32 ghostly-white figures line the north side of Wacker between Wabash and Clark, but they’re not Halloween decorations. These mannequins, male and female, wear black t-shirts reading “One of 32 pedestrians killed last year in Chicago.” On the back the shirts read “It’s up to you. Be Alert. Be Safe. We’re all pedestrians.” These dummies are part of the city’s new shock-and-awe campaign to raise awareness of pedestrian safety issues and reduce crashes. The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) is spearheading the initiative with the help of the Chicago Police Department, funded by a grant of almost $550,000 from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Photo of attention-grabbing mannequins on Wacker Drive represent the 32 people in 2010 who, while walking, were killed by drivers and automobiles in Chicago. Photo by Kevin Zolkiewicz.
Grid Chicago reader Kevin Zolkiewicz has written about the City of Chicago’s campaign to reduce pedestrian fatalities to zero by 2020.
Among the most visible of the initiatives are 32 mannequins that have been installed along Wacker Drive between Wells Street and Michigan Avenue. Each mannequin represents a pedestrian killed in Chicago last year. Klein hopes that the mannequins, combined with other campaign ads that will be plastered on buses, street furniture, and trash bins throughout the city, will encourage drivers to stay alert for pedestrians.
CDOT’s pedestrian safety campaign will involve 15 different initiatives — ranging from awareness campaigns to enforcement — that the agency hopes will change driver behavior and make the city a safer place for pedestrians. Read the full article.
Grid Chicago’s John Greenfield also attended the press conference this morning at 10 AM at Wacker and Wabash and will be writing about it for tomorrow’s feature.
By my count, using data from the Illinois Department of Transportation, there were 3,064 reported crashes in which at least one person labeled a “pedestrian” was involved. There were several crashes where more than one pedestrian was involved, but I selected unique case numbers from the dataset. I was able to agree that there were 32 pedestrian fatalities in 2010. No crash had more than one pedestrian fatality.
There were no pedestrian fatalities in crashes where the “cause code” was “distracted by phone or electronic communication device” or “distracted by other electronic device (including DVD and GPS)”. Only 8 crashes had one of those cause codes.
According to the Chicago Department of Transportation on Twitter, the mannequins will be visiting other neighborhoods.
Yesterday, Open Streets on State Street happened in downtown Chicago. And thousands were there to enjoy the breakdancing performances, open skate park, and dance for fitness lessons.
A skateboarder jumps off the ramp in the skate park at State Street and Van Buren Street open to anyone. There were even skateboards to borrow. Continue reading Grid Shots: No cars on State Street edition
[flickr]photo:6054914196[/flickr]Fencing installed to keep pedestrians from crossing LSD at Queen’s Landing
[This piece also appears in Time Out Chicago.]
Gabe Klein’s words were eerily prescient. In July I asked the new Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) chief if he’d consider re-installing the signalized crosswalk that had allowed pedestrians to safely cross from Buckingham Fountain to Monroe Harbor for 17 years until Mayor Daley removed it. “I would like to put it back,” he said. “People are crossing anyway and they’re running across Lake Shore Drive.”
On August 6, during Eminem’s set at Lollapalooza, as dozens of kids ran across the drive attempting to jump the fences on the east side of the festival, two young men were struck by a car, sustaining serious-to-critical injuries, as they tried to sprint across the ten lanes of traffic east of the fountain.
John wrote about the City of Chicago’s pedestrian plan and public meetings in June. On Sunday, the Chicago Tribune wrote about a study released by the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), the 2011 Pedestrian Crash Analysis.
Skip over the “Key Findings” section on pages 7 and 8 (PDF). You’ll find useless factoids that, when you read them twice, tell nothing. For example, “The Chicago Transit Authority rail stations with high numbers of nearby pedestrian crashes were along the Green Line, Red Line – Dan Ryan branch, and Blue Line – O’Hare branch.” That statement is as precise and informative as telling a pizza delivery driver you live within two miles of Western and Diversey Avenues.
In the news
- Chicago Tribune – Posted online yesterday with today’s date (to coincide with a Monday press release from CDOT), the Tribune “exclusively” analyzed some of the findings. The actual report is better than this article (some paragraphs are lifted straight from the report), but the article adds some juicy bits about taxis and their drivers.
- The Architect’s Newspaper – Its metaphorical headline could be slightly misleading – “City of broadening sidewalks” – as sidewalks in Chicago have generally been narrowed instead of widened. But I get the relationship to the Sandburg poem and the Pedestrian Plan vision.
- Let’s Go Ride A Bike – After reading the Tribune article, Dottie said, “Improving the safety of pedestrians by working to change the culture of speeding and recklessness will naturally improve the safety of bicyclists.”
Resources and related items
- Pedestrian Crash Analysis technical report – You won’t find the raw data here, but it is more detailed than what you read in the summary report.
- 3D pavement markings on Clark Street – CDOT in partnership with Western Michigan University and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration applied markings to the roadways in an experiment to see if their color and 3D effect would make that intersection safer for pedestrians to cross.
[This piece also runs in Time Out Chicago.]
Traditionally the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) has focused on making it easier to drive in the city, but new commissioner Gabe Klein has a different philosophy. Klein, a former executive with national retailer Bikes U.S.A., as well as Zipcar car sharing, came to town fresh from a stint as transportation director for Washington, D.C. There he launched a streetcar system, installed about 100 leading pedestrian interval traffic signals, introduced a circulator bus route and built the nation’s largest bike-sharing system.
Klein and Mayor Emanuel are promising big improvements to walking, biking and transit here, including building the Bloomingdale Trail elevated greenway, creating 100 miles of car-protected bike lanes, and rolling out a robust bike sharing system. They’re also working on creating bus rapid transit corridors and considering novel approaches to improve conditions for walking, including “pedestrian scramble” intersections.
I recently met with Klein, 40, in his CDOT offices, where he’d parked the bike he rode in on, a single-speed Masi cruiser with a beer-carrying crate. He discussed possible locations for ped scrambles and bus rapid transit corridors, the feasibility of the Bloomingdale and bike lane projects, the possibility of reopening the Queen’s Landing crosswalk, and whether he’d ever consider riding in Critical Mass.