Stoplight, Sidewalks Coming to Site of Student's Injury
Cook County officials approved a stoplight and sidewalk on 151st Street, near Hille School, where student Alex Fitzgerald was struck by a car in April. Oak Forest and Forest Ridge District 142 will chip in a portion of the costs.
Alex Fitzgerald wasn't the first, but hopefully he'll be the last student to be struck by a car along 151st Street, near Hille Middle School.
Alex, who is still recovering from a traumatic brain injury sustained in the accident, inspired city and school officials to seek help from Cook County Commissioner Joan Murphy, to make the area safer for students.
Aldermen Tuesday signed off on an agreement with the County, regarding the details of the design, installation and payment for a sidewalk and stoplight near the location. Alex was the third student to be hit by a car near that spot in recent years, said City Administrator Troy Ishler.
Cook County officials approved the installation of a stoplight and sidewalk near the location. The County will cover the $250,000 cost of the stoplight; Oak Forest and Forest Ridge District 142 will each pay a portion of the estimated $72,000 needed to lay the sidewalk. The city will contribute approximately $37,000 for a portion of the sidewalk; the school district will pay $11,992. The city will pay the remaining amount, to be reimbursed by the County.
A temporary stoplight is currently in place, until a permanent one can be erected in the spring. The signal will feature a "Walk" signal and button for students. The light will remain green most of the time, unless a student triggers the "Walk" signal.
"Even the fact that the light will be green most of the time, like anyone it's normal to slow down a little bit and be more cautious as you approach a traffic light," said Mayor Hank Kuspa.
The city's portion of the funds will come from its sidewalk escrow account, Ishler said.
"We do have sufficient funds to pay for this sidewalk," Ishler said, "Which I think is a perfect example of what we should be using this money for."
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