A meeting was held this evening in Wilmette where the plans for the redevelopment of the Hibbard and Skokie intersection were shared with the public. The design emphasized retaining the existing traffic patterns, while adding a new dedicated right turn lane on the southern portion of the intersection. In order to take into account how pedestrians will use the intersection, a second pedestrian island will be constructed within the dedicated right turn lane. Other improvements include new pedestrian crosswalks and traffic signals to help pedestrians navigate the intersection. A final improvement will be the installation of a sidewalk on the north side of Skokie Blvd, helping to complete the sidewalk network in the area where a gap presently resides.
During the discussion, the village of Wilmette mentioned taking into account Complete Street policies when thinking through the design; however, per complete street policy a complete street must take into account all modes of transportation.
A Complete Streets policy must begin with an understanding that people who travel by foot or on bicycle are legitimate users of the transportation system and equally deserving of safe facilities to accommodate their travel. No policy is a Complete Streets policy without a clear statement affirming this fact, and it is therefore a requirement to include both modes – walking and bicycling. (Quote taken from Page 20 of the Complete Streets Local Policy Workbook)
The plan does not take into account cyclists, even though it is on a route to Marie Murphy middle school and community destinations such as Keay Nature park and the Edens shopping center. The plan also does not narrow the width of traffic lanes to 11 feet, which is widely being adopted by other village projects in the area, such as the Willow expansion project in Northfield. (You may read more about lane width here, The Influence of Lane Widths on Safety or the Federal Highway Administration Policy.)
All plans can be improved upon and it is strongly recommended that local residents share both positive and constructive feedback on the proposed design. Feedback may be directed towards, Brigitte Berger (847.853.7627) Director of Engineering for the village of WIlmette. In addition, residents can submit written comments to the village’s engineering department, 1200 Wilmette Ave., Wilmette, IL 60091, but they must be received on or before Dec. 22 to be part of the project record.