Crosswalk signs | What’s up with that?
Placards remind drivers to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks.
I know the city has tried to enforce the law that dictates vehicles must stop if a pedestrian is in a crosswalk—like with isolated ticketing by police—but lately I’ve noticed movable posts on crosswalks reminding drivers of the rule. This simple approach seems very effective. Did the city or a neighborhood organization put these up?
Since June, the Chicago Department of Transportation has installed hundreds of the Day-Glo placards citywide. CDOT believes the signs are a relative bargain—$400 each, bankrolled by aldermanic menu money—for infrastructure that has the potential to raise awareness, calm traffic and save lives. Ald. Michele Smith of the 43rd Ward says signs in Lincoln Park have made a difference. “We’ve already gotten tremendous feedback from the many pedestrians, runners and zoo employees,” she says. In Chicago, CDOT reports, there are roughly 3,000 accidents annually between vehicles and pedestrians. Ped fatalities, however, have been dropping steadily, from 65 in 2001 to 35 in 2011, according to state records. The decline is possibly due to the installation of countdown walk signals and high-visibility, zebra-striped crosswalks. But just last month, there were ten pedestrian deaths caused by vehicles. Last week, CDOT released the Chicago Pedestrian Plan: 250 recommendations for improving safety, as well as the admirable, if unrealistic, goal of eliminating ped fatalities over the next decade. Says CDOT commish Gabe Klein, “Even one life lost is too many.”
To request placard installation for a troubled crosswalk, call 3-1-1 or contact your alderman’s office.