Tag Archives: CDOT
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.
On Friday, Chicago’s Department of Procurement released the documentation for the Request for Proposal (RFP) for the city’s automated speed enforcement program.
The winning bidder would get an initial five year contract with the possibility of three 2-year contract extensions. The contract would provide the winning company a minimum of 25 and maximum of 300 speed camera locations, with no more than 50 speed cams installed in the first year of the program.
Spring Bridge Lift Delayed Due To Lock Repairs
During a typical Chicago spring, local sailboat owners begin bringing their high masted sea vessels from storage, and down the Chicago River back to Lake Michigan in mid-April.
But this year, sailboat captains have been delayed due to ongoing repairs of the Chicago Lock by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.
“Generally, we’d have probably had a couple (bridge lifts) already,” said Chicago Department of Transportation spokesperson Peter Scales explaining about the lock repairs. “It just pushed it back a week or so.”
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the intersection at Stony Island Avenue at South Chicago Avenue is area’s most prolific producer of vehicle crashes with a total of 63 in 2010.
The newspaper makes the case that this particular intersection is extraordinarily confusing. Most drivers who have experienced this busy multi-roadway confluence would concur.
The article quotes DePaul University transportation scholar, Professor Joseph Schwieterman.
Chock full of errors.
That’s essentially the takeaway from a Chicago Tribune story published Monday that reveals how unreliable Chicago crash data is or at the very least, has been.
The Tribune compared crash data for Chicago from the Illinois Department of Transportation against crash data from the City of Chicago itself.
In many cases, usually the most crucial areas of measurement, the two entities were at odds.
According to the Trib report, the root of the problem comes from errors in how crash reports are filed. The story says an IDOT audit of Chicago’s procedure shows 30% of crash reports filed by Chicago police officers were erroneous with 70% of the reports missing critical information.
The Expired Meters Highlight Curious Numbers On Traffic Safety
Monday, the Committee on Pedestrian and Traffic Safety released data from the Chicago Department of Transportation to aldermen who had requested the information during last Wednesday’s hearings on the pending speed camera ordinance.
The reports were released late Monday afternoon, giving city council members just over a single day to pour over the information before a potential vote on the speed camera ordinance when the full Chicago City Council meets Wednesday morning.
This information was “shared” with The Expired Meter, so as a public service, this site will post the entire report and share some of the more interesting numbers to gain some insight into what is shaping up to be a divisive policy.
Hide & Seek With Numbers
“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics,” 19th-century British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli famously said.
An apt expression to be sure when it comes to Chicago pedestrian crash data.
Some Alderman Voice Fears At Speed Camera Hearings
Despite many questions and aldermanic reservations, the Chicago speed camera ordinance passed out of the Committee on Pedestrian and Traffic Safety Wednesday evening.
On a voice vote, despite a smattering of nays, the ordinance moves for debate and a vote before the full city council next week.
At the start of the hearings, committee chair Ald. Margaret Laurino (39th) announced some more changes to the ordinance just before introducing Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein.
The major alteration would be lowering the fine from the originally proposed $50 to $35 for exceeding the posted speed by 6-10 mph. The fine of $100 for exceeding the limit by 11 mph or more would remain intact.
Another change to the proposed ordinance would be for the purposes of improving traffic safety, the city would be divided into six safety regions in order to insure the maximum 300 (20% of the total possible safety zones and less than originally estimated) speed camera locations which would be allowed under the law, to be distributed equitably citywide.
In addition, an advisory committee of citizens, CDOT staffers and aldermen would have input on where cameras would be installed.
“All we’re asking people to do at the end of the day is obey the law,” said Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein during the hearings.
A simple request on its face.
But some Chicago City Council members expressed a smorgasboard of concerns over the now renamed “Children’s Safety Zone Ordinance.”
Total Crashes Unchanged In Before & After Study
This has been the question since red light cameras were first introduced to Chicago intersections under the auspices of improving traffic safety back in 2003.
And now, with City Hall trying to use the claims of safety improvements from Chicago’s red light camera system to rationalize adding speed enforcement to city streets, understanding RLC effectiveness may play into the debate.
The city has always contended its RLC enforcement program has been an overwhelming success and touted its safety benefits to sell the public on the idea of building an equally expansive speed camera system here.
Critics, many of them victims of the $100 camera fines, believe red light cameras are about revenue and not safety.
But a study conducted by the Chicago Department of Transportation on the effectiveness of the city’s red light camera program seems to undermine the city’s own position on the safety benefits of the RLC enforcement.
The study obtained from CDOT through a Freedom of Information request by The Expired Meter, seems to show either amazing safety gains, or mixed results or at worst, safety declines depending on who you listen to.
CDOT did a study of 96 intersections utilizing RLC enforcement and compared crash data for each intersection for two years before the cameras were installed with crash data for the two years after installation.
Do you live near or drive through where Chicago could install speed cameras?
The answer is most certainly “Yes!”
The Expired Meter has, via a Freedom of Information request, obtained the list of the 79 locations of red light camera intersections which qualify for speed camera status by their 1/8 mile proximity to a school or park.
And guess what? There’s a probably a speed camera coming to an intersection near you!
Two Year Project To Be Completed By End Of 2012
The City of Chicago’s “Revive Wacker Drive” plan to reconstruct both levels of Wacker Drive officially enters the second of its two years as it begins work on the two level street at Monroe and Adams starting Monday, January 9th.
This means come Monday, both Monroe and Adams will be closed to thru traffic (from Canal to Franklin) until sometime this summer, while Madison Street will finally be open to all traffic–vehicular, bicycle and pedestrian.
The Madison Street/Wacker Drive intersection stage of the project was just completed after being closed since July 4th to traffic.
The next phase begins Monday, January 9th where the project moves southward once again when work will be started on both levels of Wacker Drive at the Monroe and Adams Street intersections.
“Our crews continue to work efficiently to meet the demands of a very aggressive construction schedule,” said Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein regarding the continued on-time and on-budget construction project. “We will maintain that same level of efficiency in 2012 so that motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists can again have full access to this vital roadway and the businesses that surround it.”