Wacker Dr. Mannequins Promote Pedestrian Safety
That’s how many pedestrians were killed in vehicle crashes in Chicago in 2010.
And that’s the number of mannequins, each sporting a black T-shirt with white and yellow ink bluntly stating “1 of 32 Pedestrians Killed Last Year In Chicago,” which stand alone or in pairs along Wacker Drive in downtown Chicago.
The mannequins stand as sentinels along the Chicago River on West Wacker Drive, between Clark and State Streets, as part of an installation to kickoff a pedestrian campaign Tuesday.
“Pedestrians are the most vulnerable users of the public way,” said CDOT Commissioner Gabe Klein speaking adjacent to the installation. “This campaign is specifically designed to change the behaviors that lead to pedestrian crashes.”
Klein spoke earlier in the day at a press conference where representatives from the Chicago Police Department, Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) were also on hand.
But the mannequin display is just the front line of a media campaign that will also see messaging on bus shelters, trash cans and trash compactors, and even stenciled on sidewalks in high traffic areas for pedestrians around the city.
While there were 3000 plus crashes involving pedestrians in 2010, pedestrian casualties has been declining according to CDOT. But Klein’s goal is to have zero pedestrian fatalities by 2020.
“Chicago deserves kudos for its highly creative campaign to raise awareness of pedestrian safety,” said David Strickland of the NHTSA which provided a grant for this campaign. “All over America, local jurisdictions are launching innovative initiatives to protect pedestrians, including stepped-up enforcement and improvements to roadway infrastructures. NHTSA strongly supports these vitally important measures.”
CDOT put together the Chicago Pedestrian Plan website with more information on the campaign and their comprehensive plan to improve pedestrian safety.
Departing the installation in the early evening, a pedestrian trying to cross against the light just west of the mannequins, slipped and fell on the wet pavement half way across Wacker Drive.
A car zipped by nearly hitting the pedestrian before he scrambled back onto the relative safety of the cement median.
A pair of human forms in black T-shirts looked on silently.