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 . 

Alex, , 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; and 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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Tired of the B.S. August 31, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Melissa, If Holly is so smart, why doesn't she understand that the poles are not in her father's yard. The poles are on the easement. The new sidewalk that will be built on the easement as well.
Melissa August 31, 2012 at 04:38 PM
Tired of the B.S.: I normally don't address personal attacks, but you've chosen to do so from behind a computer screen in addition to the alias you've created. Please do not attempt to assume that you know either one of us. I came to this post to defend someone I've known since grade school. She came to a public forum to voice her opinion, and it seemed to me that some of the responding comments were attacking her character. I don't find it wise to judge people before knowing them, and Holly is not the kind of person I felt she was made out to be. I said my piece and I admit I may have gotten a little sassy in the heat of the moment. I apologize if my sticking up for a friend has offended you in some way, but I will not apologize for doing it. So instead of resorting to insulting my friend and myself, I would prefer it if you joined me in a face-to-face, rational conversation. To answer your question thinly veiled in personal attacks, considering the poles are directly in front of Holly's house I would think she has a good idea of where they are. If you read her comments, she clearly states that she is concerned about the children crossing into her driveway, not just for the liability of it but for the safety of neighborhood children. I don't think that makes her inhuman or stupid. I think it makes her responsible and clear-headed. I only hope that more residents take note of how she's handled this situation for future reference.
Jennie Silha August 31, 2012 at 04:57 PM
No, Hamish, they are not imaginary nor are they stupid. They are children. In their minds, they are immortal, infallible. They do not think that bad things can happen. It's all part of being a child. As adults, it is OUR RESPONSIBILITY to keep them safe. It is our job to put in place things that will help them grow up safe, and in one piece, to become successful adults. These improvements are being placed to do just that. Are they perfect? Will they abort any and all possible accidents? No, probably not, but they will help. They will make people more cognizant of their surroundings. I really am sorry that this will be an inconvenience to people. But, unfortunately, that is how life goes. We don't always get exactly the thing we want. The Fitzgerald Family did not want their son to get hit. That's not how it worked out for them. But, they rolled with it and approached their situation with grace, dignity, and strength. They took a very bad situation and found a way to make it be ok. Maybe people should take a lesson from them. Life equals change. Change makes people very nervous. However, we have to think in terms of the greater good. If this light prevents even one more child from getting hurt, in my opinion, it's worth it.
Hamish August 31, 2012 at 05:13 PM
So in your mind the tax payers should be a bottomless pit of money..... These improvements will not help in the least bit... The first kid was pushed into traffic and the second ran into traffic (As hew admitted in the news article) correct??? You can have a million lights and it still would have happened since the lights are being installed about 200 feet east of the last incident.
Tired of the B.S. August 31, 2012 at 05:37 PM
Melissa, I did not insult anybody. I just asked a question. You are the one that said she is one of the smartest people that you know and I questioned that statement by pointing out the fact that the poles in question were not in her father's yard but in the easement. I have also read her statements and it seems that she is more worried about property values than children crossing her driveway. Guess what? Children cross my driveway every day and I have yet to hit any of them. Children will cross driveways, it happens all the time. Most people are careful enough to watch out and not hit them. I'm sorry that this seems to be too much for your friend and her father. Maybe they should both consider not driving if looking out for kids crossing a driveway is too hard. I guess that you should let her and her father know that a new sidewalk is going to be installed in front of that house as well. Once again, it will be put on the easement, not on the property that is owned by her father. If you feel that my comments are insulting, oh well. You should re-read the comments that were made by your friend. She is much more concerned about the value of the property than anything else. As far as my alias, I prefer it that way. Melissa could also be an alias for all I know. I would also like to decline your invitation for a face-to-face meeting with you just based on your judging of me without knowing who I am.
Tracie McDaniel August 31, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Let's keep in mind that these were accidents that took TWO parties...not just the kid being pushed into traffic or running into traffic. What about the cars that struck these kids? Did you ever think these lights and other safety measures to be put in place just might have prevented these accidents? With the lights, cars will have to slow down or stop completely as they approach the area where kids are crossing in front of Hille. None of us can guess as to whether or not these accidents would or would not have happeend. The bottom line here is let's choose safety over guessing!!
