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City Creates Pedestrian Safety Plan

By Samantha Abernethy in News on Sep 6, 2012 7:40PM

The Chicago Department of Transportation released a plan to make Chicago safer for pedestrians. The city's first-ever plan prioritizes safety for children and seniors around schools and parks. Some parts of the plan have already popped up in Chicago, including the new ladderlike crosswalks that popped up this summer. The Tribune writes:

The hundreds of recommendations include better-marked crosswalks, the establishment of pedestrian islands in the middle of multilane streets, better signals and beacons, and pedestrian countdown timers at crossings. Other long-term improvements discussed in the plan include staggered midblock bump-outs on residential streets to slow traffic.

The safety plan also includes repainting faded pavement markings for crosswalks and vehicle stop lines. The city also posted an analysis of pedestrian crashes between 2005 and 2011, saying Chicago has the fifth-lowest pedestrian fatality rate. While the number of fatalities drops each year, Chicago has had an uptick recently. In August, 11 pedestrians died in crashes. In the last three years, the city has had fewer than 35 pedestrians killed each year. Pedestrians between the ages of 15 and 18 are most likely to be struck by drivers, and a pedestrian accident is most likely to happen between the hours of 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.

One area has been identified as a hotspot for pedestrian crashes: CDOT says four of the 20 most crash-prone intersections in the city are within a two-mile corridor of 79th Street. If you're walking in the Loop or the Near North Side, be extra wary of taxicabs. In those areas, one of four pedestrian crashes involved a cab.

The Active Transportation Alliance said the city's pedestrian safety plan was a long time coming. “Chicago’s 50 pedestrian deaths and 3,000 pedestrian crashes per year are unacceptable," said Ron Burke, Active Trans director. "We urge the city to implement this plan, and expect it will be an important step in reducing the number of deaths and injuries on our streets.”

Read CDOT's full plan below.

Chicago Department of Transportation's Pedestrian Safety Plan