Palos Hills Board wants to relieve traffic congestion near Stagg High School

  • Written by Michael Gilbert

Palos Hills officials are hoping an ordinance update will curb the traffic concerns at Stagg High School.

Ald. Mark Brachman (2nd Ward) told council members during the committee of the whole meeting last Thursday he is recommending the city fine tune its ordinance pertaining to the parking and stopping of vehicles on Roberts Road from 111th to 114th streets.

Brachman said he recently met with Public Works Commissioner Dave Weakley in hopes of creating a solution to the gridlock that occurs in the morning and afternoon around the high school, 8015 W. 111th St. The alderman said many drivers are not entering the school’s parking lot to drop off students but instead stopping along Roberts Road from 111th Street to 114th Street to let students out. The high school’s policy is for drivers to enter the school parking lot to drop off or pick up students.

“It’s causing some problems,” Brachman said of drivers not abiding by the drop-off and pick-up guidelines.

Palos Hills Mayor Gerard Bennett said those who use Roberts Road as a pick-up or drop-off point then typically make a U-turn, which congests the intersection.

“The problem is on the west side of Roberts right past the light people are stopping, parking and letting their kids off and then making U-turns,” Bennett said. “The school is asking us to regulate that so there is no stopping, parking because there is a designated area for parents to pull in and drop off their kids. When cars pull to the curb they start backing traffic up into the intersection along Roberts Road and it becomes a mess.”

The city has a few ordinances on the books related to that portion of Roberts Road but “they are very disjointed and segmented,’” Weakley said.

“There are some contradictions within the various ordinances,” Weakley said after the meeting. “There’s just a mishmash of ordinances that need to be consolidated into one.”

That consolidation, which is expected to go before the council for approval on Dec. 15, will result in the ordinance being “real simple,” Bennett said.

“No parking or stopping on the entire west side of Roberts Road,” he said when asked the basics of the ordinance.

Tidying up the ordinance should result in the city reaching “its ultimate goal,” Weakley said.

“Everyone is in a hurry and the residents or parents don’t like getting tied up in the designated drop-off line,” Weakley said. “They drop their kids off on the west side of the road and then swing a U-turn and maybe there are some kids being dropped off on the east side of the roadway that are running across the street and the general concern is that someone is going to get hurt or worse. We don’t want that to happen.

“The new (consolidated) ordinance is going to govern the idea of stopping, standing, parking and passenger pick-up and drop-off on Roberts Road.”

Bennett said once the ordinance goes into effect violators could receive a ticket of $80.

In other news, the Dunkin’ Donuts planned at the corner of 111th Street and Roberts Road will not open until the spring of 2017 at the earliest, Ald. Dawn Nowak (5th Ward) said after the meeting. Nowak said a little more than a month ago that she hoped the coffee and baked-goods shop could open by the end of 2016 but that is no longer the case.

Nowak had better news to report on Bertucci’s restaurant, which closed without warning around a year ago. The Italian eatery, 10331 S. Roberts Road, is slated to reopen on Dec. 11, she said.