Parents accustomed to dropping their kids off on Illinois Avenue or turning left into the Fremd High School parking lot from westbound Illinois Avenue will have to come up with a new game plan to get their students to school in the morning.
At Monday night's meeting, the Palatine Village Council unanimously approved the request to prohibit left turns from westbound Illinois Avenue into the front parking lot of Fremd High School between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. Monday through Friday.
Village Manager, Reid Ottesen said parents and drivers impacted by the new restriction can use the enterance off Quentin Road, travel through the parking lot and exit onto Illinois Ave.
According to the Village, since the beginning of the school year, Palatine Police officers monitored both neighborhood parking and traffic concerns around the school, especially on Illinois Avenue.
“This has been four months of work,” said Ottesen, “This started in with discussions in July before the school year started.”
Observing the traffic activity around the school, officers noticed many students being dropped off at various spots along Illinois Avenue, even though there is a designated drop off area in the front parking lot and on the south side of Illinois Avenue.
Officers also pointed out students being dropped off on the north side of Illinois Avenue even though "No Parking, Standing or Stopping" signs are posted. After police stepped up patrols to enforce restrictions, some students started to get dropped off on South Middleton Avenue.
With more students crossing Illinois Avenue and more westbound cars turning left into the FHS parking lot, traffic backs up sometimes all the way back into the Quentin Road intersection, officers said.
According to Ottesen, cars waiting to make a left turn into the lot and cars stopping for students to cross the street at various points on Illinois Avenue are to blame for the congestion. “We’re talking about traffic backing up through the intersection and all the way to Hunting Ridge,” Ottesen said.
As for the traffic buildup near Hunting Ridge Elementary School at 1105 Illinois Avenue, Ottesen said the current restrictions are adequate; it’s just a matter of enforcement and the school is working with police to improve traffic flow in that area.
Just east of Hunting Ridge, the Village found increased enforcement did not do the trick and Illinois Avenue was in need of new restrictions and boost pedestrian safety and reduce traffic congestion.
In accordance with the recommendation from the Traffic Engineering Committee, Village Council Members unanimously approved the following changes:
- Prohibit left turns from westbound Illinois Avenue into the FHS parking lot from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. Monday through Friday.
- Add advisory signs for motorists to yield to pedestrians at Middleton Ave.
- Add “No U-Turn” sign to westbound lane of Illinois Avenue.
- Paint curb to emphasize “No Parking, Standing or Stopping” zone.
The signs are scheduled to be posted by the end of this week and the new restrictions go into effect Monday, Oct. 22.
Fremd High School is expected to post the new restrictions on its webpage and include the changes in the school's newsletter to inform parents and drivers.