Today’s Headlines

  • Lincoln Parkers Along Lakefront Less Likely to Own Cars (Bike Walk Lincoln Park)
  • Chicago Will Regulate Uber, Lyft, SideCar Drivers (Tribune)
  • CTA Clarifying Ventra Account Messages At Turnstile (Red Eye)
  • SUV Driver Hits And Kills Man in Aurora, Says She Didn’t See Him (The Southern)
  • Little Village Man Dies After Being Hit By SUV Driver, Who Also Didn’t See the Victim (Tribune)
  • Three Children Hurt in 1:30 AM Car Crash in Fuller Park (Tribune)
  • Driver Hits Pothole and Crashes SUV Into Animal Hospital (DNAinfo)
  • Man Peeking Over to Find Blue Line Train Hospitalized After He Fell On Tracks (Tribune)
  • Are CTA Trains Dirtier Now That They’re Getting Cleaned Less? (CTA Tattler)
  • New Metra CEO Can’t Take Train To Work Due to Infrequent Schedule (Tribune)
  • Chicago Police Officer Wrongly Codes Bike Crash Report, Prompting Insurance Fight (My Bike Advocate)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • CL

    Wow, so much carnage this weekend — a combination of the weather and Super Bowl? And that’s not even counting the crash in Logan Square, that injured 8 people, this morning. The photos from that one are brutal.

    When people say they “didn’t see” a pedestrian, I honestly assume they were looking at their phones. Pedestrians do jaywalk in front of cars, unexpectedly, in the dark — I’ve yelled “aaahhhh what are you doing??” and slammed the brakes many times. But if you’re looking, you almost always have time to stop unless someone is trying to get hit by a car.

  • duppie

    Did anyone notice that the Ventra readers in the buses appear to have been replaced by different models over the last month or so? The newer models have a pretty good read to error ratio, compared to the older models.

    I guess the days of free bus rides are now behind us …

  • what_eva

    What I see a lot is left turners finding a gap in oncoming traffic, then turning into that gap without checking for peds.

    I’ve been guilty of that myself as a driver, checked for peds early, had to wait for a gap, when a gap shows up, start turning, oh @#%, I didn’t recheck for peds.

    As a ped, however, I’ve seen drivers just make the turn and not even paying attention for peds at all. I’ve nearly been hit a couple times that way.

    The Aurora one doesn’t mention a turn, the Little Village one does, but doesn’t specify direction.

  • Your story is a reason why cities with better traffic crash records (like many in Netherlands) allow left turns only on signal.

  • Did they change appearance?

  • CL

    Yeah, I’ve definitely done the same thing. Turning left is so tricky in some spots that you end up just worrying about the timing to the point where you don’t notice if new pedestrians have entered the intersection. I think I’ve blocked oncoming traffic a couple of times after I’ve started to turn, then realized there were new pedestrians entering the crosswalk.

  • what_eva

    Exactly. A better driver like you or I catches it and stops and merely ends up being an a-hole to the oncoming cars. A bad driver (or as you alluded earlier, a distracted one on the phone) doesn’t see the ped.

  • SP_Disqus

    I had not thought about this benefit of the left turn ban on Ashland that is proposed with BRT. If Ashland becomes a much more pedestrian orientated street, it will definitely be nice if you don’t have to worry about cars making left turns while crossing the street.

  • what_eva

    The problem with that idea is that it requires room for left turn lanes at such intersections. There are plenty of signalized intersections on smaller streets that would be hard pressed to have enough space for a left turn lane.

    eg, that makes perfect sense at intersections of major arteries like Western or Ashland with Belmont or Irving, but doesn’t work so well at Damen/Berteau.

    What do such cities do in neighborhood situations? ie outside the central core where streets are more likely to be large enough to have turn lanes.

  • For neighborhood situations there’s less likely to be a signal. There are still intersections without a left turn signal but I’ve mostly seen these at very small intersections (geometrically).

