Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Reminder: Cars kill people.

According to an article in today's RedEye (an outlet of the Chicago Tribune), there were fifty-six pedestrians killed in traffic accidents in Chicago in 2008. As the article points out, there are a LOT of pedestrians in this city. Chicago was named the 4th most walkable city in America by the organization Walk Score, and I can vouch for the awesome walkability of my own neighborhood.

But even at the small intersection I have to cross to reach the El, or the Asian groceries nearby, motorists don't give a damn about pedestrian safety or the right of way. When pedestrians get their long-awaited walk signal, cars taking left and right turns hover like panting dogs, waiting for you to cross, inching closer and closer to your fragile human body with their giant steel-framed monster. And those are the nice people. Many motorists decide to take their chances, and dash out for a screeching left turn before you've taken three steps.

And don't get me started about the Garfield Red Line, where commuters determined to catch the next bus have to cross literally six lanes of expressway-bound traffic.

Yeah. So it's not difficult to imagine people getting killed. As the Department of Transportation spokesman said, "The most difficult part of this is changing driver behavior."

The article is informative and lays out several ways the city is working on reducing pedestrian deaths. Check out the particularly sneaky move in which undercover police officers, posing as pedestrians, pulled over and issued warnings to motorists who failed to yield to them. I would have paid money to see that shit.

2 comments:

lyndorr said...

"When pedestrians get their long-awaited walk signal, cars taking left and right turns hover like panting dogs, waiting for you to cross, inching closer and closer to your fragile human body with their giant steel-framed monster."

Wow, I thought my city was bad enough. Or maybe there's just a lot of cars going straight and so the turning cars don't usually do that. When they occasionally come that close, I feel like they didn't even see me until they're right in front of me but who knows. Maybe they just think it's their right to turn as much as possible if there are no cars going straight that are going to hit them.

Anonymous said...

No, at the Garfield stop they have to cross "literally six lanes of expressway-bound traffic.". They traffic is not literally expressway bound.

Furthermore they have a cross walk and a light, so they do not have to cross traffic at all.