Improve intersection safety at Route 59 and West Bartlett Road in Bartlett, IL
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The intersection of Route 59 and West Bartlett Road in Bartlett is prone to frequent, severe, and even fatal traffic accidents. These accidents occur every 6-7 days on average. We petition the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) to take urgent action to improve the safety of this intersection and reduce the speed limit here as soon as possible. We ask that the Village of Bartlett support their residents' extensive concerns about this intersection.
This dangerous intersection threatens the health and safety of our residents. This intersection has become notorious for particularly severe accidents, which at times require both Route 59 and West Bartlett Road to be shut down for investigations and clean up. Two accidents in the past month have required Med-i-vac helicopter assistance due to the severity of the injuries. Families go out of their way to avoid this intersection because they know it is so dangerous. The accidents often occur near or during rush hour, and often cause major traffic delays and traffic jams that make it difficult to get around in Bartlett. Our fire protection district also faces extensive costs from responding to the frequent accidents at this intersection, and this financial burden is passed on to our taxpayers.
We recognize that there may be a long-term engineering study that was recently started to assess the intersection. However even under the best state budget circumstances, these structural assessments can take years to develop, and it can take years more to plan solutions, find funding and implement structural changes. We are not willing to wait while countless more Bartlett residents and visitors are injured or even killed at this intersection. We urge IDOT to take what interventions they can take now while they study how to make long-term structural changes to further improve the structural safety of the intersection.
We propose the following short-term solutions, which do not require structural changes to the intersection, and which could likely be accomplished in a matter of months:
- Reduce the speed limit on Route 59. The intersection sits at the bottom of two hills, so gravity causes less-aware drivers to reach their maximum speeds well above the posted speed limit in both directions at this intersection. Reducing speeds around the intersection will have the greatest short-term impact to reduce the frequency and severity of the accidents at this intersection, because it would allow for greater reaction time to avoid collisions, and reduce the force involved of the collisions that still occur.
- Increase the signage before this intersection, to remind drivers they may need to make a sudden stop around the curve and at the bottom of the hill.
- Post No-Right-Turn-on-Red signs for drivers turning onto Route 59 to prevent drivers from turning right into oncoming traffic, especially when they often cannot see the oncoming cars well, and the oncoming cars cannot see them around the curve or over the hill. Some of the most tragic accidents at this intersection have been related to drivers turning right on a red light.
- Slightly extend the duration of the yellow light at the intersection, to allow people more time to react. The current yellow light is set for a speed limit of 45 mph, but since the intersection is at the bottom of a hill, drivers are often moving well above the posted speed limit.
We also urge IDOT to consider the following longer-term solutions, which likely require structural changes to the intersection:
- Create right turn lanes, to prevent rear-end collisions to drivers waiting to turn right
- Create a left-turn-on-green-arrow-only additions to the stoplights for all four directions of the intersection.
- Extend the left turn lanes and/or create double-wide turn lanes to address potential backups from red left turn arrows.
Thank you for taking the time to support our concerns, and for working to improve residents' safety with regards to this very dangerous intersection.
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