Next South Shore alderman must expand and protect existing transit

Array

A Metra Electric train crosses Yates Boulevard out of the South Shore station. Photo by Jeff Zoline.

Applications are being accepted by Mayor Email until Friday, January 25 at 5 PM.

Alderman Sandi Jackson of the 7th Ward, which includes South Shore, South Chicago, Rainbow Beach, and Jeffery Manor, resigned effective Tuesday. Mayor Emanuel has 60 days from Tuesday to appoint a successor and hinted at the process in which he would vet candidates. A website will be launched today; people can submit applications to be considered for the job by a panel of four – yet unnamed – community representatives.

The Chicago Tribune reported, “The next alderman for the South Side ward must have a record of ‘community involvement and engagement,’ the mayor stated in a news release. Emanuel hopes to pick the replacement by mid-February.” On Sunday, the Chicago Tribune speculated as to who might be jockeying for the position.

I talked to four residents in the South Shore neighborhood about the transportation issues and assets to understand the needs in the community that the next alderman should address. Community members are organizing rapidly: two of the three residents I interviewed, independently, knew of each other through a brand new organization called Reclaiming South Shore for All (RSSA), led by Mia Henry. Henry was planning for an RSSA meeting when I caught her on the phone; she only had time to convey that the Jeffery Jump “was a good move for people” in the neighborhood. Continue reading Next South Shore alderman must expand and protect existing transit

flattr this!

Strategies in the Pedestrian Plan: Remove all channelized right turns in 3 years

Array

A right-turn channelization from southbound Kedzie Avenue to northbound Milwaukee Avenue. From 2005-2011 there were 7 pedestrian crashes (including a fatal hit-and-run crash in 2009) and 4 bicycle crashes. The crash data do not allow me to relate any of them to a specific hazard at this location. 

The groundbreaking Chicago Pedestrian Plan says goodbye to this pedestrian safety hazard. I can’t wait to say goodbye to the right-turn channelization on northbound Elston Avenue at Ashland Avenue (why? one, two, three).

Goal: Improve non-standard intersections

You’ll find the right-turn channelization (characterized by the presence of an additional crosswalk and often a concrete island) most often at intersections with diagonal streets. The Chicago Pedestrian Plan, in Goal 8 of the “Connectivity” chapter, will “remove all channelized right turn lanes by 2015″. This is an excellent idea because it reduces crossing distance, reduces car travel speeds (which is the determining factor of an injurious or fatal crash), and reduces the likelihood of a right-angle (t-bone) crash. Download the Chicago Pedestrian Plan.

Continue reading Strategies in the Pedestrian Plan: Remove all channelized right turns in 3 years

flattr this!

Ride into the safety zone: new traffic calming and ped safety treatments

Array

Englewood resident Denise King tries out the new refuge island at 63rd and Claremont.

[This piece also appeared in Checkerboard City, John’s weekly transportation column in Newcity magazine, which hits the streets in print on Thursdays.]

Running late as usual, I hop on my bicycle and sprint south from Logan Square, fortunately with a sweet tailwind at my back. I’m heading to the ribbon cutting for new Children’s Safety Zone traffic-calming and pedestrian-safety treatments at Claremont Academy Elementary School, 2300 West 64th Street in West Englewood.

The city has 1,500 of these safety zones, designated areas within one-eighth mile of schools and parks. The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) is planning to install additional infrastructure at dangerous intersections within these sectors to discourage speeding and make crossing easier. Currently there are about 3,000 pedestrian crashes a year in the city, with about 800 involving kids (full data below). And in this era of rising obesity rates, the goal is also to encourage more children to walk to school and to play at their local park.

Continue reading Ride into the safety zone: new traffic calming and ped safety treatments

flattr this!

Doorings in Chicago and NYC are still a sorry state but one of them is doing something about it

Array

The decal on a taxi window says “LOOK! For Cyclists”.

I don’t report on doorings as often as I report on non-dooring crashes* but I should as it’s something we can affect with road design, a common theme of my writings. There isn’t much to say about dooring at the moment, but an article published on Wednesday about a new campaign in New York City to reduce dooring incidents between taxi passengers and cyclists caught my attention. Then two other things caught my attention.

New York City awareness campaign

Transportation Nation reported on a new video advertisement and decal being shown in all 13,000 New York City taxicabs in an effort to reduce dooring crashes. All yellow cabs in the city have a small TV for passengers; they’ll soon show a short clip about looking for cyclists before opening the door. A window sticker will say the same thing.

The message not to fling cab doors open without first checking for bicyclists will be hammered home in a video message that will play on all 13,000 Taxi TVs (assuming passengers don’t turn them off first). “Take out a friend,” reads the message on the video. “Take out a date. But don’t take out a cyclist.”

Continue reading Doorings in Chicago and NYC are still a sorry state but one of them is doing something about it

flattr this!

70% of pedestrian deaths happened at night nationally. What about in Chicago?

Array

CDOT, NHTSA, and Western Michigan University are involved in the installation of these optical illusion zig-zag markings, part of an experiment to see if they improve night time visibility. You can read more about them on Steven Can Plan. Since installation, I’ve asked CDOT multiple times for the results of the experiment and each time the report hasn’t been finished. 

A reader forwarded me an announcement email about the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Traffic Safety Facts 2010 Data (.pdf) in which one of the “facts at a glance” included this one: “Close to 70 percent [of fatal pedestrian crashes] took place at night”. He asked, “What percent of ped fatalities in Chicago happen at night? 70% seems disproportionately high.”

I looked it up. “Night” in this analysis means situations where the Illinois Department of Transportation crash data is coded as “Darkness” or “Darkness, lighted road”. I’ve divided the data in a table below to show the difference between those two designations. Continue reading 70% of pedestrian deaths happened at night nationally. What about in Chicago?

flattr this!

Fatality Tracker: Three more pedestrian deaths since Sunday’s update

Array

This photo of two elderly Chicagoans attempting to cross Western Avenue has been featured on Grid Chicago countless times now, but it’s very relevant to the news in this Fatality Tracker update. There have been 10 pedestrian deaths in Chicago this month (so far) and 50% have been people older than 50 years old. Photo by Joshua Koonce.

Pedestrian: 18 (8 have been hit-and-run crashes)
Pedalcyclist: 4 (1 is a hit-and-run crash)
Transit: 6

There are three pedestrian fatalities in this post, bringing the total number (known to us) to 18 deaths in traffic. The original reports come from the Chicago Tribune. 2010 saw 32 pedestrian deaths in Chicago and 33 in 2009. The majority of pedestrian deaths in 2010 occurred in March (6) and May (5). There was only 1 pedestrian death in August 2010 and 2 pedestrian deaths in August 2009. There have been 10 pedestrian deaths in August 2012, so far; five days remain.

Continue reading Fatality Tracker: Three more pedestrian deaths since Sunday’s update

flattr this!