Bicycle crashes: A presentation at the Transport Chicago conference


I assisted Nabil Nazha in gathering data and developing a methodology for the geographic analysis of bicycle crashes at intersections needed to complete his master’s thesis from the University of Illinois at Chicago’s College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs (CUPPA). I graduated from CUPPA in 2010. We submitted his paper to the Transport Chicago conference and it was accepted; see Session 1 – A Safety Dance. He was out of the country at the time of the conference so I gave this presentation alone. 

[slide 1 – intro]

From 2007 to 2010 there were 6,705 bicyclists involved in 6,664 crashes involving at least one bicycle and one automobile. A majority of bicyclists received injuries and 20 bicyclists died . Bicycle crashes at intersections are the topic of the paper, Safe Cycling in Chicago. Continue reading Bicycle crashes: A presentation at the Transport Chicago conference

Chicago transportation to move very far forward with two-year plan


Looking down Madison Street. Photo by Daniel Butler. 

A new plan for the Chicago Department of Transportation was released today and Grid Chicago got to talk to commissioner Gabe Klein this morning about the Chicago Forward CDOT Action Agenda’s development, strategies, and goals.

I started reading the 100 page plan last night to prepare for today’s interview. After the obligatory messages from Mayor Emanuel and Commissioner Klein (as well as photos of a Brown Line train and the bean), there’s a timeline and a short historical narrative. This plan gives a new mission statement for the department and is the first time a vision statement has been adopted by the agency (which the timeline tells was created in 1992 after a reorganization of the Department of Public Works). The Action Agenda is important to ensure our transportation system (as envious or dubious as you see it) changes in good, appropriate ways. Not only do we know how CDOT will get us there, Chicagoans will be able document change and compare our status in 2014 to where we started in 2012. Continue reading Chicago transportation to move very far forward with two-year plan

Confusing intersection of Milwaukee-Wood-Wolcott to be redesigned and reconstructed in Spring 2013 (was September)

Update September 7, 2012: From the Wicker Park-Bucktown SSA, we get news that this project has been pushed back to spring 2013. It seems IDOT is responsible for this delay. 

The skewed intersection of Milwaukee Avenue, Wood Street, and Wolcott Avenue in Wicker Park will be redesigned and reconstructed this year as part of a project to upgrade the signals. The original project only called for upgrading the traffic signals, which are decades old and very hard to see. Their timing is also awkward, providing no “all red” phase between the red phase of one direction and the following green phase of the cross direction. Construction should begin in September, according to the 1st Ward office.

Confusion is compounded with the addition of a rare slip lane on Wood Street at Milwaukee Avenue, which is created by a small island of concrete that only holds a light signal pole for southbound traffic. More often, islands are used to help protect pedestrians from traffic.

Bird's eye view of Milwaukee Wood Wolcott

View the intersection in a larger map on Bing Maps.

Continue reading Confusing intersection of Milwaukee-Wood-Wolcott to be redesigned and reconstructed in Spring 2013 (was September)

Importance of hit-and-run crash deaths in the news media


One of the question sets I posed in this morning’s crash analysis article was about the attention hit-and-run crashes receive in news media:

Why are certain people who die emphasized in news media reporting? Why are other people ignored? In other words, of the 315 people who died in traffic crashes in 2010, how many got a newspaper article written about them?

In the Sunday’s Chicago Tribune newspaper, I found a tiny article at the bottom of the pictured page (above) for the deadlier of the two crashes from Saturday: a toddler and a 6-year-old in Brighton Park. If there was an article about Jesse Bradley in the same paper, I didn’t find it.

What is the outcome of hit-and-run crashes?


This is the first in a five part series on crash data analysis sponsored by Lawyer Jim Freeman.

Pedestrians and bicyclists involved in hit-and-run traffic crashes with automobiles in Chicago receive more injuries and die more often than pedestrians and bicyclists involved in hit-no-run crashes while drivers and passengers have the opposite outcome. This post attempts to describe the situation of hit-and-run crashes in Chicago.

