Attempting to walk to Flossmoor Montesorri School is dangerous, and nearly impossible.
That was Barbara Scully’s message to the Flossmoor Village Board at the Nov. 20 meeting.
“We’re trying to attract young people to Flossmoor,” said Scully, who has two grandchildren attending the Montessori school. “Young people want walkable communities.”
But, she added, there is no safe way to walk to the school, located at 740 Western Ave. The sidewalk north from Flossmoor Road — which goes past Western Avenue School — ends about a block from the Montessori building. There is no shoulder to the road and any passageway for walking along Western is only about two feet from the street. Near the school, there are no sidewalks on either the east or west side of Western.
Scully said she has already discussed the situation with Flossmoor Mayor Paul Braun and Public Works Department staff.
She added that the speed limit along Western in Flossmoor is also a problem. The speed limit in Homewood, just north of the school, is 25 mph. Crossing south into Flossmoor, however, the speed limit immediately goes up to 35 mph.
“I’ve lived here for 35 years and I know that people fly down that street,” Scully said.
It’s true that Montessori is a private school, she said, but it provides an education experience for children too young for public school. And, she said, Flossmoor is fortunate to have a school that provides the renowned Montessori early childhood education methods in the community.
Braun said Scully’s comments are valid but that Flossmoor has no jurisdiction over Western Avenue, a state road. The Public Works Department determined that it would cost about $80,000 to extend the sidewalk to the Montessori school and the village “doesn’t have that money,” he said.
The state also sets the speed limits on Western, Braun said.
“It makes no sense why it is 25 on their (Homewood’s) side and 35 on our side,” he said.
Braun said he has spoken to state Rep. Will Davis, who represents Flossmoor, about the Montessori school situation. Davis indicated he would be willing to seek a state grant for a sidewalk, Braun said.
In the meantime, Braun and other village board members encouraged Scully to seek further community support in solving the problems along Western Avenue.
“It would help to have a petition from people in the neighborhood,” said Trustee Perry Hoag. “If you have 100 signatures, that can make a difference.”
Scully said she planned to start a petition drive and was determined to make passage on foot to the Montessori school a safer experience.