Despite neighbors’ efforts, aldermen reject measure 13-1

By Dee Longfellow

For The Elmhurst Independent

Former Mayor and current County Board member Pete DiCianni was the first to speak during public forum at the Elmhurst City Council meeting on Monday, March 2. On the agenda later in the meeting was a report from the Public Works & Buildings (PW&B) Committee on a Traffic Signal Warrant Analysis performed near York Street and Diversey Avenue, where a stoplight and other safety measures had been requested due to the number of accidents at the intersection. 

North side residents had come out in June of 2019, led by DiCianni, to request more safety measures, which resulted in the City hiring an engineering company out of Sugar Grove to perform the Warrant Analysis. DiCianni, who grew up on the north side of Elmhurst, argued that the Analysis only studied traffic patterns and didn’t take into account that there were school children, a senior residence, and numerous businesses in the area. 

“Come on, it’s just common sense,” he said. “How can we not protect our school children?”

Then on Saturday, Feb. 15, a two-car collision occurred that reportedly totaled both vehicles. This incident fueled the efforts of the neighbors to speak out to aldermen at the meeting and urge them to move forward with the safety measures for the location.

While addressing the Council on Monday, DiCianni read from an accident report he had obtained from Elmhurst Police Chief Michael Ruth that included a list of 16 accidents that had occurred at York & Diversey from 2015 to 2018. There were 10 accidents in 2015, only one that involved an injury. There were no incidents in 2016, two in 2017 with no injuries, and three in 2018, only one with an injury reported.

When Alderman discussed the Committee report, 2nd Ward Norm Leader was swayed to support the efforts of the neighbors of north Elmhurst.

“I’m here to confess, I’ve never opposed the measure from the beginning,” he said. “There are challenging, dangerous, and at times, lethal combinations of McDonalds [customers], school children and a plethora of left turns. I cannot help but sense that we are dancing on dynamite over there. So I’m engaged in the debate. I will not hide in the shadows of this issue.”

In the end, however, most aldermen supported the PW&B Committee’s recommendation and the vote went down 13-1 in favor of making no changes to the intersection of York & Diversey. Ald. Leader was the sole dissenting vote. 


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