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Hinsdale Might Install Barriers Downtown To Stop Cars From Hitting Buildings

The front of a vacant restaurant in Hinsdale is boarded up, after a car crashed into the building on Washington Street on March 25, 2013, the third such crash in five weeks on the same block. (Credit: Bernie Tafoya/WBBM)

The front of a vacant restaurant in Hinsdale is boarded up, after a car crashed into the building on Washington Street on March 25, 2013, the third such crash in five weeks on the same block. (Credit: Bernie Tafoya/WBBM)

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HINSDALE, Ill. (CBS) – Officials in west suburban Hinsdale are considering installing reinforced posts in the village’s downtown business district, as a way to prevent cars from jumping the curb and hitting buildings.

WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports, in the wake of nine crashes involving cars hitting buildings in the past 11 years on the same side of the street of the same block, Hinsdale police want to keep it from happening again.

Three cars crashed into buildings this year alone on the same side of South Washington Street, which sits on a hill. Twice in two days, different cars crashed into the same piano gallery at the corner of Washington and Second streets.

“I think an additional, another accident occurring in the future is somewhat predictable, given the frequency that they’ve occurred to date,” said Police Chief Brad Bloom.

He has been looking into the possibility of installing bollards – three- to four-foot high reinforced posts – in front of 22 parking spaces downtown to guard against similar accidents in the future. He wants the posts not only to protect buildings against car crashes, but to fit in with the historic downtown aesthetics.

“We’re very sensitive to the downtown area, and the quaintness of the downtown area, and whatever solutions we choose, we want to make sure it fits in with the area down there, and it doesn’t stand out,” Bloom said. “I’m trying to get that utility value of preventing further accidents and adding some measure of safety to pedestrians that are walking down the street, and at the same time putting something in there that’s aesthetically pleasing.”

He estimated it would cost about $1,000 apiece to buy and install reinforced posts if that’s the option Hinsdale ultimately chooses.

Bloom also has looked at installing planters next to the curb, but said that would present snow shoveling and disabled access issues.