Study Shows Ashland Ave Deadliest For Chicago Pedestrians

The Chicago Tribune reported last month that through an investigation of police statistics, that Ashland Avenue has been the most dangerous for pedestrians over the last four (4) years.

The statistics showed that from 2014 to 2016 the most traffic fatalities occurred on Lake Shore Drive (15), Ashland (14), Western Avenue with (14), Milwaukee Avenue (9), and Stony Island and North avenues (8). Those numbers include motorist, bicyclist and pedestrian fatalities.

The road with the most pedestrian fatalities over this period was Ashland with 10.  Why is Ashland such a major problem for traffic accidents? Once reason the article notes is that on the South side of the city motorists who want to avoid the expressway, choose to drive on Ashland, which makes it a much busier street than others.

The article also notes that being poor can also mean you’re more likely to die in a traffic crash. The city’s Transportation Department reported this month that people experiencing medium and high levels of economic hardship make up 82 percent of the city’s traffic deaths.

What can be done on busy streets like Ashland to protect pedestrians?

One is to install refuge “islands” in the middle of crossings so pedestrians can stop and wait midblock if the light changes, and traffic bump-outs. The latter means extending concrete into the intersection to reduce the space needed to cross and get cars to slow down, Such measures have been added during resurfacing in crash-prone areas.

 

Reducing the width of vehicle lanes on arterials helps slow traffic, Schady said. Another solution, especially in the suburbs, is reducing driveway access points. Countdown lights help pedestrians see how long they have to make it across. Traffic lights can also include a delay before the light turns green so pedestrians can clear the intersection before traffic moves again.

A way to calm traffic on Ashland in particular could be a rapid transit bus system between Irving Park Road and 95th Street. The idea, proposed by the CTA and the Transportation Department in 2013, faced opposition from residents and businesses and is stuck in the planning phase.

All of these ideas are part of the “Vision Zero” initiative that the city undertook in 2014, which was to eliminate all traffic deaths in the city.

Once thing for certain is that motorists need to constantly be aware of their surroundings when driving in the city. You have to be aware of course of other drivers, but also pedestrians, especially on busy avenues like Ashland.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago pedestrian accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant, at 312-614-1076 for a free legal consultation.

$12 Million Donation To Fund Separate Bike and Pedestrian Paths On Chicago’s Lake Front

For once, some encouraging news came out recently from the City of Chicago. At the end of the year the city was announced the local hedge fund manager Ken Griffin, through urging from mayor Rahm Emanuel, will donate $12 million to the city to construct separated bicycle and pedestrian pathways on Chicago congested lakefront. The mayor’s office said in a statement the gift will help stretch the mayor’s earlier plan for creating the double paths on the North and South sides, between Fullerton and Ohio streets and 31st and 51st streets, along the whole lakefront. The work is already partially done and will be completed by 2018.

This is incredible news to thousand who bike and run up and down the pathway during Chicago’s warmer months. Anyone, who has spent time on the lakefront on a busy day can attest to how crowded it can be, and at times very dangerous. You can read here about a particularly nasty collision that took place in 2014.  As I have written in the past on this blog, there have been some dangerous collisions between bicyclists and runners on the lakefront. This new plan should hopefully provide enough space for everyone to safely enjoy that part of the city.

Interestingly though, the Chicago Tribune published an article last week that correctly points out that certain sections of construction plan may not be so easy. Specifically at areas like Belmont Harbor and Oak Street Beach, which are already very narrow stretches of pathway. It is something engineer and architects will have to study, and unfortunately may eat up some green space.

