Teen Pedestrian Hit by Car, Prompting Hinsdale Traffic Study
The incident occurred at 1st and Garfield in December; study results aren't expected until late February.
The Hinsdale Police Department is in the midst of performing a traffic study at the intersection of 1st and Garfield streets on the east side of downtown after a 15-year-old was hit by a car while crossing Garfield on Dec. 21, Hinsdale Police Deputy Chief Mark Wodka said.
The victim, a Hinsdale resident, was hit while crossing in the north crosswalk at 1:45 p.m. that Wednesday by a northbound driver who was passing a different vehicle stopped in the road. The 15-year-old was transported to Adventist Hinsdale Hospital with injuries that were not known by Wodka.
“[The driver] was unable to see the pedestrian due to the vehicle that was stopped,” Wodka said.
The traffic study is expected to be completed in time for a results presentation at the Feb. 27 Village of Hinsdale Zoning and Public Safety (ZPS) Committee meeting.
Because of the intersection’s proximity to Hinsdale Middle School, the incident was brought up at Monday’s District 181 Board of Education meeting. Board President Michael Nelson said he’s wondered in the past why there was not more traffic control at the intersection, especially since Dips & Dogs, which Nelson called a “kid magnet,” is on the northwest corner. Currently there are only stop signs for east-west traffic on 1st Street.
“That’s a really dangerous area and I think we need to be recommending to the village that they look seriously at a four-way stop at that intersection,” Nelson said. “[The current setup] can’t stand. That’s just too dangerous.”
Wodka said young-pedestrian traffic has increased at Garfield and 1st since Dips & Dogs opened, but for any additional stop signs to be erected at the intersection the traffic study would have to show vehicle volume, pedestrian use, and crash levels that would justify increased traffic control according to Federal Highway Administration guidelines.
The effect of a four-way stop on traffic patterns will also be considered, Wodka said. It is possible that a north-south stop could increase rear-end accidents at the intersection, especially in the northbound lane of Garfield, where unfamiliar drivers crossing over the hill just before the intersection could have trouble stopping in time.
The deputy chief said if results of the study did not justify new stop signs, there are “lower-level options” to make the intersection safer, such as the removal of parking spaces to increase visibility and pedestrian-crossing signs to give drivers advance warning.
Ultimately, Wodka said, pedestrian safety is on the pedestrian. He said parents should remind their children of the child's safety responsibilities when crossing any street.
“We can put up a sign but we can’t promise the motorist is going to obey it,” Wodka said.
The Hinsdale Police Department currently has a pedestrian safety video posted on its website. (Click here to view the video.) Wodka advised community members to take a few minutes to watch the video, especially if they have young children.