You ask, I answer. Or, really, the Chicago Crash Browser (super beta draft version) and automobile collision data from the Illinois Department of Transportation answers. James Baum asked on The Chainlink:
From an engineering point of view I am very interested in how they plan on “fixing” the mess that is the Logan Blvd underpass. I feel that this area definitely fits under the “do the easy stuff first and the hard stuff last” category on the hard side. The intersection is dangerous enough for motor vehicles and I’d like to see some crash statistics for autos there.
I agree that cycling through here is a problem; it seems that getting through here regardless of mode is a problem, though. The Moving Design group of design activists, of which I took part, created a large visual to raise awareness (“LOOK!”), using stencils, hair spray, and a fire extinguisher. Here are all the pedestrian and “pedalcyclist” crashes. Notice how few pedestrian crashes there are within 250 feet of the center where Logan Boulevard and Western Avenue meet. That might be because few people actually walk here, avoiding it like the plague our streets are:
- 10 people injured (out of 28 people involved) in 12 crashes
- 1 fatality (Tyler James Fabeck, on a bicycle)
- 2 people in the crashes were walking, 10 people in the crashes were cycling, the remaining 16 were inside cars (and none were injured)
- No recorded pedestrian or pedalcyclist crashes in 2005, 2006, 2010
- These are represented in the map screenshot above.
In the same analysis period (2005-2010) as the pedestrian and pedalcyclist crash analysis above, there were 327 crashes involving 835 people (including the 12 crashes and 28 people in the above analysis). Unfortunately, I cannot tell right now which ones happened on the Kennedy Expressway and which ones were on the surface. There’s a column that I can filter on (called “National Highway System”) but it’s not correctly applied to many records. Neither is the route number (if they were I could filter out all I-90 and I-94 records) – inconsistent data is a major issue. I cannot do any analysis or show a map until I can separate these.
To make this a better analysis, I need more data.
- I first need to figure out the “on highway” versus “off highway” distinction so I can get a more accurate number of the crashes that were not pedestrian or pedalcyclist related.
- I need to know the traffic counts in all directions for all road segments. The nearest traffic count was conducted over half a mile away, at Western Avenue and Palmer Street.
- Bike counts. None have been taken in the area in years, if ever.
Any infrastructural change at this intersection will have to involve the Illinois Department of Transportation, an agency well-known to support bicycle safety: just look at how they are delaying the Jackson Boulevard protected bike lane from Ogden Avenue to Halsted Street.
What ideas do you have about “fixing” this problem? See also the discussion I’ve started on EveryBlock about this intersection – it’s not just about safe cycling. Lawyer Brendan Kevenides has also written a post.
A ghost bike placed under the Metra viaduct for Tyler James Fabeck, who died here while cycling, on April 20, 2008.
Payton Chung outlined a lot of the problems of the route on Logan Boulevard (the east-west and diagonal segments) and Diversey Parkway.
A screenshot of the Chicago Crash Browser, a very big work in progress. It shows only the 12 pedestrian and pedalcyclist crashes discussed above and in the embedded map.
Grid Chicago is a blog about sustainable transportation matters, projects and culture in Chicago and Illinois, by John Greenfield and Steven Vance since June 2011.
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