Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Pedestrian Deathtrap in Lakeview

This 6-cornered mega-pedestrian- deathtrap at the intersection of Clark, Halstead, and Barry is familiar to everyone who lives or shops in Lakeview. This intersection has been very dangerous for many years and calls to city officials have produced no results.

I timed the traffic signals here on my watch and pretty well determined that there's no way someone elderly or mobility-impaired can make it across either Clark or Halstead on the time allocated. Because you're crossing the street diagonally, the walk is longer. Most people can barely make it across on the WALK light even when trotting briskly.

Additionally, traffic on Clark turning right onto Halstead, from either direction, tends to be driving much too fast, and worse, it's easy not to notice pedestrians crossing on the green at the same time you're turning because the obtuse angle of the intersection eases you into the turn without requiring you to slow down to make the turn safely. Motorists tend to turn right without braking at all.

There are so many built-in flaws here that the only way to assure pedestrian safety is to have a WALK only signal for all directions simultaneously, as is done at Clark, Diversey, and Broadway, with simultaneous red lights that permit no turning in either direction, so that pedestrians have an opportunity to cross without encountering vehicles turning corners at top speed.


Fargo said...

This intersection is a nightmare in so many different ways. One night I was riding my bike home from the Loop and turned from northbound Clark onto northbound Halsted. Some jerk was illegally parked by the Domino's. Just as I was passing his car, he flung open his door without looking, launching me sideways into the middle of the street. I was grateful that the driver behind me had good reflexes and a conscience. She stopped quick and stayed there, putting her flashers on and blocking traffic so nobody could run me over. Then she yelled at the jerk who doored me. I had a broken tailbone from the impact to remind me of that accident for the rest of the summer.

I've had other scary moments there, but managed to avoid impact. That intersection has tested my reflexes and riding skills way too many times.

The North Coast said...

Motorists who fling their car doors open without looking are a huge hazard everywhere. Sometimes they get their proper comuppance, as when some loser flings his door wide just as the bumper of a CTA bus is even with his door, and gets the door ripped off. I always find this highly entertaining even though the busdriver is usually not amused, what with an accident report to write and an "interview" with her station manager in the offing. But it's funny to see the look on the face of the motorist.

Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention specifically even though I implied it- the WALK light there needs to be much longer. You need longer lights at diagonal intersections, because the walk is longer. These days, I try to walk down to Wellington to cross.