Sunday, September 18, 2011

Signs of progress

There have been some small but encouraging changes happening lately that you may want to know about.

First, we called the attention to our friends at the Chicago Department of Transportation to the fact that part of their website was not reflecting the new law requiring motorists to STOP for pedestrians in a crosswalk. After we discussed it in this post and reached out to them, we're happy to report that they've updated their page, which you can view here.

Specifically, some of the updated wording now says,
If oncoming drivers don’t stop for the pedestrian—as required by law—the vehicle will be pulled over by a police spotter further down the street.
Thanks, CDOT!

Portable sign on Wells Street reminds motorists it's state law in Illinois to "Stop for Pedestrians Within Crosswalk". (Photo: Bike Walk Lincoln Park)

In a related item, Lincoln Park commuters to the Loop who take Wells Street may have noticed these fantastic new signs on Wells south of Division Street, by Walter Payton High School. They are in the middle of the crosswalk but out of the way of motorized traffic, and they clearly remind motorists to STOP for pedestrians within the crosswalk.

Pedestrian crosswalk sign at 1100 North Wells, by Walter Payton College Prep.
(Photo: Bike Walk Lincoln Park)

We've noticed that the signs are on wheels, and only out during the day time, so perhaps the Payton operations staff puts them out and takes them in on school days? Whatever the method is, this is a great tool to use to calm traffic and make the street safer for pedestrians. We noticed that vehicle drivers slow down considerably when they see the sign, whether there are pedestrians present or not. 

We need more of these, all over! Especially since they seem to be portable, we're envisioning them placed on Stockton Street on busy summer weekends with all the families crossing over to the zoo and beach area. 

Also, they could be placed periodically on streets like Clark, Armitage, Webster, and others, just to start acclimating drivers to the fact that they indeed have to STOP for pedestrians in a crosswalk. Maybe individual merchants can take responsibility for a sign and make it part of their routine to place the sign in the morning and take it in at closing.


New markings extending the Wells bike lane through the intersection at Superior Street.
(Photo: Bike Walk Lincoln Park)
Finally, bicycle commuters on Wells Street may have noticed that as part of finishing the street surfacing project near Chicago Avenue, bike lanes have been striped all the way through the intersections! This is a great way to add to the visibility of bike lanes and bicyclists, giving motorists a visual clue that there are other users of the street that they need to be aware of.

The Wells Street bike lane on the east side now extends through the span of the intersection at Chicago Avenue.
(Photo: Bike Walk Lincoln Park)
These cross-intersection bike lanes were added at the large intersection of Chicago and Wells, as well as the smaller side-street meeting point of Superior and Wells.

It would be wonderful if this were the new standard for bike lanes in Chicago. Details like this matter, and changes like this give us hope for a safer city for all of us. We're seeing all the great improvements, CDOT: Keep it up!

Have you noticed any other signs of hope for bicyclists and pedestrians in your neighborhood?

1 comment:

  1. This post was edited today to reflect that the new pedestrian signs on Wells Street are south of Division Street, not south of Chicago Avenue, as previously stated.