Tom S August 31, 2012 at 06:40 PM
I hope that before any permanent structures are installed that a wholistic traffic review (both pedestrian and vehicle) is conducted. Taking into consideration large groups leaving the park, the church, and the school especially at events when many cars are present. Are kids still going to be allowed to cross 151st at Condado and Oxford? What about the high school kid's patterns when school is let out? I think it's about time we hear from the city on just what the permanent plan is! Any homeowner(s) that is going to be affected by this project should have their concerns heard by the government. And where possible, and reasonable, any intrusions should be minimized in the project's design.
Hamish August 31, 2012 at 07:40 PM
Lets choose to put the responsibility where it belongs on the parties at fault and not on the "Innocent" drivers. If we keep telling the guilty parties (The one who pushed the kid or the kid who ran into the street without looking properly) that its not their fault but its the fault of the drivers who were just driving along minding their own business we are doing a life long disservice to these kids. They will NEVER understand that they can be at fault.
Bob Laird August 31, 2012 at 09:50 PM
BS on the "innocent driver" slant. When I 'm behind the wheel I never stop looking way ahead. I put on about 350 miles a week and always look out for the random nonsense. Ain't saying random chance won't catch up, but it's our job to try to prevent it. Lucked out a couple times because I saw doo doo happening before I got there. 151st ain't I-80. no excuse for the driver.
Bob Laird August 31, 2012 at 10:00 PM
P.S.- I hope after writing that last post that Lauren won't be writing about ME next week! jinx jinx
Tired of the B.S. August 31, 2012 at 10:19 PM
@Hamish Why can't you show a little compassion? That would cost you nothing and maybe allow you to join the rest of the human race. A kid gets hit by a car and steps are being taken to try to keep something like that from happening again and all you want to do is blame kids for not being more careful and whine about money being spent. Hopefully something like this never happens to a child you care for. I would bet my house that your tune would change if it did.
Bob Laird August 31, 2012 at 10:32 PM
Hamish, you sound a little bitter and cheap, but that's ok. our taxes have been going up (crap), but OF is still lower than some surrounding communities and we have a lot to be proud of. Either live with the bad and respect the good or quit whining and GTFO. (do ya know what that means?)
Michael September 01, 2012 at 07:36 AM
Hello fellow patchians, I can not help but wonder if instead of spending countless pixels of wasted internet space, you actually spend time improving this town, you have such strong opinions about. Let's be honest all the lights in the world will not save every child and as much as we would like to fool ourselves that the education and horror stories will bubble wrap life for our kids. We and our children must take some responsiblity for ourselves. In conclusion continue to to file down sharp edges and give your children the idiot proof scissors but accidents will happen. Grow up Peter pan and take some of the blame you are spewing.
Steve Silha September 01, 2012 at 08:10 AM
Michael - this situation is not only about a child being responsible. It's about the odds that another accident could happen again. By putting up a traffic control devise, those odds have clearly been reduced. Of course it can happen again. Of course it ultimately comes down to a child behaving responsibly. But - with number of children that pass in this area over the years, we simply have taken a logical step to reduce the possibly that an accident will happen. Yes, we absolutely must teach our children to take responsibility for themselves. In my case, I teach my son about the ugly things that happen to people in this world and how and why they do. I have a serious responsibility to raise him to learn to avoid those ugly things by being responsible himself and using the proper behaviors. I do this because of exactly what you stated. If I bubble wrap my child from real life, he would grow up not knowing how to protect himself. I would have done him a disservice and I would look back and feel i failed him as his father. However, the lesson I teach him from this whole controversy is that a smart person works to sku the odds in their favor. To take protective measures. Lastly, thank you for posting such a well thought out comment. This is the kind of productive discussion that I believe these forums should be about.
Steve Silha September 01, 2012 at 08:12 AM
Thank you Bob. Well said.
Steve Silha September 01, 2012 at 08:23 AM
Danielle - saying that you don't care about kids pretty much sums up your character as far as I can tell and is openly inviting most people to call you shallow, embittered and inhumane isn't it? I don't expect anyone to care about my son in the least. But I sure hope you and anyone else would care (or be humane) enough to avoid hitting him with your car. A 30 year old with the mental capacity is NOT crossing a street by himself or even with his friends C'mon that just doesn't make sense. Totally different situation.
