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IN THE NEWS: THURSDAY, JULY 31, 2003

Signal Changes Expected To Reduce Delays Downtown

By Richard Pokora

Journal Correspondent

Beginning Jul. 22 the traffic signals at the Davis Street, Arthur Avenue and Northwest Highway intersections should provide "an immediate reduction in signal delay for the Davis and Arthur Avenue traffic movements. This is true (particularly during train events) without penalizing traffic movements on Northwest Highway" the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) reports.

With the new traffic signal modifications, traffic movements on Northwest Highway are not expected to be affected in a negative manner. Some traffic can flow even with the train crossing Arthur avenue because there will be no traffic signal control at the eastern Arthur and Davis Street intersection.

This action was done because there has been increased traffic as many commuters use Arthur Avenue as an alternative to Arlington Heights road between Busse and Northwest Highway, especially when Metra trains cross Arthur. The Village calls the signal modifications Stage I of the Davis Street Improvement project.

The Stage I traffic signal modification is being implemented by IDOT on a trial basis. IDOT and the Village will be evaluating traffic safety and operation at this location over the next several months to assure that traffic safety at the Union Pacific Railroad crossing is not compromised by the traffic signal modifications.

Robert Andres of Civiltech Engineering says that after studying several options the signal modification option was chosen. It is a lower-cost and lower impact resolution. He added that it can get very involved when working with various interests like the railroad.

"Public safety is paramount" said Andres. Before the signal change, the delay at the Davis and Arthur intersection was three-minutes, and five-or-more- minutes when a train is crossing the intersection. The flashing red signal and reduction of cycle time should move the flow of traffic more efficiently and safely said Andres.

The Village is seeking public input. It has provided an Internet bulletin board for you to leave comments during the intersection trial evaluation period (http://www.vah.com/davisstreet/update.htm). In addition, Andres said that there are plans to hold a public meeting in September after the Village and Civiltech Engineering get a chance to review a Project Development Report. Everyone is encouraged to attend.

Stage I is part of the Village's low cost effort to implement immediate improvement. The Village will systematically sponsor other improvements along Davis Street within one to two years. Then, when federal funds for the project become available after 2009, the costly final stage of railroad crossing improvements along Northwest Highway will commence.

The Village studied Davis Street improvements because of increased traffic and safety concerns. In Arlington Heights, Davis street runs parallel and south of the Metra tracks between Arthur Avenue to the east and Sigwalt Street at the west end. The Arthur Avenue railroad crossing is the only railroad crossings between Arlington Heights Road and Central Avenue for cars and trucks. They identified several specific areas to evaluate including:

1) Evaluate the existing traffic signal operations of the grade crossing, including motorist behavior along Davis Street, Arthur Avenue and Northwest Highway.

2) Improve the appearance of Davis Street east of Arthur Avenue.

3) Install street lighting along Davis Street.

4) Evaluate improvements to the Davis Street railroad underpass.

5) Improve storm drainage along Davis Street.

6) Provide bicycle and pedestrian access along Davis Street east of Arthur Avenue. This could include a connection to Melas Park.

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