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Second Person in One Week Killed After Exiting Vehicle Under Kennedy


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The crash site. Image: Google Street View

This morning, a truck driver was fatally struck after he exited his vehicle following a minor crash on Division Street by the Kennedy Expressway. It was six day after a similar tragedy only four blocks north, at North Avenue and the Kennedy.

Last Saturday morning, Kim Kyeyul, 72, was driving a car on North, just east of the expressway, when he rear-ended a semi truck. Kyeyul got out of his vehicle to talk to the truck driver, who was stopped in the outside lane of the four-lane road. He was then struck and killed by a second trucker who was attempting to pass.

Today around 6:30 a.m., a male truck driver pulling a dump trailer was involved in a minor collision with a female minivan driver at Division and the northbound offramp of the Kennedy. Names have not been released. The trucker, believed to be in his thirties, got out of his vehicle to take pictures of the damage.

He was then struck by another truck driver’s rear wheels as the second trucker turned east onto Division from the offramp, according to fire department spokesman Larry Langford. The victim died at the scene. The second truck driver, who was unhurt, remained at the crash site. The car driver was also uninjured, but she witnessed the fatal collision and was traumatized. She was taken to Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center for evaluation, authorities said.

In the wake of the crash, state police closed all the expressway ramps on Division for several hours. The Chicago Police Department’s Major Accidents Investigation Unit is looking into the case.

Fatality Tracker: 2014 Chicago pedestrian and bicyclist deaths

Pedestrian: 10 (4 were hit-and-run crashes)
Bicyclist: 0

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Omaha Gets Serious About Transit

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There are plenty of reasons why Omaha, Nebraska, isn’t known for being a walkable, people-friendly city. It has one of the lowest bike commuting rates in the country. In a vote last year, Streetsblog readers crowned a location in Omaha as America’s worst intersection.

But there are some signs that the city is moving in the right direction. Omaha launched a B-Cycle bike-share system in 2012 that, while it started with only five stations, has been slowly expanding. Bike commuting has increased 125 percent since 2000.

More ambitious changes are on the agenda now that the city has unveiled a transit plan with the potential to make the city a more walkable, urban place.

A “preferred alternative” developed by the city of Omaha and the local transit agency calls for an eight-mile bus rapid transit route, estimated to cost about $33 million, as well as a 3.25-mile modern streetcar line, estimated to cost $140 million. The city is applying for a TIGER grant to help fund the BRT plan.

The streetcar will run through downtown Omaha, between “north downtown” to the University of Nebraska Medical Center. The BRT will share much of the same route but extend several miles further west, past the medical center. The BRT will run on both dedicated and mixed-traffic lanes and will include signal priority.

In public meetings, planners emphasized that the enhanced transit lines would help downtown become a “park-once” district, where people would not have to drive between destinations. With less pressure to supply parking, more land could be developed. Planners estimate that the transit lines could spark as much as $1 billion in new development, leading to an increase of 8,500 jobs and 3,150 residents downtown [PDF].

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Be a Streetsblog Superhero and Give to Our Spring Pledge Drive

We’ve all seen the graphs: Driving and car ownership have passed their peak in America, while transit ridership and biking are on the rise. On the ground, however, city buses still move at a crawl, bogged down in traffic. Most streets remain too dangerous for most people to feel comfortable biking on them. And the traffic death toll continues to put our cities to shame compared to our global peers.

Streets aren’t going to fix themselves. Every street redesign is a fight, and every proposal to shift subsidies away from cars and driving meets stiff resistance. If you follow Streetsblog and Streetfilms, you know it takes a lot of smart, committed people to make change happen. By connecting people to information about what’s going on with transportation and planning policy in their communities, we’re accelerating the transition toward safe, efficient, equitable streets.

We need our readers to pitch in so we can keep on delivering the high-quality reporting and videos you expect. Please make a tax-deductible contribution to our spring pledge drive and help us reform the cars-first status quo on our streets.