Steve Silha September 01, 2012 at 08:26 AM
I meant to say a 30 year old with the mental capacity of a 12 year old above. I'm sure you knew that but I had to correct it anyway.
Hamish September 01, 2012 at 02:01 PM
Bob and Steve ....... You two really need to enter the real world and grow up to realize these kids screwed up........ Plain and simple! Quit blaming the drivers! But what can we expect from bleeding heart trisomic liberals.
Tired of the B.S. September 01, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Hamish, Your comments show that you do not live in the real world. In the real world, people try to take care of children and try to insure that they will be protected in case they do something childish like pushing each other or running into streets. You live in a family community and in a family community, we will do what is needed to protect our kids. I suggest you take a moment to think how painful it must be for the parents of the children that were hit, not to mention the drivers involved, to come here and read the crap that you spew. I am far from being a liberal and I don't have Down's syndrome, as your post suggests. Perhaps you think you are being funny or clever with your posts but I and many others find your way of thinking to be disgusting. I have not seen any post here that blame the drivers for what happened, only your posts that blame the children. I am sorry that you feel that installing traffic controls will have no effect, I guess I missed the part where you are a traffic safety expert. I have never wished bad on somebody, but in your case, I think it would be a great learning experience for you to go through what Fitz has had to deal with. I realize that you will probably want to blame me and attack me by telling me how twisted my thoughts are. Go ahead, I can take it. I will not sink to your level of stupidity because it would only drag me down to your level and then you would beat me with your vast experience.
Hamish September 01, 2012 at 02:59 PM
Tired of the BS....... I am more concerne d about people placing blame where it doesnt belong (on the innocent drivers and the govt.) and more where it belongs on the ones who pushed someone or ran into the street. And I dont have to worry about my three kids.... I taught them how to cross the street
Tired of the B.S. September 01, 2012 at 03:16 PM
Hamish, I am not concerned at all about placing blame. I am concerned about the safety of all the kids (including yours) around the school and elsewhere in our town. Why would any rational person feel the need to blame somebody for these terrible events. I am sure that Fitz's parents also taught him how to cross the street, that is not the issue. The real issue is about trying to prevent something like what happened from happening again. Will putting up traffic controls keep this from happening again? I don't know. I do know that there have been kids hit in a school area without any traffic control devices. I do know that people that have studied traffic safety feel that this may help. I will concede to their expertise. If you truly have three kids, why on earth would you not want this? If you truly have three kids, where is your empathy for the parents and the children involved? Why do you feel the need to place blame? How can you say that you have three kids and don't worry about them? I have two boys, 17 and 9, and I worry about them whenever they are out and about. It is called being a parent.
Danielle Abendroth September 02, 2012 at 04:00 AM
Steve im not sure how you can sum up my character by saying i dont care about kids and what you sre basing that on. Just because i said this generation needs to be more responsible doesnt mean i dont care about kids. As far as the comment about me outright hitting kids with my car, im not sure where that us coming from. Im not a savage who just seeks out innocent people to plow down. I never said i didnt care about kids. Choosing not to have children and not caring about kids are two different things. You couldnt be more wrong about me. Seems Michael made the same point I made and hes not being crucified....interesting. Clearly im not alone in my opinion. And once again a human life is a human life, all should be protected without regard to age or mental capacity, etc.
Danielle Abendroth September 02, 2012 at 04:02 AM
Also Steve if we are all opening ourselves up to judgement based on comments I guess I can say that you're a......nah nevermind, I don't want to stoop to the same level as you and everyone else.
Steve Silha September 02, 2012 at 05:16 AM
You said you don't care about anyone's kids in a post earlier. Your EXACT Words........Yeah, you're right Steve, I don't have kids so I don't care about anyone's kids. That is exactly what I said. Tell that to me brother and sister and my friends who have kids that I don't care about kids. Yep uhhuh that's it. Did I miss something or mis understand what you said?
