Photo of the northern entrance to Holstein Park by YoChicago1.
The stop sign has become obsolete, at least in the place where I’d expect most people want it, in front of a popular neighborhood park bustling with children.
No, those who are driving past Holstein Park aren’t stopping on their own, without the presence of a stop sign. The reverse is true: they are not stopping in the presence of a stop sign. The device is no longer used. Watch this video uploaded by “mea2214” of people driving east on Lyndale Street at Oakley Avenue (in the 32nd Ward). Here’s the Street View location.
Watch the video on YouTube.
This set of 16 cars was taken at a stop sign next to Holstein Park. The shown stop sign is for cars going east on Lyndale toward Leavitt. The gated sign gives away that this is Holstein Park. This part of the park is for young children and was recently rehabbed and completed in 2006. I took this shot from 7:45 – 8:10 PM on 6/12/2012 and compressed [edited] it down to around a minute [by removing all lulls in movement on the street].
The creator says that all cars that passed in the time frame are shown and that the video is not “cherry picking” for behaviors. They have one other video showing similar behaviors at an unidentified intersection in Bucktown.
I showed the video to a friend of mine, Ash Lottes, who has a kid, lives in Chicago, and frequently visits Holstein Park in the summer. She sent me her thoughts:
This is an epidemic but it isn’t surprising. Twenty years ago Chicago’s residential streets had a quarter of the stop signs in place today but probably the same amount of law abiding from drivers. Drivers are inundated by signage: “stop for pedestrian”, “stop here on red”, “children at play”, and, if anything they’ve become more brazen in their behavior. I see zero enforcement for stop signs and stop lights in our neighborhoods and even if ticketed, the penalties are preposterously low for the amount of damage that could be caused by striking a pedestrian or cyclist. Until we see honest-to-God penalties for reckless behavior, drivers’ actions will only get more careless.
On this stretch of Lyndale, I estimate that 90% of the drivers are residents of Bucktown. There’s a light at Lyndale and Western and people see it as an easy cut through despite the innumerable stop signs and speed bumps on this stretch. The neighborhood is filled with young children and many of these drivers are parents. No one ever thinks their own carelessness will lead to anything serious. Shave an extra 20 seconds off your commute home and pat yourself on the back. This park is a gem in the neighborhood and a true destination spot. Many older kids walk their young siblings alone to the park so there isn’t always adult supervision to ensure that the kids make it there and home safely. It’s depressing that what should be the inalienable right to get to your local park or school safely is being usurped so that your neighbor can get to their garage a fraction of a minute sooner.
This video was filmed and posted on June 12, 2012. It is especially relevant as the City is installing “stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk” signs in many wards, and residents debate their effectiveness.