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Logan Square's Roundabout Is Scarier Than Ever Thanks To Traffic Signal Problems

By Rachel Cromidas in News on Sep 29, 2016 8:32PM

Photo by Chicagoist Flickr Pool User Jason DeVoll

Navigating Logan Square's namesake roundabout intersection has never been easy. But 60-year-old traffic controller equipment has made the process of crossing Logan Boulevard and Milwaukee and Kedzie avenues that much more harrowing in recent weeks, according to community members.

Community members have complained on social media and to Ald. Scott Waguespack's office over traffic signaling problems at the intersection of Logan and Milwaukee. They say too many cars traveling in different directions are getting the green light at once, leading to a lot of confusion and a few near-misses.

"I was wondering what the heck was going on.....I had green and proceeded...when I almost got sideswiped and honked at....not realizing (okay, not paying complete attention) that all the lights were messed up!!" a member of the Logan Square Neighborhood Watch Facebook group wrote Thursday morning.

Chicago Department of Transportation reps told Chicagoist that they were alerted to the problem yesterday and have repaired it.

"We found the corner in flash, we made repairs and we are scheduling it for an upgraded controller to be installed," CDOT spokeswoman Susan Hofer said in an email. The equipment, she said, is over 60 years old and will be replaced. And in the longterm, she added, plans to majorly overhaul the intersection are moving forward after a two-year vetting process. That project, known as the Logan Square Bicentennial Improvements Project, was conceived in 2014 under pressure from residents concerned about pedestrian safety at the roundabout.

Map of the intersection via the Logan Square Bicentennial Improvement Project

CDOT "recently received authorization to begin the contract process on the Bicentennial Improvements Project and are hoping to begin the design process next month," according to Hofer.

The intersection has reportedly been experiencing traffic signal problems for weeks now, according to Ald. Scott Waguespack's office. His office has received several complaints from residents, but so far, no accidents have been reported to the alderman as a result of the traffic signals. The timing of the traffic lights for Logan Boulevard and Kedzie Avenue are controlled by different switches that are not functioning properly, according to Paul Sajovek, Waguespack's Chief of Staff, causing them to get out of synch for periods of time.

"Instead of the one street getting a green light while the other has a red, and vice versa, there are time periods when they both have greens at the same time. That intersection is a little bit tricky in that it's not your typical, normal intersection, and having that go on at the same time adds to the confusion," he told Chicagoist. "It seems like a recurring problem that's going to require some significant repair work."

The goal of the Bicentennial Improvements Project is to make the intersection safer and more user-friendly once it gets underway.

"Anything that can be done to make it more pedestrian-friendly and accessible and tie it in to the surrounding neighborhood and businesses and residences so it can function more as an active community space is really something that is worth pursuing," Sajovek said. "It's a once-in-a-generation type opportunity to create a traditional European square that could really provide a lot of benefits for that neighborhood."