In March 2011, the Village of Downers Grove released its Neighborhood Traffic Study (the “Study”). The Study investigated Downers Grove’s traffic issues by studying a specific section of the community– the neighborhood bounded by Main Street, Fairview Avenue, Maple Avenue, and 55th Street. Incredibly detailed and comprehensive, the Study analyzed many different issues, including: pedestrian and bicycle facilities, intersection traffic controls, parking restrictions, and daily traffic volumes. Perhaps the most important part of the meticulous study was the evaluation of the intersection at 55th Street and Washington Street.
Intersection at 55th Street and Washington Street
One of the Study’s goals was to investigate the conditions at the intersection of 55th Street and Washington Street in Downer Grove, which may be causing vehicle accidents, car accidents, truck accidents, and motorcycle accidents and to provide recommendations for limiting the number of future accidents.
Rear end collisions and T-bone collisions are common types of accidents that occur at stop sign intersections. Whiplash injuries that occur from these kinds of accidents, such as back and neck injuries and spinal cord injuries, can be severe. The Study is a valid attempt to limit accidents in Downers Grove. By applying the results of the Study to the rest of the community, Downers Gove will likely increase the safety of drivers, bikers, and pedestrians.
The Study determined that the stop sign controlled intersection at 55th Street and Washington Street are operating at a “poor level”. The intersection at 55th Street and Washington Street is controlled by 2 stop signs located on Washington Street. Drivers on 55th Street do not have stop signs and drivers approaching 55th Street from either direction on Washington Street must yield to 55th Street traffic. The fact that 55th Street is a major arterial road with approximately 16,000 cars traveling past Washington Street daily makes the assessment even more important. The Study recommended restricting all left turns from Washington Street onto 55th Street, as well as all Washington Street traffic seeking to cross 55th Street. During 55th Street’s peak hours, these maneuvers were especially difficult and dangerous because of the high traffic volume on 55th Street.
The daily traffic volume on Main Street was 14,585, 55th Street was 16,293, Fairview Avenue was 13,613, and Maple Avenue was 10,091. The major internal roads of Washington Street, Blodgett Avenue, and Fairmont Avenue had approximate daily traffic volume of 2,800; 1,000; and 1,000 respectively.
Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices
The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (“MUTCD”) sets minimum standards and provides guidance on the installation and use of traffic control devices in DuPage County and throughout Illinois. Traffic control devices are all signs, signals, markings, and other devices which regulate, warn or guide traffic on all streets, highways, and bike paths.
Village of Downers Grove
Downers Grove is located 22 miles west of Chicago. Sara Lee, Dover Corporation, Pepperidge Farm, and DeVry, Inc., and nearly 50,000 residents call it home. It is a diverse transportation corridor with Metra and BNSF Railway running through town at Belmont Road, Main Street, and Fairview Avenue in addition to Interstate highway 355 and 88 and Pace Bus Service. Downers Grove is also the location of the DuPage County Traffic Field Court located at 4000 Saratoga Avenue, American Legion Post 80, Downers Grove, Illinois 60515.