Residents and officials in suburban Blue Island are calling for the state of Illinois to take action after multiple pedestrians have been struck by vehicles along one stretch of roadway in the last six months.
The roadway, 127th Street, is a state road, and is therefore maintained by the Illinois Department of Transportation.
The roadway travels from east to west between Interstate 57 and Interstate 294, and it goes through several areas of the community where pedestrians are frequently present, including past Dwight D. Eisenhower High School and Memorial Park, the largest park in the community.
State Rep. Robert Rita is one of the officials issuing pleas for help after one person was killed and at least two others have been hurt in the area.
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“There’s one person in a coma, and most recently one person has died,” he said. “Tragic events on this stretch of road. As a resident of this town, these are my neighbors, not just my constituents. It is scary.”
Fred Bilotto, the mayor of Blue Island, says that at least two of the victims have been students.
“One of the children was hit in front of school while they were going to the school,” he said. “And more recently, one was hit at night after a school program ended.”
Officials say the worst stretch goes from the top of a hill past the high school, with two sets of railroad tracks compounding efforts to fix the issue.
Rita wrote a letter to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office, asking for officials from the Illinois Department of Transportation to contact him about possible solutions.
In response to the letter, a forum was held Tuesday to discuss the issue. Meanwhile, IDOT says it is conducting a study to help provide answers, but says that the study could take up to two months to complete.
“The department is currently collecting data related to existing conditions, recent crash history, traffic volumes, vehicle speeds, existing signage and pavement markings,” the statement read, in part.
Local officials say they’ve already taken some steps, including making changes to traffic patterns and blocking off traffic on the roadway before and after school.
Still, additional changes like lighted signage, reduced speed limits, pedestrian islands or even bigger efforts like speed cameras will have to wait for the state’s study to be completed on a roadway that serves as a main artery between multiple interstates.