Ukrainian Village's Hoyne and Chicago stoplight is reality after eight year battle


Shiny new stoplight at Chicago and Hoyne

Red and green lights now control traffic at the corner of Hoyne and Chicago Avenues in Ukrainian Village. An effort that began eight years ago.


Aiden Kam flips switch to activate new stoplight

Monday morning, fourth grade student, Aiden Kam, from St. Nicholas School, 2200 W. Rice, flipped the switch, then read his essay that won him the opportunity. It included these statements, " I feel bad when I see people in accidents. Maybe now there will be no more….I wonder if the City is going to put up more lights." 


Students look at shoes as Alderman provides a teaching moment to discourage texting while driving

Alderman Brian Hopkins, 2nd Ward, presided over the long awaited event and gave a safety lesson on how important it is to not be texting while driving. 

Having all the students look down at their shoes, he asked the students how many cars passed through the intersection and what they looked like. 

Telling them how many cars passed by in that short time, he pointed out that it does not take long for several things to happen. He then pointed out that bad things could happen in a short time when driving, if the driver is not paying attention, like when their texting. Hopkins then asked the students what they will say to an adult who is texting while driving. They all said that they will say, "Stop that!" 


First crossing to the south side of Chicago Ave. with the light

The celebration concluded after the students, teachers, neighbors and business people along with Hopkins waited for the light to change then crossed Chicago Ave. with the light, heading south then north. 

Bernard (Ben) Fiorito, Assistant Ge


George Matwyshyn and Bernard (Ben) Fiorito were talking about the work at the site

neral Superintendent, CDOT, who supervised the construction, explained that they began the project in November and were completed, except for some surface work, by February. "But, hot asphalt can't be poured until May, so we could not complete the job until now," explained Fiorito. 

Marie Durkaic, a long time resident, expresses her relief for the stoplight saying, "I now cross streets at a stoplights only. I am happy that we have one here now." Some of her fears tie to the behavior of Uber drivers. "They make 'U' turns in the middle of intersections as well as streets. That is very dangerous," she points out. 

James Conroy, President, Ukrainian Village Neighborhood Association (UVNA), has faced being hit at Hoyne and Chicago. "There is a playground south of Chicago, this will make it better for them as well as for people coming and going to Mariano's." 


Marie Durkaic and Harriet Siller are intense conversation about the neighborhood

"I love this. I am ecstatic," says Harriet Siller, a Ukrainian Village resident who has served on the UVNA board for several years and is involved in other community organizations. 

"Just the other night, with the stoplight  blinking red, a dozen people blew through the intersection without even slowing down. This light is going to make a big difference." 

"The traffic light is essential for the safety of community. The elderly, mothers with children or strollers, even adults were in danger of becoming traffic fatalities. One person was hit and died of her injuries," says George Matwyshyn, former UVNA President and long time resident in the area who works with several local institutions.

What is the story behind this installation?
At the cost of $350,000, this stoplight was a long time in coming. 

It all began in 2009. "Mrs. Drohomyrecka, an 80-year-old woman, was struck by a car in the intersection," explains Durkaic. "She subsequently died from the accident." 

UVNA members started a campaign to make the intersection safer. They wanted a stop sign put in.

Manny Flores, then Alderman of the 1st Ward, covered west along Chicago Ave. to Hoyne. Scott Waguespack's 32nd Ward then included what is now part of the 2nd Ward, west of Hoyne. 

The Chicago Department of Transportion (CDOT) initially told them that they could only put in a crosswalk, because Chicago Ave. is an arterial street and stop signs are not allowed. Stoplights are allowed but the intersection must meet certain criteria. 


In 2009, the crosswalk went in and then the island

"It was around the time that Dominick's was planning to come into the neighborhood on Chicago Ave., they came to the community and promised a stoplight. So, we were not going to stop short of a stoplight in our requests," said Siller. 

Determined to prove the need, Siller became the videographer for the situation by videotaping the traffic every Saturday for a month. She shot each morning, noon and 7 p.m. In addition, UVNA circulated petitions that garnered hundreds of names. In addition other neighbors kept putting pressure on the aldermen. 

With the pressure from residents and the aldermen, CDOT did take action. They did another traffic study. The results prompted their recommendation to Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) to install a traffic light. 

Referring to that recommendation in an Oct. 28, 2009, letter to Flores and Waguespack from Yadollah Montazery, Assistant Director of OEMC. It said:

"OEMC has reviewed the traffic signal warrant study prepared by CDOT and we concur with their recommendation that a traffic signal at the intersection of Chicago Avenue and Hoyne Avenue is warranted since the following warrants listed in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) are met:

•Warrant 1, Eight-Hour Vehicular Volume
•Warrant 2, Four-Hour Vehicular Volume
•Warrant 3, Peak Hour
•Warrant 7, Crash Experience 

Please note that CDOT is responsible for the design and construction of traffic signal projects. A source of funding will need to be identified." 

In the meantime, the aldermen put in the crosswalk then an island. 

In 2015 the 1st and 2nd Wards decided to not continue waiting for OEMC to find the funding and split the cost by using their menu monies. 

According to the CDOT construction records for the Hoyne and Chicago project, $175,000 was from the 2015 Menu Money of both the 1st and 2nd Wards.



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