People have a reason to be frustrated. This year, Illinois has seen nine traffic fatalities — in which pedestrians were victims — of which seven were pedestrians walking along a trail. This is seven too many. However, one red light issue that is attracting a lot of attention lately is the crossing light that turns red constantly even when nobody is present, even when people are passing through.
While travelers walking the trail or biking the path have long complained about having the light turned red without any people on the two-lane highway with the location, there was no official response until recently from the Illinois Department of Transportation. Michael Gillis, deputy state director of communications for IDOT, explained in an interview with The Chicago Tribune that the light is there because people without vehicles can still use the road and use the trail in the same way — they simply don’t have vehicles.
“The fair-weather folks, as they call them, can use the trail and certainly use a road and use the trail at the same time,” Mr. Gillis told the newspaper.
Many, however, aren’t buying that answer. When Steve Frohmader, a trail user, posted about the blinking red lights to facebook, he explained that the culprit has long been apparent to him — with cars from inside the other lanes not far from where trail users are crossing. “You can see it from the app, at least to my eyes,” Mr. Frohmader noted on Facebook, “but just drives right by.”
When asked about the issue by the Tribune, Mr. Gillis noted that the blinking light only operates during peak traffic times of rush hour — 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. “Nothing else,” he said. “It’s lit up with just blue lights at all times.”
And while it’s the peak traffic times that IDOT is concerned about, trail users worry that as Illinois evolves, the shifting conditions could leave them both behind. Several riders told the Tribune that they’ve never seen IDOT do anything about the light, and for now, trail users can’t seem to get ahead of the “fair-weather folks” at the intersection.
Read the full story on Chicago Tribune.
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