Police Plan Crackdown on Traffic Violations

The Highland Park Police will target driving, cell phone and cyclist violations in the central business district on Oct. 29 and Nov. 7.

The Highland Park Police will conduct a traffic safety initiative in the central business district on Oct. 29 and Nov. 7 to target driving, cell phone and cyclist violations.

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Police will target illegal U-turns, stop sign violations, use of handheld phones while driving and cyclist traffic law violations from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. each day of the initiative, according to a release from the police department.

"We're getting some feedback that people are seeing some of these U-turns into parking spaces, enough that its concerning," Deputy Police Chief Dave Schwarz told Patch in August.

The police pursued a similar initiative in August, and another before that focused more on handheld cell phone violations.

"The more and more compliance we get the less and less need we have for running these things," Schwarz said.

Two Patch readers commented on this initiative when it began in August. One favored the police crackdown, calling driving in downtown "a lesson in stress management."

"Our teen driver found driving in Chicago a breeze after learning in Highland Park," writes Molly. "I would shop more in HP if the drivers and pedestrians weren't so rude."

Another reader thought the safety initiative would discourage business to downtown.

"If the police need to 'make a show of force' I'd suggest along Vine and St Johns near the High School!" writes Larry Hillman. "Targeting shoppers is a bad idea."

In upcoming weeks, police will also conduct similar traffic safety initiatives in school zones, according to the release.

The initiative should come as a relief to residents who bemoan the driving they see in Highland Park, like Louis Greenwald.

"If one observes any stop sign in Highland Park it becomes clear that Highland Park drivers are legally blind," Greenwald wrote to Patch in an email. "Pity the poor kids or the elderly attempting to cross downtown streets, in the marked crosswalks."

What do you think of the driving in Highland Park? Leave a comment below.

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mary October 30, 2012 at 04:23 PM
The law against hand-held cell phones in HP is a complete joke. It is the exception rather than the rule to see a driver NOT on his/her cell phone. The city could make an incredible revenue by actually ticketing drivers instead of giving a lame warning. The law has been in effect for over a year now, it is time to ticket and get serious about this problem.
Jo November 01, 2012 at 12:49 PM
Evanstonian November 01, 2012 at 05:59 PM
As a cyclist myself, I agree more enforcement is needed. However, it would be nice if drivers were familiar with the rules of the road. I do not known when you "last checked' or what exactly was it that you checked. However, it does not seem it was the Illinois Vehicle Code (625 ILCS 5/). Sec 11-701 states that cyclists need to ride as far to the right as practicable. In other words, the law recognizes that there are road hazards and circumstances that warrant taking the lane, e.g. taking a left at an intersection. In Highland Park, a typical road hazard are manhole covers where the holes are parallel to the road and can 'eat' a bicycle wheel (a wheel suddenly stuck in a manhole cover would not make for a pretty sight). Section 11-1505.1 states that cyclists may ride up to two abreast if they do not "impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic". This is the case in many roads that are wide enough. One point were I wish drivers were more mindful (not necessarily in Highland Park, where I have never had a problem except on one occasion, with a hysterical driver who wanted me to disappear from a traffic light), is passing within a safe distance. Section 11-701 stipulates at least 3 feet between the car and the other vehicle. I have to assume many drivers underestimate the width of their car (including the rear view mirror), or they are just hopelessly obnoxious.
Jennifer Dotson November 01, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Update concerning cyclists - Highland Park changed its ordinance to reflect State law which permits 2 riders abreast.
Lou November 27, 2012 at 02:05 PM
Cyclists are legally mandated to "...ride as close as practicable and safe to the right-hand curb or edge of roadway." Highland Park cyclists often do not obey this law yet seem overly upset when motorists cut them off or do not provide them as much roadway as they would like. Maybe motorists are taking out their revenge upon cyclists because cyclists never, ever stop at stop signs, often ride in the middle of the roadway and can be seen daily blocking vehicular traffic, another violation. If the entitled and royal bicyclists obeyed the laws specifically created for their two wheelers, maybe motorists would be more accommodating. I would enjoy seeing some bicyclists ticketed for their favorite and entitled infraction, running at high speeds thru stop signs.


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