Fatality Tracker: Woman killed after Megabus hits her crossing downtown street


A Megabus is seen turning in 2007 at the intersection (Adams and Canal Streets, next to Union Station) of a deadly pedestrian crash last week. Photo by Thunderchild7.

2012 Chicago fatality stats*:

Pedestrian: 10 (6 have been hit-and-run crashes)
Pedalcyclist: 4 (1 is a hit-and-run crash)
Transit: 6

Donna Halstead was crossing Adams Street along Canal Street on last Tuesday, August 7, when she was struck by the passenger side mirror of a double-decker Megabus driven by Shemeka Hudson, fell to the ground, and later died. The Chicago Sun-Times reports that the driver “was cited for failing to yield to a pedestrian” while state and city law require drivers to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks (where Halstead was crossing). Continue reading Fatality Tracker: Woman killed after Megabus hits her crossing downtown street

What is an unmarked crosswalk?


At the corner of Schaumburg and Barrington Roads in Schaumburg, Illinois, sits an unmarked crosswalk. Can you see it? There are no pedestrian signals here, so follow the signals for cars. Good luck. 

I posted my “Can we cross Belmont Avenue?” story in full to EveryBlock to get some reactions from neighbors who would be familiar with that specific crossing. As I suspected, there would be confusion about what the laws in Illinois say about the required behaviors of drivers when they encounter people trying to cross the street.

From Active Transportation Alliance promotional materials (pdf), it says,

As of 2010, Illinois drivers must come to a complete stop for pedestrians in all crosswalks. Previous law required them to yield and stop when necessary.

Continue reading What is an unmarked crosswalk?

Can I just cross the street safely for a burger?


Two guys trying to cross Belmont Avenue towards Kuma’s Corner in 2008. 

My mom, sister, and I were walking to Kuma’s Corner in Avondale tonight (2900 W Belmont Ave). We were starting to cross Belmont Avenue along Francisco Avenue. Eastbound traffic was backed up at the Elston Avenue/California Avenue light so we easily slipped through stopped traffic. Then we looked to the east at fast moving westbound traffic.

Westbound Belmont Avenue has two lanes at this time of day because of rush hour parking controls (RHPC). You probably know what this is but never knew what it’s called. It’s when you can’t park a car on one side of the street during a morning or afternoon two-hour stretch, and you can’t park on the opposite side of the street during the opposite period. It’s to facilitate faster moving traffic and I believe to relieve congestion. Whether it does that is a good question.

Anyway, there were two lanes of fast moving traffic and there were no gaps so we couldn’t cross. Don’t pedestrians have the right of way when crossing streets? Or do they need permission? I understatedly mentioned something about this to my mother, saying “The law requires that drivers stop for people in crosswalks”.

My mother took this as a cue to throw up her hands in disgust and shout, “Can we cross? Let’s go!”

I don’t know if the two drivers in the two lanes heard her, but they obviously saw her gesture and stopped their vehicles. I told her, “No one does that”, referring to the gesture and shout.

Maybe that’s the key to demanding our right to safely cross.

Right after this happened, I tweeted, “@ChicagoDOT what are you doing to increase compliance w/ ‘stop for peds in crosswalk’ law? Does the CPD pull over drivers anymore? #walkCHI”

Are Chicago’s pedestrian safety campaign posters too depressing?

This could be your grandson

Editor’s note: Michelle Stenzel is a co-leader of the North Side planning district in the Streets for Cycling 2020 Plan and co-chair of Bike Walk Lincoln Park, a committee to make walking and cycling safe in that neighborhood. All photos feature ads in the campaign and were taken by Stenzel. -Steven

The posters began popping up in the Loop last year in October, around the same time the mannequins appeared on Wacker Drive. Most of them have pictures of pedestrians who were seriously injured or killed in a crash. Not real victims, of course, actors presumably, but the photographs are graphic. The people are lying unconscious in hospital beds, with neck braces, head bandages, facial lacerations, and IV tubes. One poster shows a crash occurring from a viewpoint within the car, with the driver’s head hitting the steering wheel and the victim’s body bouncing off the shattered windshield. Another shows a dead man, still sprawled on the street where he was killed. Continue reading Are Chicago’s pedestrian safety campaign posters too depressing?

Shovel it: How two ideas plan to impact sidewalk snow removal this winter


A woman walks in the street after snowmageddon 2011. The City administration wants to avoid forcing people to walk in the street. Photo by Jim Watkins.

Mayor Emanuel announced on Tuesday, in a press release, a new website and effort to address snow shoveling and removal problems. The complete effort is packaged nicely on ChicagoShovels.org. It has many features, and I’ll focus on three (only one of which is available right now):

  • Plow Tracker – When there’s a snow storm, the position of every snow plow will be tracked and published on a map. See Plow Tracker in action.
  • Adopt-A-Sidewalk – Claim a portion of the sidewalk that you’ll shovel, and share your equipment with neighbors (coming soon).
  • Snow Corps – Become a volunteer to shovel the sidewalk and door path to seniors and people who are disabled who call 311 to request a volunteer.

Continue reading Shovel it: How two ideas plan to impact sidewalk snow removal this winter

Grid Shots: Pedestrian access edition


The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) began construction Thursday, November 10, 2011, to restore a lighted signal and crosswalk at 500 S Lake Shore Drive. 

I went on a four-hour bike ride today to gather photos of interesting things, including people walking and cycling in the 65°F warm and windy weather. I came across several places where pedestrian access had become an issue. These issues were manufactured by construction projects, clashing with the City of Chicago’s Complete Streets policy. Continue reading Grid Shots: Pedestrian access edition