Regardless, as someone who frequents the lakefront path and someone who represents bicycle accident and pedestrian accident victims, I am incredibly encouraged by this news. I am also thankful to the generous donor. I think this will make the lakefront safer and more enjoyable for everyone.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a Chicago bicycle accident or Chicago traffic accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Pedestrian Deaths By Auto Up In 2015

Various news outlets, including the Chicago Tribune, reported this week that pedestrian deaths from motor vehicles were up in 2015. There were 2,368 pedestrians killed in the first six months of 2015, compared to 2,232 during the same period in 2014 — a 6 percent increase. Researchers arrived at a 10 percent increase for the entire year by factoring in that fatalities for the first half of the year are typically underreported, and that for at least the last five years an average of 25 percent more pedestrian deaths were recorded in the second half of the year, which includes warmer summer months.Total traffic deaths, which had been trending downward for the past decade, were also up an estimated 8 percent last year. But pedestrian fatalities have been rising since 2005, and now account for 15 percent of total traffic deaths.

What is the cause of this recent uptick in traffic fatalities? According to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, the proliferation of cell phone use by drivers has caused people to be more distracted. Also, the improved economy reveals that more drivers are on the road than in recent years.

I unfortunately do not have numbers for Illinois or Chicago, but I would imagine they follow the national trend. This is a disturbing trend especially since Mayor Rahm Emanuel has focused on improving safety for pedestrians and drivers with red light and speeder cameras. As I stated yesterday in my blog and several times before, these cameras do not show a net safety improvement, and in my opinion, these programs should end. Regardless, the city and state will have to take a long look at improving safety for pedestrians. One way, which I have mentioned before, is to increase the penalty for cell phone use while driving. Especially if someone is injured in a car accident while someone is using their phone.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

 

 

Chicago Sun Times Publishes Editorial On Traffic Cameras

The Chicago Sun-Times published an editorial yesterday stating that red light and speed cameras should only be used if they make our streets safer. “If red-light and speed cameras don’t have the trust of law-abiding motorists, the program is not being administered properly. Whoever is the next mayor should ensure Chicago streets are as safe – and as fair to motorists – as possible.”

I think we all agree with what the Sun-Times staff has pontificated. If red light cameras and speeder cameras save lives, then they should remain intact. If not, then they should be removed.  The problem with the editorial and with the red light cameras is that they do not actually make our streets safer for both drivers and pedestrians. The Chicago Tribune study that I have discussed over and over concluded there is a zero net impact on the red light cameras. T-bone car crashes are down but rear-end traffic accidents actually increased 22% since the cameras have been installed. If we believe the study to be true, then red light cameras should be removed. They are not preventing auto accidents overall and are not making our intersections safer.

On the other hand, speeder cameras are still fairly new. Mayor Emanuel installed them within the last two years and I have to see any data or studies as to their net effect on public safety. On their face, speeder cameras make sense. Why shouldn’t the city do what they can to prevent speeders from barreling through school zone and city park areas? But if there is no overall decrease in car accidents and pedestrian accidents, then I believe it should be questioned whether the speeder cameras should remain.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

New York City Cuts Speed Limit. Should Chicago?

The New York Daily News reported this month that the New York City Council passed legislation that cut the speed limit to 25 mph. The change in speed limit was done in an effort to cut back on traffic fatalities in the city. City officials believe that the slower speed limit was decrease the chance of fatality by 50% compared to vehicles driving 30 mph. No scientific evidence or studies were provided in the article to back this claim.

“By lowering the speed limit, we send a message to drivers that they must not only drive slower, but safer on our streets,” said Transportation Committee chairman Ydanis Rodriguez. “For too long our roads have been a battleground between pedestrians and drivers, costing countless lives in preventable situations. This type of environment is unacceptable and will be tolerated no longer.”

Highways and parkways will still have higher limits, while school zones and other spots will still have lower speeds.

