Pedestrian islands make walking across a street safer and easier. At signalized intersections, they allow individuals who might have trouble crossing the street in a single walk cycle, such as people with disabilities, seniors and parents with small children, to make a partial crossing and then safely wait for the next cycle. At unsignalized crosswalks, they allow everybody to cross half of the street when there’s no oncoming traffic to the left, and then wait safely until the coast is clear on the right. However, Chicago drivers sure dish out plenty of abuse to these concrete refuges.
The Chicago Department of Transportation installed this island at Chicago and Hoyne in Ukrainian Village in 2009. Drivers knocked out the diamond-shaped pedestrian sign on the island in the above photo on at least two occasions. More recently, CDOT replaced that sign with a “Stop for Pedestrians Within Crosswalk” placard, which is designed to bounce back up when struck. When I dropped by Monday, that has also been torn out of the brickwork, and several bricks were missing from the corner of the island.