Ride into the safety zone: new traffic calming and ped safety treatments


Englewood resident Denise King tries out the new refuge island at 63rd and Claremont.

[This piece also appeared in Checkerboard City, John’s weekly transportation column in Newcity magazine, which hits the streets in print on Thursdays.]

Running late as usual, I hop on my bicycle and sprint south from Logan Square, fortunately with a sweet tailwind at my back. I’m heading to the ribbon cutting for new Children’s Safety Zone traffic-calming and pedestrian-safety treatments at Claremont Academy Elementary School, 2300 West 64th Street in West Englewood.

The city has 1,500 of these safety zones, designated areas within one-eighth mile of schools and parks. The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) is planning to install additional infrastructure at dangerous intersections within these sectors to discourage speeding and make crossing easier. Currently there are about 3,000 pedestrian crashes a year in the city, with about 800 involving kids (full data below). And in this era of rising obesity rates, the goal is also to encourage more children to walk to school and to play at their local park.

Continue reading Ride into the safety zone: new traffic calming and ped safety treatments

Halting words: Klein and Smith discuss the new “Stop for Pedestrians” signs


CDOT Commissioner Gabe Klein and 43rd Ward Alderman Michele Smith. Photo by Steven.

The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) recently began the process of installing hundreds of signs citywide in an effort to educate motorists about the state law requiring them to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk. The signs cost $400 each, sited and installed, a relative bargain for infrastructure that will raise awareness of pedestrian safety, calm traffic and possibly save lives.

At a press conference yesterday in Lincoln Park by the Brown Line’s Diversey station, CDOT Commissioner Gabe Klein and 43rd Ward Alderman Michele Smith discussed the benefits of the signs. They also crossed Diversey several times to demonstrate the signs’ effectiveness, with drivers usually, but not always, stopping for them without being prompted. The event was particularly timely because the previous night a young girl named Monet Robinson was killed by a hit-and-run driver on the West Side. Here’s a transcript of Klein’s speech:

Continue reading Halting words: Klein and Smith discuss the new “Stop for Pedestrians” signs

“Stop for Pedestrians” signs show up in Andersonville and Lincoln Park


Photos taken at Clark and Olive by Kevin Zolkiewicz. 

Kevin Zolkiewicz posted photos this morning of Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) workers installing new signs at Clark Street and Olive Avenue, and Clark Street and Summerdale Avenue, that inform drivers that they must stop for pedestrians in crosswalks. He adds:

These signs were added to this year’s list of menu items that alderman can select as part of their discretionary budget. Expect more to pop up around Chicago very soon.

This means that any alderman can use their annual $1.3 million “menu” fund to install these in the ward, alongside benches, bike lanes, street resurfacing, and a variety of other capital projects. Zolkiewicz went on to say why the signs are being installed:

State law was changed in July 2010 to require drivers to stop, and not just yield, to pedestrians in unsignalized crosswalks. But most drivers in Chicago haven’t gotten the message. These signs have been shown to increase compliance with the law.

The law applies to people in marked crosswalks and “in” unmarked crosswalks. We explained the difference in an earlier post.


The first of 19 signs in the 43rd ward (Michelle Smith) was installed on Thursday, June 28, at 1700 N Stockton Drive, according to Bike Walk Lincoln Park. Other streets in the ward to receive them will be Lincoln Avenue, Clark Street, Diversey Avenue and Belden Avenue (see exact locations).

Two intersections in the 47th ward (Ameya Pawar) will be installed this year, at Addison Avenue and Hoyne Avenue, and Addison Avenue at Hermitage Avenue. View a list of other projects in the ward that will funded by the alderman’s discretionary “menu” funds (.pdf).

Updated June 28, 2012, at 21:12, to add news of this sign being installed in other wards.