City postpones discussion of pedestrian safety hazard

By D. Richard Roth

The DeKalb City Council postponed taking action Monday night concerning a traffic safety consideration at NIU.

The issue in question is a piece of local highway on Normal Road running north and south from Lucinda Avenue to Lincoln Highway.

A petition by NIU students, faculty members and staff was submitted to the DeKalb City Council concerning traffic safety in this area last October.

“There is a perceived intolerable pedestrian safety hazard on Normal Road from Lucinda Avenue to Lincoln Highway,” said DeKalb City Manager Bill Nicklas.

The petition, along with suggested solutions, was signed by about 1,500 people from the NIU community and submitted to the council for consideration.

“Ralph Tompkins (assistant director of DeKalb Public Works) came up with several solutions for the council’s consideration,” he said.

The proposed solutions include: a reduction in speed between Lincoln Highway and Lucinda Avenue from 30 miles per hour to 20 miles per hour, the addition of warning signs at Locust Street for northbound traffic and south of Lucinda Avenue for southbound traffic and the addition of traffic safety crossing guards and speed bumps along Normal Road.

Reception from DeKalb City Council members on the issue varied significantly.

“We need to see a definite reduction in vehicle speed in that area with all the pedestrian traffic,” said 7th Ward Alderman Jordan Kagan.

Other council members did not embrace the proposed solutions so enthusiastically.

“It concerns me at every juncture we make this a more meandering road than it was originally thought to be,” said 2nd Ward Alderman Michael Welsh.

The next step in the process is for the city manager to obtain further information on speed bumps and traffic speed reduction applicability.