On Friday, Aug. 19, a motorcyclist was injured in a traffic accident near 183rd Street and Gottschalk Avenue.
It was the most recent accident at or near the intersection that has been the scene of a number of injury accidents in recent years, and it prompted a Homewood woman to ask village officials to take action.
Nan Wexler’s son, artist and actor Michael Wexler, was killed in December when he was struck by a vehicle as he walked across 183rd Street at Gottschalk. She addressed the Homewood Board of Trustees at its meeting Tuesday.
“I’m here to ask you to do something about this really dangerous intersection so other families don’t have to go through what we’ve gone through,” she said. “So many have been injured.”
Wexler brought to the meeting a listing of incidents involving injuries to pedestrians in the along 183rd Street from Dixie Highway east to Gottschalk. The report she obtained with a Freedom of Information Act request listed seven such incidents since March 2009.
At least two of those were fatalities.
Police Chief Bill Alcott said the state has jurisdiction over 183rd Street, which limits what the village can do to address the problem, but he said he would contact state officials to see if anything can be done.
He noted that the terrain contributes to the problem. At Gottschalk, 183rd Street slopes downward, limiting the view of oncoming westbound 183rd Street traffic to motorists trying to pull out from Gottschalk or pedestrians trying to cross 183rd.
He also indicated the 30 mph speed limit should make that area safer, but because it is a four-lane road, some motorists assume the speed limit is higher. He said Homewood police are trying to discourage speeders.
“We’re trying to conduct more traffic enforcement there,” he said.
Wexler also pointed to a fence on the property at the northeast corner of 183rd and Gottschalk, which makes it difficult to enter traffic when traveling south on Gottschalk, especially for motorists attempting left turns onto 183rd.
“You have to pull out into oncoming traffic in order to see if you can make a left,” she said.
The fence has been the subject of inquiries by Trustee Jay Heiferman in the past, and he restarted his question about what the village could do to improve visibility at that corner.
Village Attorney Chris Cummings said he would look into the matter, but in the past he has noted that because it is private property, there might not be much the village could do.
The home on that property is vacant.