Eyes on the Street: A New Raised Crosswalk on the Dearborn Protected Lane
A year or two ago the Chicago Department of Transportation installed a short raised crosswalk by the Goodman Theater entrance, 170 North Dearborn which doubles as a speed bump for the Dearborn two-way protected bike lane, one of the city’s busiest bikeways. This was done to facilitate pickups and drop-offs of theatergoers, as well as to make it easier for people to walk from their car parking spots to the playhouse.
Now CDOT is trying a similar strategy on Dearborn just north of the Chicago River bridge, but this time the project is a little more ambitious than the small bump of asphalt by the Goodman. The sidewalk extensions and a raised crosswalk are constructed of concrete, and the pedestrian distance is significantly shortened.
It’s a good project in general, since it makes crossing to attractions like the corncob-shaped Marina City towers and the House of Blues safer and easier, but it also reflects our city’s car-centric priorities. I certainly don’t mind slowing down at the raised crosswalk on my bike to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk. But the raised section doesn’t extend to the two travel lanes. No person on a bike has ever fatally struck a pedestrian in Chicago, whereas drivers kill dozens of people on foot in our city each year. Why aren’t motorists given a speed bump here as well?
And while we’re on the subject of dangers to vulnerable road users, will CDOT ever fix the dozens of manhole covers that are sunk an inch or two below the asphalt further south in the protected lanes? They’re a significant hazard and hassle for cyclists as well.
Update 6/29/18, 2:45 PM:
According to CDOT spokesman Mike Claffey, there’s no cost estimate for the raised crosswalk project yet, since the department is trying to determine whether it can be rolled into the federally funded repaving of Dearborn that took place last year. Claffey stated:
The intent of the project was to bring the crossing into ADA compliance. The new design greatly improves pedestrian safety by increasing visibility, shortening the crossing distance, and calming traffic. We have not installed raised crosswalks on multi-lane arterials, however we have several planned for upcoming neighborhood greenways.
He also provided the following additional information, quoted below: