Fatality Tracker: Two more pedestrian deaths make November a terribly active month

2012 Chicago fatality stats*:

Pedestrian: 27 (12 have been hit-and-run crashes)
Pedalcyclist: 6 (1 is a hit-and-run crash)
Transit: 8
Skateboard: 1 (1 is a hit-and-run crash)

Two pedestrian deaths since Friday’s Fatality Tracker update make for 5 this month.

On Saturday, November 17, 2012, Christopher Cooper, 44, of Bronzeville, “stepped into northbound traffic on the 7900 block of South Stony Island Avenue at about 11:15 p.m. Chicago Police Department News Affairs Officer Amina Greer said.” “Police have issued the driver of the Cirrus, 23-year-old Frederick Jackson, a citation for failing to exercise due care.” (Chicago Tribune)

On Monday, November 19, 2012, 8:27 AM at 1501 W Cermak Road. A messaged emailed to me from the Chicago Police Department News Affairs office said:

A private dump truck ran over a 48-year-old male pedestrian as he was crossing in a crosswalk at Laflin & Cermak Rd. The victim was later pronounced DOA at Stroger Hospital.

The 48-year-old driver of the truck, Eduardo Cantu, of the 1800 block of Gunderson Ave, Berwyn, IL, was cited with Running a Stop Sign, Striking a Pedestrian in the Roadway, and Failure to Yield to a Pedestrian in a Crosswalk. At this time, Mr. Cantu is scheduled to appear in Traffic Court December 27, 2012.

This location is the site of the new Cermak and Blue Island Sustainable Streetscape project. This intersection received newly marked, international style crosswalks and a pedestrian refuge island. It’s directly in front of Benito Juarez Community Academy in Pilsen.

Inexpensive gas this week, and the Thanksgiving holiday, means more driving, so November might be as deadly as August was this year.

* The information is only accurate as of this post’s publishing time. View previous Fatality Tracker posts. The Illinois Safety Data Mart reports 28 pedestrian crashes (likely excluding the two in this update) but their information is incomplete until it’s fully processed.

CDOT responds to open letter about police enforcement; still waiting for replies from mayor, police


Citations issued for blocking the bike lane vary from year to year. This FedEx truck blocks the Kinzie Street protected bike lane, the city’s first. 

In the open letter that Anne Alt and I wrote and mailed in early April to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, transportation commissioner Gabe Klein (CDOT), and police superintendent Garry McCarthy, we only received a reply from Klein. We don’t expect a response from the Mayor’s Office or the Chicago Police Department.

The letter has been pasted below.

The response from CDOT pointed out an inaccuracy in our letter’s data about the number of citations issued to motorists for parking in marked bikeways (bike lanes and marked shared lanes). The data, from the Department of Administrative Hearings, substantially undercounted the number of citations issued. The issue with this data is that it came from the wrong source and the numbers from that department likely represented contested citations.

Since receiving this letter, Grid Chicago has obtained new data, from the Department of Finance (known to most as the Department of Revenue). The number of citations issued for violating Municipal Code of Chicago 9-40-060, are as follows (rates in parentheses): Continue reading CDOT responds to open letter about police enforcement; still waiting for replies from mayor, police

Can we get some police to enforce traffic laws? A letter


This photo of a police SUV parked in the Kinzie Street protected bike lane was included in the letter. Photo taken by Tumblr user 122782.

I just received another report from a reader about people driving in the 18th Street protected bike lane, so it’s obvious to me that dangerous driving behavior is still happening.

A month ago, Anne Alt, president of the Chicago Cycling Club and author of our excellent, two-part series about cycling on the south side, wrote to me that she had drafted a letter written to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, transportation commissioner Gabe Klein, and police superintendent Garry McCarthy to advocate for increased police enforcement of the City’s (pretty solid) traffic laws. I helped edit parts of the letter, gathered some signatures in support of the letter at the Chicago Bike Swap, and even paid for postage. The letter has been sent, and pursuant to the Grid Chicago mission statement (“taking a stand on issues”), I’m publishing it here. Continue reading Can we get some police to enforce traffic laws? A letter

Full interview of Gabe Klein from my Architect’s Newspaper article


Transportation commissioner Gabe Klein cycles to work on Michigan Avenue. 

I wrote an article about myriad transportation projects and initiatives in Chicago for Architect’s Newspaper, a magazine based in New York City. It was published last week online and in print (in the centerfold, no less). My original article was over 2,500 words, but only 1,600 words fit in the print version. I will be publishing additional details from the interviews I conducted for the article and about the projects it mentions.

The first is my interview with transportation commissioner Gabe Klein, conducted over the phone on January 19, 2012.

How will things change for pedestrians?

My philosophy in addressing needs is that you have to look out for the most vulnerable users first. In many times, there’s a trickle down effect. We want Chicago to be a walkable, livable city. We also want it to be a bikeable city, but walkable first. I think there was a push in the past to make it so that cars moved as quickly as possible. Back then, cities lost their self-confidence and catered to the transient drivers who passed through [emphasis added]. You cater first and foremost to the people who live here, not just the people who work here. I think it’s an indicator of cities, how walkable it is. Continue reading Full interview of Gabe Klein from my Architect’s Newspaper article

CDOT launches pedestrian safety campaign


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

Grid Bits: UP-North construction to restart, taxi drivers and street safety, new CTA Loop station

John and I are still gathering information for our Open Streets article, which will be co-written and published Tuesday. Also on Tuesday is another public meeting about the Bloomingdale Trail, where the designers and consultants will showcase the results of this past weekend’s open house and charrettes (I went on Saturday). I will publish an article about the Tuesday presentation on Thursday, October 6. There are five stories in this edition of Grid Bits.


(1) Taxi drivers


Click on the photo to read the photographer’s caption. I found this by searching on Flickr for “stupid taxi chicago” in order to find people’s opinions. Photo by Nick Normal. 

The Chicago Tribune reported on September 23, 2011, that many of the tickets Chicago police give to taxi drivers are dismissed in court. When a taxi driver receives commits three moving violations in one year, they risk having their chauffeur’s license not renewed. Continue reading Grid Bits: UP-North construction to restart, taxi drivers and street safety, new CTA Loop station