatives from the Chicago Department of Transportation will hold the "hopefully final" community meeting on the streets, during which the city will provide details on a proposed traffic light on Rogers Avenue east of the intersection, Moore said in an email to residents.
Since the last meeting in August 2015, Moore said city engineers already changed traffic signal timing at Ridge and Touhy. The exact changes to the timing will be explained at the meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Pottawattomie Park Fieldhouse, 7340 N. Rogers Ave., Moore said.
At last August's meeting, Moore said had the three-way, partially diagonal intersection been built today, it would have been planned much differently.
Rogers Avenue was used as an ancient trail by Native Americans in the area, and in August 1816 was designated as the Indian Boundary Line between white settlers and the Ojibwa, Ottawa and Pottawatomie tribes by the Treaty of St. Louis, according to the Rogers Park/West Ridge Historical Society. It was later named after Philip Rogers, the man whom the Rogers Park neighborhood is also named after.
Long-term solutions for the "hazardous" intersection have been in the works for years.
In 2015, Moore and transportation representatives held a series of public meetings seeking feedback on the proposed plans, which includes extending a curb at the southwest corner of the Touhy/Rogers "skewed" intersection.
Neighbors in the Far North Side community approved money to fix the intersection in 2011, but the project was delayed due to construction from Peoples' Gas.
In 2010, the 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.
The cost of the curb extension would be covered by money from the alderman's infrastructure budget from 2011, but installing the new traffic light would require additional money, Moore said.
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.
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