Ela Township has contracted with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office for a special patrol beginning this month to address growing safety concerns related to vehicles parked across from Lake Zurich High School and students crossing the busy road after school.

“Illegally parked cars on this bend of the road at the top of the hill makes for a dangerous situation for students crossing at the corner,” Highway Commissioner Bill Kruckenberg said. “We put in a sidewalk to give the students a safer place to walk and we have put up additional no parking signs, which no one seems to obey.”

“We have to do something to prevent any student from being struck by a car or injured in any way,” Supervisor Lucy Prouty said.

To address these concerns, a uniformed Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy with a marked squad car will provide traffic and parking enforcement in the area of Echo Lake Road and Midlothian Road between 3 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., and in other areas of the township between 3:30 p.m. and 5 p.m.

The township will use funds from the Knigge parking lot fund to cover the cost of the special police enforcement. The monies in this fund come from annual fees the township collects from Lake Zurich High School students to park at Knigge Field.

“These are fees that would normally go to deserving high students as college scholarships. Now there will be less money for that funding,” Kruckenberg said.

Because the majority of the foot traffic at Echo Lake and Midlothian roads involves students walking to the Knigge parking lot, the township may reevaluate the use of this lot for student parking.

“If we can avoid even one incident, it would be worth whatever measures we have to take to make this area safer,” Kruckenberg said.