The Chicago Department of Transportation has stated that, in a decade's time, it wants to reduce the incidence of deadly car crashes while dropping the number of fatal accidents involving pedestrians and bicyclists to zero. While some may suggest that those aims are ambitious, the transportation commissioner expressed optimism that they could be achieved with the proper methods.
In a 100-page planning document called Chicago Forward, the city lays out a strategy for lowering the number of car and truck accidents and making travel on our roads safer. One measure would place numerical countdowns for pedestrians alongside traffic signals at some of the city's busiest intersections. Another would increase the length of time people have to walk across the street by three seconds.
Drivers might have to sacrifice speed for the sake of safety as well. The plan includes a proposal to reduce the speed limit in residential Chicago neighborhoods to 20 miles per hour. Bicyclists would start to see more designated lanes for themselves. Under the plan, the city would install approximately 100 miles of bikeways over the next three years and would also add 10 miles of bike lanes per year on city streets.
Other parts of the plan would improve various aspects of transportation infrastructure around the city, including bridges and train lines. Still others would seek a more rapid response to pothole repair. The proposed changes come weeks after the Illinois Department of Transportation released a list of the 20 intersections in Chicagoland most prone to car accidents. These proposed measures may help to decrease the traffic injuries and deaths that can devastate a family emotionally and financially.
Source: Chicago Sun-Times, "Chicago unveils wide-ranging transportation plan," Tina Sfondeles, May 11, 2012.