    Here’s a common neighborhood situation in Amsterdam, on the street where I stayed last. There’s 1,790 feet between signalized intersections, far greater than the not-uncommon density of signals less than 700 feet apart in Chicago (like every block from Division to North, inclusive).

    The street has one travel lane in each direction, one shared bus-tram-taxi lane in each direction, cycle tracks in each direction, parking lane in each direction, and sidewalks in each direction.
    http://goo.gl/maps/FcwpB

    At the intersection, any driver is allowed to use the “HOV” lane from which to turn left (I’m pretty sure…).

    There are no stop signs either on that stretch. The part of Berteau Avenue that was converted to a neighborhood greenway had ONE stop sign removed. I believe that ALL could be removed without harm to pedestrian or bicyclist safety. The narrowest part, between Damen and Ravenswood, is sufficient traffic calming. Bumpouts at each of the intersections would make the pedestrian crossing about 17 feet.

  • Alex_H

    A distracted driver on the phone IS a bad driver.

  • duppie

    I think the shape of the reader box changed, making me believe they changed out the hardware, not just updated the software and the labels glued on top.

    I remember, because during the change over (December- January time frame) my success rate was a lot higher on the new readers than the old ones. I haven’t seen an old reader for a while now.

  • CL

    Or they get really close to the pedestrians and try to intimidate them into running out of the way, like the pedestrians are doing something wrong. That just happened to me when I walked to lunch. If you screw up, just own it and wait… acting like I’m the problem just makes me continue at my leisurely pace.

  • I’ll keep an eye on this. I take the bus to the Merchandise Mart for hack night now (it’s pleasant to just sit there and because of high frequency buses and trains between 5 and 6, it’s faster than biking from Avondale).

  • what_eva

    That still sounds like a pretty wide street (4 travel lanes, 2 parking and 2 cycle tracks), as opposed to Damen which is 2 travel lanes and 2 parking lanes in North Center.

  • Take a gander at the side streets, though. No stop signs or signals with the arterial and no stop signs or signals with other side streets.

    Raised intersection, so crosswalks don’t need to be marked, not even a yield sign (because every intersection implies this based on the rules of the road).
    http://goo.gl/maps/QzAxO

  • Anna Schibrowsky

    That animal hospital is just north of the Belmont entrance/exit on the Kennedy. I wonder if the driver exited, made the required stops and turns, and then accelerated toward expressway speed because street speed felt too slow. It seems like you’d have to be going pretty fast for a pothole to send you careening through the parking lane and over the sidewalk to strike that building.

  • I had a close call with another car this afternoon (coming out of a McDonalds driveway; he was entering) because the sun was right in my eyes at the precise moment I entered the sidewalk, and he was in shade. I didn’t think I was going to have obstructed view, because as I was approaching the road my roof was shading my eyes; I looked and committed, and suddenly had a glare and momentary bright/dark blindness, and luckily braked reflexively when it happened because the next thing I saw was a car making a sudden left into the driveway in a way that would have put me in his quarterpanel if I hadn’t braked. Never saw him.

  • High_n_Dry

    Didnt the previous ED say the same thing? Is this in Metra’s mission statement? “We’ve lost a lot of that public trust and we’ve got to earn that back.”

  • CL

    That sounds scary — but you did the exact right thing. When you can’t see, you have to stop. And if I’m in a spot where it’s impossible for my vision to improve (like if something is blocking my view) I just inch very slowly, like when I’m backing out of a parking space, until I can see.

    The only time I truly didn’t know what to do was when I was driving on Lake Shore and I got caught in a heavy downpour. The rain was so bad that I couldn’t see at all for a moment — I’m sure it was only seconds, but it seemed longer. Normally when I can’t see, I just stop, but I was afraid to stop suddenly (because presumably the person behind me also couldn’t see, and what if they hit me?) and afraid to keep going. I just slowed down even more and hoped the person behind me was doing the same thing.

  • Ryan Wallace

    I ride numerous routes and I have not seen any change to the readers. There has definitely been several software upgrades.