ROGERS PARK — Plans to fix the infamously tricky Ridge/Touhy/Rogers intersection are finally coming to fruition after years of preparation, city officials said.
A curb at the southwest corner of the intersection will be extended in 2017 as part of a resurfacing job on Touhy, so long as the Chicago Department of Transportation gets approval from the state, department spokesman Michael Claffey said.
"By shortening the crossing distance, we think this will improve the the safety for pedestrians who are crossing there," Claffey said.
Plans to fix the "hazardous" intersection have been in the works for years.
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.
Though in 2011 49th Ward voters approved speding $75,000 from Ald. Joe Moore's ward infrastructure budget to pay for the curb extension, Moore's office said the project would now be funded with federal money.
The $75,000 set aside originally for the curb will go toward a traffic study for a proposed stop light that could further improve safety at the intersection, said Kevin O'Neil, Moore's chief of staff.
The traffic light itself would require additional funding, and Claffey said the city will "continue to seek opportunities" to find money for it.
Construction on the curb extension should begin next year, officials said.
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 40 feet.
According to the department's plans, the project would 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.
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 for whom the Rogers Park neighborhood is also named.
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