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.