New Stop Signs Approved for Intersection Where Teen Hit by Car
Hinsdale Village President Tom Cauley said that the intersection of 8th and Monroe streets is known as one of the most dangerous in Hinsdale.
The Village of Hinsdale Board of Trustees approved an ordinance Tuesday night that will put two new stop signs at the intersection of 8th and Monroe streets, where a 13-year-old bicyclist was hit by a car last month.
Hinsdale Police Department Chief Brad Bloom told trustees that the new east-west stop signs are not simply a response to community reaction after the June 2 accident, in which the teen disobeyed the existing two-way stop sign while traveling north and was hit by a westbound car traveling over the hill to the east, but instead are the solution prescribed by an objective traffic engineering study performed in the wake of the incident.
“We’ve really tried to take the emotion out of this issue and not acquiesce to the loudest group of people,” Bloom said, noting that the intersection’s recent history qualified it to become a four-way stop according to warrants set in the national Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).
The intersection has been the subject of five traffic studies since 2003. It wasn’t until the latest study detailed five right-angle collisions within a 12-month period that the intersection met MUTCD warrants for a four-way stop.
The Board of Trustees voted unanimously to approve the new stop signs.
“If you asked people to name the three or four most dangerous intersections in the village, this would be one of them,” Village President Tom Cauley said.
Bloom said there was a fatal accident at the intersection in 1993.
Trustee Doug Geoga said he thinks the signs at 8th and Monroe are justified, but expressed concern with the village putting up new stop signs and not periodically reviewing those intersections to make sure they still qualify for the signs. If that practice continues, the trustee said, there will be stop signs at every intersection in Hinsdale.
Geoga expressed similar concerns in the winter when stop signs were approved for the intersection of 1st and Garfield downtown, itself the site of an accident involving a Hinsdale Middle School student.
Though the driver in the June 2 accident was not cited for any offenses related to careless driving, Geoga said several incidents at 8th and Monroe have in fact been the result of distracted driving, not necessarily the hilly terrain.
“If we really want to address safety, we should urge our colleagues to consider the question of cell phone use here in the village,” Geoga said.
Bloom said the stop sign that will be installed at the intersection will have LED lights around its edges so that the intersection’s regulars take notice of the change.
There will also be “stop-ahead” signs placed near the intersection on 8th. Bloom acknowledged the concern that the hill to the east will lead to rear-end accidents caused by westbound drivers who don’t see the stop sign coming.
“We know from experience that rear-end accidents seldom result in serious injuries,” the chief said. “Right-angle accidents can be very serious accidents.”