Homewood trustees approved a plan on Tuesday, Oct. 25, to restructure traffic lanes on 183rd Street, contingent on the availability of funding for the project.
Trustees had given implied approval for the project on Sept. 13 when they approved a motion to allow staff to apply for an Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program (ITEP) grant that would cover most of the costs.
The new lane structure will convert 183rd Street from Morgan Street west to Dixie Highway from the current two lanes of traffic each way to a single lane of east and west traffic, bicyle lanes on each side and a center turn lane.
Public Works Director John Schaefer said implementation of the lane change depends on funding, and the village will not know until spring whether it will receive the state grant.
Village Manager Napoleon Haney said the village sought and received letters of support to include in the grant materials from Homewood Public Library, Homewood-Flossmoor School District 233, Homewood School District 153, the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association and the village of Glenwood.
The village has received significant input from the community over the past two-plus years in the form of a petition, emails, letters and comments during board and open house meetings. Village Planner Valerie Berstene, primary author of the grant, said the community’s views were described in the grant materials.
Schaefer presented four options that were considered for the lane project.
- Option 1: Lane restriping only at a cost of $107,000 with no additional maintenance costs.
- Option 2: Lane restriping with solid green paint in the bicycle lanes with a cost of $515,000 and additional maintenance costs of $436,000 every two years.
- Option 3: Lane restriping with solid green pain in the bicycle lanes at intersections at a cost of $241,000 and additional maintenance costs of $34,000 every two years.
- Option 4: Lane restriping plus bicycle lanes protected by delineator pylons.
The village chose Option 3. At one of the open house sessions, Schaefer said Option 2 might be ideal, with the solid green bicycle lanes, but the cost was too high. Option 4 was deemed impractical because the pylons would interfere with snow removal.
Schaefer noted that the lane reconfiguration is one piece of a multiphase plan based on a traffic study conducted last year by engineering firm Burns & McDonnell.
Another step in the project, improving the restriction on eastbound turns from southbound Park Avenue, was implemented earlier this year.
A bigger project — installing a traffic light at the intersection of 183rd Street and Center Avenue — is still under consideration but will require planning, design and funding before it can be implemented.
The question of how to improve safety at the intersection of 183rd Street and Gottschalk has not been answered. One option under consideration is to make Gottschalk a deadend at 183rd Street. Public works blocked the street for a couple of weeks this past summer to test the effect on traffic patterns.
Schaefer said there was a split among residents in the neighborhood during discussions at open house sessions. Most people who live on Gottschalk like the dead-end option. However, people who live on nearby streets expressed concern with the possibility of increased traffic on their streets.