Should the Chicago mayor’s office and the City Council here consider a similar measure? Mayor Emanuel has stated over and over that he is committed to protecting pedestrians and bicyclists. He has taken steps by inserting speeder cameras and has opened protected bicycle lanes throughout the city. Emanuel has stated that the cameras were inserted for safety purposes only and are not a money grab for the city. Ok, then why not follow in New York’s footsteps and lower the speed limit. If safety is priority one for drivers and pedestrians, the I believe the mayor and City Council should strongly consider lowering the speed limits, at least in certain areas of the city.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Chicago Police To Focus On Drivers Who Ignore Cross Walks

Despite a pedestrian safety law passed by the state of Illinois in 2010, pedestrian accidents have continued to be a huge issue in the city of Chicago. According to the Chicago Tribune, Chicago averages 3,000 auto pedestrian accidents and 30 pedestrian deaths per year. To combat this issue, Chicago police have organized 60 pedestrian safety enforcement stings planned for this year to draw attention to this ongoing issue. The operations will be conducted close to schools, senior citizen housing and busy retail areas, officials said.

Motorists are required to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks under a state law that took effect in 2010. The law, which carries a possible $120 fine in Chicago and up to $500 in some other jurisdictions, replaced a requirement that drivers yield to pedestrians and stop when necessary.

Chicago police last year issued more than 1,200 tickets for failure to stop for pedestrians at crosswalks, officials said. City officials say their goal is to eliminate half of serious pedestrian injuries during the next five years and the other half five years after that.

As I have written about multiple times in the past, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago officials have made it a priority to make city streets safe and accessible for bicyclists. I think equal attention needs to be provided for pedestrian safety. We live in one of the most congested cities in North America for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians, and this type of enforcement is necessary to ensure drivers are following the rules of the road, which will in turn protect everyone – – including pedestrians.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a Chicago pedestrian accident or Chicago car crash, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron Bryant for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Chicago Speed Cameras Began Issuing Tickets This Week

CBS Chicago reported this week that the first ten speeder
cameras at various parks and schools began issuing tickets. Drivers who are
caught speeding by the cameras will be issued one warning before being issued
an actual ticket. The fines range between $35 and $100. Initially drivers will
be fined for driving over ten mph but that will eventually be lowered to six
mph. The city also has plans to expand the number of cameras up to fifty within
the next several months. 
The city has said the cameras will be placed only at
so-called “Children’s Safety Zones” within 1/8 mile of parks or
schools. Cameras placed at parks would operate only when the parks are
open. Cameras placed at schools would operate from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on school
days.

City officials continue
to refute that the cameras were installed as a money making venture. 
Chicago Department of
Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein disagreed with those who think the
city’s only trying to raise money with the cameras. “This idea that
speeding is not breaking the law is silly,” he said. Klein said, in other
cities that have installed speed cameras, speeding have gone down dramatically.

I am
eagerly awaiting the number of tickets that are issued and how much money the
city earns from these cameras. Further, I will be interested to see if the
number of car accidents and pedestrian accidents decreases in the areas
compared to parts of the city without cameras. 

If
you or someone you love has been injured in a Chicago pedestrian accident or
Chicago car accident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney Aaron Bryant
for a free legal consultation at 312-588-3384. 

Chicago To Add 50 New Speeder Cameras Around City

I have written multiple times in the
past about Chicago speeder cameras. Like many residents and media members, I
have been skeptical as to whether the cameras are a money grab for the city or
are actually being placed to make our city safer. Like them or not, NBC
5
 reported last week that the city has approved 50 new cameras
throughout the city. You can see the complete list by clicking here

The first group of 4 cameras were installed on Monday August
26, the first day of classes for Chicago Public
Schools students. Another eight cameras were scheduled to be installed in
September. Another 50 will be installed by the end of the year. 
Drivers
will receive warnings for the first 30 days after a camera is activated in any
specific “safety zone” around a school or park. After that, drivers
will be fined $35 for travelling 6 to 10 miles per hour over the posted speed
limit, and $100 for travelling 11 or more miles over the posted speed limit.
 