Every month more than 200,000 people come to Streetsblog and Streetfilms. So for this pledge drive we’re asking you to step up and be a superhero. Out of hundreds of thousands of readers, we need just 400 donors to reach our goal — will you be one of them? We now accept both one-time gifts and recurring donations (think of them like a monthly subscription payment to Streetsblog), and you can direct your contribution to support the Streetsblog site of your choice.

As always, we have a few extra reasons for you to give. If you make a donation before Tuesday at midnight, you’ll enter a drawing to win this nifty hip pack made from recycled bicycle tubes, courtesy of Montrose Stitchery:

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Thank you for reading and for supporting Streetsblog and Streetfilms.

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Driver Who Killed Woman in Austin Charged With DUI, Hit-and-Run


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The crash site from the driver’s perspective.

Maurice McDowell, 32, has been charged with fatally striking Jennie Davis, 64, on Easter Sunday and then fleeing the scene. Around 9:40 p.m., Davis was crossing the street at 5532 West North in the Austin neighborhood, a block north of her home on the 5500 block of West Lemoyne, police said. It is not known which direction she was walking, according to Officer Michael Sullivan of News Affairs.

McDowell, of the 1800 block of South 10th Avenue in Maywood, was driving west in a 2013 Ford Focus, Sullivan said. According to witness Sheila Davis, the driver hit a parked car before striking Davis, who flew up in the air, ABC News reported. The victim was taken to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, where she died from her injuries, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

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McDowell’s car. Image: ABC News

After the crash, McDowell did a U-turn and drove away. His unoccupied car was found shortly afterwards on the 1500 block of North Laramie, a few blocks east of the crash site. After police arrested him, he was charged with three felonies: aggravated DUI causing injury or death, leaving the scene of the accident causing injury or death, and failure to report an accident or death. McDowell was also charged with a parole violation in connection with a previous offense. He was due to appear in bond court Wednesday.

“[Jennie Davis] didn’t deserve this,” neighbor Lula Beck told ABC. “She was a wonderful lady. She’d help you if you needed something to eat, she’d feed you. If you needed a place to stay, she’d give you a place to stay.”

Community members said speeding is common on this stretch of North, ABC reported. Resident Janice Harris said Davis is the third person she’s known who was struck by a car on the street. “They need to put up cameras,” Sheila Davis said.

Fatality Tracker: 2014 Chicago pedestrian and bicyclist deaths

Pedestrian: 9 (4 were hit-and-run crashes)
Bicyclist: 0

 

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Mapping the Link Between Geography and Opportunity

The Regional Plan Association's new "jobs access map" shows the relationship between geography and access to economic opportunity. Image: Regional Plan Association

The Regional Plan Association’s new “jobs access map” shows the relationship between geography and access to economic opportunity. Image: Regional Plan Association

They call it “spatial mismatch” — when people are separated from job opportunities by long commutes, poor transit connections, or other geographic obstacles. How places contribute to, or thwart, economic opportunity is an increasingly hot topic, but still not entirely understood.

Today, Data Haven’s Data Blog explains how the Regional Plan Association’s recently released jobs access map uses newly available Census information to visualize what’s happening:

The interactive tool also allows you to look at where you can get to by car, public transportation, or bike, not to mention filter by travel time, desired industry, and worker education level.

From the New Haven Green, you can walk to about 90,000 jobs within an hour commute. From the Milford Green, you can walk to about 16,000. From the Branford Green? About 3,000.

The issue of metropolitan opportunity, which is highlighted in these maps, has an enormous impact on our economy, housing, well-being, and ability to be a sustainable and resilient city. Looking at the map, it is easy to see the importance of our transportation infrastructure and land use, and how it relates to issues of affordability (transportation is generally the second-largest household expense, after housing).

