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Mayor: Cut-through street closures in Antioch ‘a mistake’

Updated: November 18, 2012 6:46AM

Antioch officials have rescinded regulations, adopted at the last board meeting, prohibiting through traffic on several village streets.

“We made a mistake and we learned our lesson,” said Mayor Lawrence Hanson. “We need to base regulations like these on traffic studies and do more research in the future before we act.”

Two weeks ago, the board agreed to prohibit through traffic on Harden, Hillside and Woodcreek Drive, and prohibit trucks on Ida Street between Route 83 and Anita Avenue to reduce cut-through traffic in residential areas.

The truck prohibition in the industrial park remains, but through traffic will be again allowed on Harden between Route 173 and Hillside, Hillside between Route 59 and Harden and Woodcreek Drive between Tiffany Road and Ridgewood Drive.

The action taken earlier this month resulted in complaints by residents to elected officials that their rights to travel public streets was being violated.

“I had a visceral reaction to a governing body cherry-picking streets that are clearly through streets,” resident Jim Galante told village officials Monday night.

Trustee Jay Jozwiak said the action to prohibit through traffic was based on concerns about safety.

“I live in that area (Hillside and Harden) and people fly through that area like they are driving in the Indy 500. All we were doing was trying to protect the people who live there.”

“We assure residents that we are not trying to restrict access. We are just trying to make the roads safer,” said Trustee George Sakas.

While prohibiting through traffic was a cost-effective action, expensive traffic studies would be needed to prohibit left turns or enact other restrictions on major public highways like Route 173 during rush hour, a suggestion that was made by Trustee Mary Dominiak. “I want to be forward thinking about how to make these roads safer.”

“Other solutions would require traffic studies or consulting a professional,” said Village Administrator James Keim. “We need to define our problems and use professionals to design a solution. We will look at ways we can address these safety concerns.”

The board agreed to look at budgeting for future traffic studies and explore other options for slowing traffic, like installing speed bumps.

In the meantime the board agreed to designate truck routes throughout the village and prohibit truck traffic on side streets and in residential subdivisions.

“We don’t want trucks traveling through subdivisions unless they are there for a purpose, like deliveries,” said Hanson.

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