By SAMANTHA PIDDE
Traffic safety measures along Illinois 78 within the community were discussed recently by Mount Carroll city officials.
During the police committee meeting prior to the Sept. 13 Mount Carroll City Council meeting, Mayor Carl Bates said he had received a phone call about the possibility of changing State Street on the north edge of town, east of Illinois 78, into a one-way street.
Mayor Bates forwarded the question to Police Chief Scott Marth, who addressed the issue in a letter to the council.
"It's just not feasible," Chief Marth said at the meeting.
He said a one-way street is not needed, pointing out that after the street department's work on trimming vegetation at the location, which is just south of the Stone House Memorial Park, the view of oncoming traffic was extended to approximately 300 feet, the distance of a typical city block.
"The intersection of Illinois Route 78 and State Street is not a high volume crash location,” Marth wrote in his letter. “The view of oncoming traffic is made difficult by the approach being on a curve, but it is certainly better than other intersections. In searchable records dating back 14 years, I find just two crashes occurring at this location.”
Local resident Len Anderson said there have been many near misses at this site and some day there will be a major accident, noting many people accelerate going around that corner.
Marth's letter also addressed the difficulties of making a street a one-way and said doing so at this spot could disrupt emergency operations when a detour of Lincoln Street, North Clay or Illinois 78 is needed.
Traffic could be diverted to a triangle intersection at Illinois 78, Lincoln Street and North Clay, but Marth said this is not feasible for heavy truck or semi-trailer traffic. His report said the view of oncoming traffic at Lincoln Street and Illinois 78 is even shorter that the one at Illinois 78 and State Street.
"Converting a two-way street into a one-way street also increases speeds and there is strong empirical evidence that one way streets result in higher crime and vehicular accident rates; often due to wrong way drivers," Chief Marth’s report said.
Mayor Bates agreed that the city should address the potential issue, saying he would like to look at adding a speed trailer or flashing speed sign at the location.
There have been previous discussions about reducing the speed at this location, but such matters fall to the Illinois Department of Transportation and not the city, the mayor said, adding, "It's pretty hard to tell the state what to do.”