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Today’s Headlines

  • Many Parallels Between Today’s Fatal Wicker Park Crash and Saturday’s (Tribune)
  • Driver Who Killed Cyclist Efrain Diaz-Torres May Have Ignored Stop Sign (Kevenides)
  • IL Infrastructure Is Getting Better, But It’s Nothing to Write Home About (Crain’s)
  • Arena Decides Not to Bring Back Metered Sundays After All (DNA)
  • Reilly: Throw the Book at Crooked Valet Parking Operators (Sun-Times)
  • Council May Raise Fines For Chicago Drivers Who Register in ‘Burbs (Sun-Times)
  • DUI Stings in Englewood & Back of the Yards This Weekend (DNA)
  • Gabe Klein: Mode Shift Can Be Induced With “Carrots” & “Sticks” (Atlantic Cities)
  • Chicargobike Checks Out PBLs in Florence, Italy
  • Woman Takes a Slow Ride, Takes It Easy, on a Low-Geared Divvy (Freeman)

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Banning Pedicabs on Downtown Streets Could Strangle the Industry

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Antonio Bustamante at today’s Wrigley Field anniversary celebration. Photo: Matt Green

Members of the recently formed Chicago Pedicab Association say they can live with various rules and fees imposed under a proposed ordinance to regulate the city’s burgeoning pedicab industry. However, they maintain that the ordinance’s restrictions on where and when they can work downtown would drive them out of business.

In May of 2013, 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney introduced the ordinance regulating the licensing and operations of pedicabs to City Council, arguing that such legislation was long overdue. Tunney’s Lakeview district includes Wrigley Field, a popular place for pedicab operators to pick up customers.

After discussion of the ordinance with other aldermen, city departments and members of the pedicab industry over the last year, the legislation is finally moving forward. A joint hearing by the Committee on License and Consumer Protection and the Committee on Transportation and Public Way will take place next Tuesday, April 29, at 12:30 p.m. in the City Council chambers. The full council may vote on the ordinance that Wednesday at its 10:00 a.m. meeting.

“While pedicabs are a unique and green transportation option for residents and visitors to our city, they remain one of the few business activities not licensed under city code,” Tunney said in a statement. “While many pedicabbers are good, safe operators, we need to ensure proper licensing, consumer protection and public safety.”

The ordinance would require operators to obtain a license, at a cost of $250 a year, plus a $25 decal for their vehicles, which would have to meet safety standards, including being equipped with seatbelts. Pedicabbers would need to carry liability insurance and post their fare structure on their vehicle, instead of negotiating the price before or after a ride. The number of operators in the city would be capped at 200.

The dealbreaker for the pedicab association members is a provision banning them from operating during rush hours in the Loop, defined by the river, the lake and Congress, or from riding at any time on State or Michigan, between Congress and Oak. In his statement, Tunney says that the ordinance will help “improve the flow of safe traffic on our congested streets.”

CPA board member Antonio Bustamante argues that pedicabs don’t contribute to the problem of traffic jams downtown, and at ballgames and festivals. “There’s congestion to begin with,” he said. “We’re able to get in and out of congestion much easier because we fit between the traffic lane and parked cars, and we can get around stopped cars. We’re definitely part of the solution.”

Although Bustamante says pedicabbers can make good money working at special events like Cubs and Blackhawks games, he says the downtown tourist districts are their bread and butter. Numerous tourist attractions are located on State and Michigan, and he argues it’s virtually impossible to navigate the downtown grid without using these streets, since they’re the main two-way, north-south thoroughfares.

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State Interference in Nashville BRT Could Have National Implications

Annie Weinstock is the regional director for the U.S. and Africa at the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy.

Nashville's BRT project, the Amp, would devote a small amount of this asphalt to transit. Photo: ITDP

Nashville’s BRT project, the Amp, would devote a small amount of this asphalt to transit. Photo: Wikimedia

Last week saw the quiet death of the misguided, Koch brothers-funded Tennessee Senate Bill 2243, which would have effectively banned real bus rapid transit in Tennessee. The Senate’s outrageous overreach, attempting to prohibit transit from using dedicated lanes, was conferenced with a far milder House bill, and the compromise allows the use of separate lanes — including the center-running transit lanes the Amp BRT project intends to use. However, the bill requires such projects to get approval from the state legislature, even if they don’t use any state funding.

