Recently, a group of people in the south suburban community of Chicago Heights did a walkability assessment of Dixie Highway as it runs through the town.
The group, comprised of the town’s Active Transportation Plan Steering Committee, included people from community’s public works department, the park district, as well as local schools Bloom High School, Prairie State College and the U of I Extension.
Dixie Hwy.’s walking and biking facilities will be looked at closely as part of Active Trans’ Family Friendly Bikeways Campaign. This is because the road is an important route for all types of transportation in the South Suburbs, and will soon connect to the Thorn Creek Trail, which is a portion of the Grand Illinois Trail.
Armed with a walkability checklist, the committee members observed people driving, walking and biking during Bloom High School’s dismissal.
After noticing the short amount of time available for students to cross Dixie Hwy., the representative from the public works department made a phone call to have the signal timing changed for a longer pedestrian crossing signal.
Many students were observed crossing against the walk signals. In response, the representative from Bloom High School arranged for the police officers to visit the high school regularly and hand out educational materials and provide warnings to students who do not follow the signal.
Larger infrastructure fixes were identified, too. In one spot, snow covered a portion of the street that made the crossing distance very long. By making this location part of the sidewalk, attendees agreed it will give people walking a shorter amount of time to be in the street.
Nice work, Chicago Heights in working to create a safer environment for people walking.