On Sunday I wrote that 75% of all pedestrian traffic deaths this year were in hit-and-run crashes; it’s important to know that all the offending drivers were later apprehended (note 1). The horrific events on Saturday made me curious: How prevalent are hit and run crashes? I already know that our hit-and-run rate is 28.5% for 2005-2010, but how does that translate into frequency of injuries and fatalities? Are hit-and-run crashes worse for drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists? Better than hit-no-run crashes? I ran a few calculations to find the answers. I came up with more questions than answers, but my initial interpretation is that hit-and-run crashes are not much better or worse than hit-no-run crashes when looking at every crash participant combined. Continue reading What is the outcome of hit-and-run crashes?

Fatality Tracker: Two hit-and-run crashes and three deaths in one day


The intersection of LaSalle and Division Streets where Jesse Bradley was killed. Photo may not depict where the crash occurred. Photo by Monika Nevis. 

2012 fatality stats*:
Pedestrian: 4 (3 have been from hit-and-run crashes)
Pedalcyclist: 0
Transit: 0

According to my tracking, the city will probably maintain its status as a place with a high frequency of hit-and-run crashes as 75% of all pedestrian fatalities in Chicago this year have been because of hit-and-run drivers.

On Saturday, March 24, 2012, there were two crashes and three deaths, but only one of the three who died was a pedestrian. First, in the early morning at LaSalle Street and Division Street:

A 32-year-old man died after being hit by an SUV driven by a 21-year-old woman…

The woman fled the scene but was caught a couple blocks away, Chicago Police Department News Affairs Officer Amina Greer said. She was driving a Jeep Liberty southbound on LaSalle when she hit the man about 2:30 a.m., Greer said. [Jesse] Bradley was a third year law student at Northwestern University Law School, according to university spokesman Alan Cubbage. Chicago Tribune, 1

Assistant State’s Atty. Ericka Graunke said [Bianca] Garcia had a blood alcohol content of .168, more than double the .08 legal limit, following the early Saturday morning crash. Chicago Tribune, 2

She is charged with felony aggravated driving while under the influence resulting in death, misdemeanor reckless driving and misdemeanor driving under the influence. She is also cited with operating a vehicle without insurance, driving while unlicensed and driving the wrong way on a one-way street. Chicago Tribune, 3

Then in the evening in Brighton Park, chaos:

A horrific scene played out on the Southwest Side Saturday evening after a hit-and-run driver fled one accident [crash] only to plow into a second car, killing a toddler and a 6-year-old inside. In the wake of the 6:30 p.m. crash near 45th and Western, a witness described watching a distraught woman run from victim to victim, trying to help a 19-month-old child still strapped into a car seat lying on the street, the 6-year-old in the back seat of her demolished car and a gasping, bleeding man slumped over the wheel.

The driver of the SUV was arrested and taken to an area hospital for treatment. Chicago Sun-Times

As he [Joey Chavez] drove his 2003 Mercury Mountaineer, he rear-ended a 1997 Dodge Neon on the 4500 block of South Western Avenue that resulted in the death of 10-month-old Julissa Ochoa, 10 months, and her brother Eric, 5, officials said. Chicago Tribune

That’s three hit-and-run deaths in a single day; the first hit-and-run this year was in February on 95th Street near Cottage Grove Avenue. The baby and child are not included in fatality tracker stats at this time because they were in a car, but I think I may change my evolving fatality tracker policy to include hit-and-run deaths of car drivers and passengers.

This is as good a time as any to talk about the hit-and-run rate in Chicago, Since last reporting on hit-and-run rates in December 2011, I’ve calculated some new numbers from additional data and filtered out bike and pedestrian crashes. I will be posting about this later in the week.

See previous articles in the fatality tracker series. Grid Shots is postponed this weekend. 

* The information is only accurate as of this post’s publishing time. Post updated March 26, at 16:19, to add information about the LaSalle/Division crash. Updated March 27 at 09:16 to add charges filed against Bianca Garcia. Updated March 29 at 01:10 to add updated information about the children who died in the 4500 S Western crash.