Steve Silha September 02, 2012 at 05:22 AM
If you read my posts carefully - I never called you anything. Not once. I either commented on your point or made mine. If you knew me, you would understand that I am not one to argue about anything. Not at all. But this is a passionate topic to me because I know the young man that was hit and I realized just how easily this could happen to my son. And that scares the life out of me. Terrifies me actually. If I offended you I apologize. You have your absolute right to your opinion. And I am very sure you are not a savage trying to plow down kids. I'm sure you are a fine individual. We simply have a difference of opinion.
Tired of the B.S. September 02, 2012 at 04:34 PM
Danielle, In case you are wondering why people are passing judgement on your character, I would like to remind you of your first post on this thread, "I also have to agree with Holly and make the point that noone has made in that both instances of students being hit by cars could have been prevented if the students were a litlle more responsible. Just because the county and the city put in lights and sidewalks it doesn't mean that the students will use them and accidents won't happen. Waste of time and money. Parents need to teach their kids responsibilty this generation is being done a huge disservice by parents and society as a whole." You basically blame kids for being kids and then say that putting in traffic controls is a waste of time and money. I sure think that sounds like somebody that does not care about kids at all. Now talk all you want about your friends kids or your nieces and nephews, but, I wonder what your feelings would be if one of them had been hit by a car while not being "a litle more responsible".
Danielle Abendroth September 03, 2012 at 01:50 AM
Steve my earlier post was written in a sarcastic tone and was clearly misinterpreted. We will continue to have a difference of opinion on this matter, and that's ok because opinions are not right or wrong. Ultimately we both want the same thing, no matter the way it's achieved.
Danielle Abendroth September 03, 2012 at 01:58 AM
Tired, you actually have no idea about my life and whether or not that has happened to someone I know or not. My statement was a blanket statement about society as a whole and not just this incident or this type of incident. Kids are kids, people stoplights in or sidewalks in does not guarantee this will never happened again. And that's a fact, nothing is ever guaranteed. If you read all of my earlier posts youd have seen thats what i said. Just because I think kids need to be taught more responsibility doesn't mean I don't care. I'm sorry, but the first instance (not alexs) was blatant irresponsibility on the part of those kids. You just don't push people in the middle of the street, that's common sense. As a whole kids are coddled in today's world. My opinion does not make me shallow inhumane or embittered, it makes me a realist.
Tired of the B.S. September 03, 2012 at 03:16 AM
Danielle, I am sorry if you feel that i am judging you, that was not my intention. I guess that I am just finding it hard to believe that anybody would not want to have some sort of traffic control around a school where there are young kids. Every body brings up Fitz and the poor kid pushed into the street. Has no other kid been hit in this area? Have you forgotten when you were young? Did you ever do something that was stupid at that age? When I was young we rode around in our cars with no seatbelts, would you do that now? Kids will be kids and just because they are kids, they usually don't have much common sense...common sense is something that comes with age. I don't know that putting lights at this spot will guarantee that no child will ever be hit around there again, but I like our chances with the lights better than without.
Michael M. September 15, 2012 at 09:31 PM
According to the police report there were a few factors that contributed to the accident. One, the driver said she did not see the pedestrian until she hit him and the lighting would be considered dim at the time of the accident; second, the police report states "the pedestrian apparently ran into the street without first checking to see if a vehicle was close enough to him to become a hazard." Third the driver was "operating her vehicle at or near the posted speed limit of 35 MPH" The speed at time of impact was calculated between 28 and 32 MPH. One witness heard kids yelling for someone not to cross the street, and the victims friends all yelled that there was a car coming. So speed and lack of traffic signals was not the cause, but poor lighting and a crossing error seem to be the cause. Now this was a terrible accident and I feel for the family and the driver, and I pray that Alex will be healthy and have a great life. I would not want to be in his parents shoes and have to see that happen to my child. Placing the blame will not really help, but knowing the facts will lead to a real solution to the problem. The traffic signal does not seem to be the issue and most likely will not prevent further accidents of this nature; maybe what is really needed is more street lights so that drivers can see pedestrians. I think all who drive this street will agree that it is dark and sometimes you can not see pedestrians walking on the side of the road until you are on them.


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