The compromise deal still spells trouble for the 7.1-mile Amp BRT line, but it sets a far less dangerous precedent than the Senate bill. The Senate’s version, one of the most anti-mass transit pieces of legislation in recent memory, would have hurt Nashville and other Tennessee cities environmentally, socially, and economically.

-Cleveland’s HealthLine BRT, a median-aligned silver-standard corridor on Euclid Avenue, has leveraged 5.8 billion in development, while the city’s contribution to the project was only 200 million. Photo: ITDP

Cleveland’s HealthLine BRT, a median-aligned silver-standard corridor on Euclid Avenue, has leveraged $5.8 billion in development, while the total cost of the project was only $200 million. Photo: ITDP

But even though the Senate bill did not fully succeed, this coordinated attack on high quality transit could still have national implications. When the Tennessee Senate first took up the bill, it raised eyebrows nationally for its unusually specific prohibition on “any bus rapid transit system using a separate lane, or other separate right-of-way, dedicated solely to the use of such bus rapid transit system.” Such a direct attack on BRT from a state authority is unprecedented, and is a clear threat to the ability of one of Tennessee’s major cities to remain competitive.

The U.S. is still woefully behind European, Asian, and Latin American cities in building modern and efficient transport innovations such as BRT and bike-share. In the past decade, U.S. cities have finally been waking up to the fact that in order to be modern and economically competitive, they have to make their transportation systems cleaner, more attractive, and more efficient. With much of the electorate opposed to increased taxation, cost-effective BRT represents one of the few areas where the U.S. has made progress.

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Big Cuts in Store for Seattle Transit After Voters Reject Ballot Measure

It looks like Seattle’s Prop 1, the ballot measure that could have fended off major cuts for Seattle transit, did not win a majority of the votes in yesterday’s election.

Counting will likely go on for a while now, but early returns show Prop 1 failing by about 10 points. Passage would have prevented Seattle Metro from cutting 17 percent of its service, secured through an additional annual $40 car registration fee and a 0.1 percent sales tax hike.

As Martin Duke at Seattle Transit Blog put it, “The impact will be most severe on the transit-dependent, but commuters of all modes, businesses in dense areas, clean air and water, and public health are all losers.”

Shane Phillips at Better Institutions says state leaders are at fault for deliberately structuring the tax to undermine transit:

The ultimate blame for this failure lies with the state legislature, with it’s Republican-led house, which denied the County the right to adopt more progressive (and more popular) revenue measures. As a result of their failure of leadership, King County had no choice but to propose a regressive, unpopular car tab fee paired with a sales tax increase, and here we are.

Meanwhile, Duke says public officials have to make the most of a bad hand:

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Today’s Headlines

  • Pedicabbers Say New Ordinance Would Put Them Out of Business (Sun-Times)
  • Lakeview Property Owners Sound Off on the CTA Flyover (DNA)
  • 1 Killed, 3 Injured When Van Driver Crashes Into CTA Bus (Tribune)
  • Left-Turning Van Driver Fatally Strikes Cyclist in Roselle (CBS)
  • Driver Charged With DUI After Killing Female Pedestrian in Austin (DNA)
  • 5 Injured When Police Chase Ends in Crash in Roseland (DNA)
  • Man Fleeing Site of a Domestic Dispute Strikes 2 Officers With Car (Tribune)
  • Chicago Gets Relatively Low Ranking for Pedestrian Deaths Per Capita (Vox)
  • Groupon, REI, Peace Corps Recognized in Bike-Friendly Business Awards (LAB)
  • Ari Emanuel Is Part of the “Entourage” of Uber Investors (Sun-Times)

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