City Emphasizes Pedestrian Safety With New Signs
Over two years ago, state law changed.
Since Illinois Public Act 096-1165 passed in April, 2010, drivers are supposed to stop anytime a pedestrian wants cross the street at a crosswalk.
Not just at stop signs or traffic lights.
But anywhere a crosswalk exists. No signs needed and the crosswalk doesn’t even need to be marked.
Since then, the law has done little to change the behavior of drivers toward pedestrians. With no state or local money appropriated toward actually informing or educating the public of the law change or even police enforcement, the vast majority of drivers still speed by corners where pedestrians patiently wait for a break in the traffic.
But now, the City of Chicago is finally doing something to promote this law and educate the public as the Chicago Department of Administration has recently begun installing signs at select crosswalks reminding drivers to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk.
On Tuesday afternoon, Chicago Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein and 43rd Alderman Mary Ann Smith were on hand at the corner of Diversey and Wilton in Lincoln Park, to unveil one of 50 of these signs being installed city wide.
Smith’s traffic congested North Side ward will have the most of these first 50 crosswalk signs with 13. The cost of these signs comes out of each ward’s annual menu money and are installed at the request of aldermen after CDOT reviews the request according to CDOT spokesperson Pete Scales.
Despite the fact the law has been on the book for over two years, Klein believes these crosswalk signs are a good first step and will help educate drivers about the law.
“They’re (the signs) are really about education,” said Klein as one driver behind him did not heed the sign, refusing to stop for a female pedestrian trying to cross Diversey. “They’re a reminder.”
Ald. Smith agreed when asked if the signs would actually work.
“We’ve seen an immediate impact on Cannon Drive,” said Smith about a location where signs were installed earlier and near where a young girl was killed by a driver a few years ago. “(Lincoln Park) Zoo workers have been very appreciative of the signs.”