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2016 Is on Track to Be a Deadlier Year for Chicago Pedestrians Than Usual

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With 29 pedestrian fatalities in nine months, Chicago is on track to hit about 39 deaths in 2016, higher than the average of 35.4 since 2010.

The number of Chicago pedestrian deaths this August was 67 percent higher than the average for the last several years, and 2017 is shaping up to be a deadlier-than-average year for people on foot, according to data from local officials.

At a Mayor’s Pedestrian Advisory Council meeting on Wednesday, deputy transportation commissioner Luann Hamilton discussed the latest Chicago pedestrian fatality numbers, based on preliminary data from the Chicago Police Department. Seven people were fatally struck within the city while on foot in August of this year, compared to the average of 4.2 pedestrian deaths for the that month between 2010 and 2016, according to official data from the Illinois Department of Transportation and the CPD.

Hamilton added that Chicago saw 29 pedestrian fatalities from January through September of 2017. (I had tallied 18 pedestrian deaths so far this year in Streetsblog Chicago’s Fatality Tracker, since our numbers are based on news reports rather than police data, which isn’t readily available to the public. I've requested the remaining 2016 pedestrian fatality reports from CDOT and will update the Fatality Tracker with this info if I receive it.)

“That’s close to what we would normally have at this time of year, if you want to call it normal, people dying in the streets,” Hamilton said. However, 29 deaths through September means we’re on track for 39 fatalities for the year, which is actually higher than the average of 35.4 deaths in recent years.

On the positive side, no people on foot were fatally struck within the city in September, while the recent average for that month is 3.6 deaths. I also saw no news reports of pedestrian fatalities in October, although Hamilton didn’t provide the CPD number for that month.

“Is there any speculation for why we got so lucky in September,” an attendee asked? Hamilton was unsure, although another CDOT staffer noted that Chicago pedestrian fatalities have tended to taper off during the fall during the most recent years.

The data also showed that August has had the highest average number of pedestrian fatalities, while January has the lowest. Weather may be a factor for this, since more people choose to get around by foot in warm months than in cold ones.

Here’s are CDOT’s descriptions of the seven August pedestrian fatalities, with links to the Fatality Tracker posts for cases that were previously reported by other news outlets.

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Mayya Medovaya was fatally struck by a right-turning UPS driver while crossing Peterson at Central Park. Image: Google Street View
    • August 11 – 3601 S. Wells Ave. – 3:50 P.M. – During an altercation in a parking lot, a female motorist, age unknown, struck the other party to the confrontation with her car door, causing the second party to knock over an elderly female bystander, age 82, leading to her death. The driver then fled the scene.
    • August 20 – 4545 W. Cermak Rd. – 8:45 P.M. – A female motorist, age 21, was traveling eastbound on Cermak when she fatally struck a male pedestrian, age 60, who was crossing midblock. The motorist was cited for failure to yield to a pedestrian.
    • August 22 – 3600 W. Peterson Ave. – 4:46 P.M. – A male delivery truck driver, age 62, fatally struck a female pedestrian [Mayya Medovaya], age 79, who was crossing in the crosswalk with the signal when he made a right on red.
    • August 23 – 6300 W. Devon Ave. [news footage of the crash aftermath indicates that the crash actually occurred several blocks east of this address] – 7:05 A.M. – A female motorist, age 39, was driving westbound on Devon and fatally struck a female jogger [Cynthia Tatman], age 56, running in the roadway (Devon has no sidewalks in this area which passes through Forest Preserve District of Cook County property).
    • August 22 – 4056 W. 16th St. (alley) – 9:42 P.M. – An unknown motorist fatally struck a male pedestrian, age 45 [Jessie Rosales], while he was walking in an alley. The motorist then fled.
    • August 28 – 7900 W. Belmont Ave. – 2:38 A.M. – A male motorist, age 48, was traveling westbound on Belmont when he failed to reduce speed and fatally struck a male pedestrian [Krzysztof Wlostowski], age unknown, crossing the roadway.
    • August 31 – 1900 N. Austin Ave. – 11:40 A.M. – A male motorist, age 61, exited his vehicle to fix a mechanical issue. While he was working on the front of the vehicle it started forward, fatally striking the driver.

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