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Public meeting shows concern over proposed Forrest Hill lane changes

With chronic speeding, the City of Peoria is suggesting a section of Forrest Hill Avenue be reduced from five lanes to three. But before a decision will be made, the public had a chance to give feedback during a public meeting Monday night.

The section of Forrest Hill that would be impacted runs from Sterling to University. Those who live on that stretch said they have seen the dangers of the speeding cars year after year.

“About 3 months ago there was a car in my yard that hit the light post and the light post feel down.” said Erin Fletcher who is afraid she may get hurt if something like that were to happen and she was in her yard

Peoria Police said it is a known trouble spot, which is constantly investigated by their traffic unit.

“The speed on Forrest Hill in front of the school average was about 42 miles per hour, it’s a 35 mile per hour zone so that’s seven over the speed limit for the average vehicle traveling through.” said Sergeant Ryan Winkle with the Traffic Division

He told the dozens who gathered at Dr. Maude A. Sanders Primary School the many efforts the department has made to monitor and stop the hot wheels. Not enough for residents whose main concern is the safety of the school kids.

“I mean you guys are dealing with 900 people who are driving over 50 miles per hour in one month time, that’s insane, we’ve got children out here.”  said one concerned attendee

It is currently set up with five lanes, two on each side and a turn lane.

The proposal would be three lanes, one on each side with a turn lane and two bike lanes on the outside.

Many voiced their disapproval.

“There’s going to be a back up of traffic from Sterling to Gale that they’re already back up quite a bit already.” said Steve, a Forrest Hill resident

People worried about the congestion affecting folks getting out of their driveways and suggested speed bumps instead near the school.

Avid cyclists said the lane changes could provide much needed brakes.

“It costs somebody a few extra seconds to be safe, how is that a bad thing, and as a cyclist people can slow sown a whole lot and we’d all be better off” said Tim Beeney, a concerned citizen and cyclist

“The ultimate concern here is that we’re putting student safety first and that whatever the city council comes up with that it benefits not only the citizens but also our students. ” said Dan Hiles, the Principal at Dr. Maude A. Sanders Primary School

There is currently no set timeline on the project. For more information on why public works thinks this would be a good solution click here.

Kaitlin Pearson

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