ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Speeding is a problem everywhere, but residents of Rockford’s 8th Ward have been asking drivers to slow down for years.

That change is finally coming, but it is not the traffic light or stop sign that they asked for. It is coming in the form of a “road diet.”

Broadway will have one less lane, going from four to just two and a turn lane.

“I know people from out of the area don’t want us to slow the traffic down, but those of us living in that area, it’s so important, especially for the lives of our children,” said 8th Ward Alderwoman Karren Hoffman.

Broadway is shrinking in what is called a “road diet” after multiple meetings with residents about shrinking.

“People have been asking for us to do something to slow the traffic on Broadway,” Hoffman said. “We’ve had a safety committee that has met with the traffic engineers and our public works, and they’ve been begging for something, but it was always, ‘we need to keep traffic moving.’ Then, when Mason Hada was killed, finally it came home that we had to do something to slow the traffic.”

Hada was a student from East High School who was killed in August 2021. He was on his way home from school when another car hit him on Broadway at 95 miles per hour.

“People had been trying to bring it to the city’s attention for six years that there is a problem, and then this one is the one that was the last straw,” Hoffman said.

The Illinois Department of Transportation would not approve a stoplight, but a “road diet” was another option.

“We had our traffic engineers consult with the state, ‘what will you allow? What can we do?’ And we’ve actually gotten a grant now from the state to help us with this because it is going to be costly,” Hoffman said. “But, we have to do something.”

They are also asking for a walk light at 28th Street, where many East students cross four lanes of traffic when walking to and from school.

“Are we going to stop all the terrible drivers? No, but we at least hope to be able to slow the traffic down,” Hoffman said.

The City is waiting for the Charles Street construction to be finished. They hope to start the Broadway construction in September.