Enforcement times will be limited to
7 a.m.-7 p.m. on weekdays in school zones, with a 20 mph speed limist from from
7 a.m.-4 p.m. when children are present, and a 30 mph speed limit from 4-7 p.m.
A 30 mph speed limit will be enforced from 6 a.m.-11 p.m. every day of the week
in park zones


As I have said before, I will be interested to see the accident rates in these
locations after the cameras are installed. Hopefully this will create safer
school zones, less car accidents and ultimately eliminate any pedestrianaccidents.

If you or someone you love has
been injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago pedestrian accident, then
call Chicago personal injury attorney Aaron Bryant for a free legal consultation
at 312-588-3384. 

Governor Quinn Signs Chicago Speeder Cameras Into Law

I wrote last fall about a
controversial law that the Illinois legislature passed, which would allow the
city of Chicago to install speeder cameras around the city. Mayor Emanuel was
heavily endorsing the law and was touting it as a measure that would help protect
children. The cameras are apparently going to be mainly positioned around
schools and parks. Governor Quinn finally signed the measure into law last
week. 

These cameras have had plenty of
skepticism from the the public, media and other lawmakers. State Representative
Ann Williams, who represents part of the North side of Chicago, is one
politician who opposed the new law. She told the Chicago Tribune about
her concerns: “I feel
that having cameras on every corner really changes the character of a
neighborhood,” Williams said. “Imagine walking through your
neighborhood on a beautiful day, looking up, and there’s a camera pointed at
you. I just don’t know if I want that feeling on every corner in every
neighborhood.”

Other people has
argued that these cameras were being installed merely to raise revenue for the
city. Mayor Emanuel has disagreed with this theory from the beginning and has
stated time and again that the purpose for these cameras is to protect
children. Governor Quinn echoed this sentiment:  “I think that you’ve got to understand that if you save even one
life, you are saving the whole world,” Quinn said during an appearance at
a high school on the Far South Side. “I mean, what do you say to a parent
that’s been there from the day their son or daughter was born and they’re
killed by a speeding motorist next to their school or their park?

“I think our job
is to rise to the occasion and do what’s necessary to protect our kids.”

I think time will have
to tell whether these cameras were useful. We will have to look at the
statistics after a year or two to see if the amount of vehicle-pedestrianaccidents have decreased in Chicago. It will also be important if the amount of
vehicle-pedestrian accidents decrease in the specific areas where the cameras
are placed.

If you or someone you
love has been injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago vehicle-pedestrianaccident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney Aaron Bryant for a free
consultation at 312-588-3384 or go to the firm website at
www.blgchicago.com. 

Dangerous Weekend For Pedestrians On Lake Shore Drive And Michigan Avenue

The Chicago Tribune reported yesterday that there were two (2) separate pedestrians struck by vehicles on Lake Shore Drive late friday night and early Saturday morning. About 1:15 a.m. Saturday, a man was crossing Lake Shore Drive near Monroe Street when he was hit by a Cadillac Seville and killed, officials said. Preliminary reports said the incident was a hit-and-run, but later reports stated a 45-year-old man was taken into custody. Police said the pedestrian accident may be related to driving under the influence, but as of 9 a.m., no charges have been filed against the driver.

On Friday, a woman was left with serious injuries after she was struck by a CTA bus on Michigan Avenue near Wacker Drive, officials said. Shortly before 5 p.m., a CTA bus driver disobeyed a red light and struck the woman on the 200 block of North Michigan Avenue, said Police News Affairs Officer Dan O’Brien.

It is unclear at this point if these vehicle accidents took place directly on cross walks. Though, I think it is fairly obvious that there was negligence by the drivers in both accident.  I have written previously about steps that Mayor Emanuel and the city council are taking to strengthen the local cross walk ordinances. They are asking for stricter enforcement by police and tougher penalties. After an ugly weekend like this, these new laws could not be enacted fast enough.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Chicago pedestrian accident or Chicago traffic accident, then call Chicago injury attorney, Aaron Bryant, for a free consultation at 312-588-3384 or go to the firm website at www.blgchicago.com.