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Pedestrian fatally struck at Chicago/DLSD, which has stoplights, but no east-west crosswalks

Perhaps it would be wise to install a pedestrian crosswalk or two at the intersection in the future.

The pedestrian underpass north of Chicago Avenue on the west side of DuSable Lake Shore Drive, a location that has stoplights for drivers, but no east-west crosswalks for pedestrians. Image: Google Maps

Tragically, this morning a driver struck and killed a man who was trying to cross all eight lanes of DuSable Lake Shore Drive near Chicago Avenue (800 N.), an intersection that has stoplights, but no surface-level pedestrian crossing.

According to the preliminary police report, on Tuesday, October 17, at about 5:25 a.m., two men were attempting to cross DLSD on foot on the 800 North block. The police report mentions that the men were "not in a crosswalk."

Looking east at the Chicago/DLSD intersection, which has stoplights, but no east-west crosswalks. Image: Google Maps

This intersection has stoplights in all directions to accommodate drivers entering and leaving the drive. But there are no east-west crosswalks here because pedestrians aren't supposed to cross to and from the lake at this location. That must be confusing to some Chicago visitors trying to walk to the lakefront from Streeterville.

That's in contrast to several other downtown intersections where drivers can enter or leave the highway, and pedestrians and bike riders are also permitted to cross in a crosswalk with a "Walk" signal. Unfortunately, that system isn't perfect either. In February 2022, a driver ran a red light and fatally struck technical consulting engineer Gerardo Marciales, 41, as he rode a Divvy bike in a crosswalk to cross DLSD at Balbo Drive (700 S.)

The ghost bike memorial for Gerardo Marciales at Balbo/DLSD looking east, as it appeared in August 2022. Image: Google Maps

According to today's police statement, a southbound BMW X-3 SUV driver, a 63-year-old male, struck one of the two men crossing DLSD at Chicago Avenue. He was taken to nearby Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The Cook County medical examiner's office has not released his identity, pending notification of kin.

The other pedestrian was not struck or injured, according to CPD.

The driver was also uninjured, and stayed on the scene, police said. He was taken to Northwestern due to panic symptoms.

Image of the collision from the traffic crash report, indicating that the victim was in the easternmost southbound lane, near the center of the road.

The traffic crash report provides additional information.

The victim lives less than a mile from the crash site in Streeterville, while the motorist lives in Lincoln Park a few blocks from the drive, according to the report. (Streetsblog generally does not publish the names or residential blocks of people involved in crashes unless the police and/or the medical examiner's office have publicized them.)

The crash report says the driver was cited for failure to exercise due care for a pedestrian in the roadway.

The lakeside entrance to the pedestrian underpass just north of Chicago Avenue, looking north. Image: Google Maps

The narrative on the report states that when the responding officers arrived at the crash site, they observed several cars stopped in the southbound lanes of DLSD. The victim was lying on the road with Northwestern Hospital nurses administering CPR on him.

The victim's friend told the officers that he and the victim had been hanging out on the lakefront "and later decided to cross the medians and enter the lanes of traffic," the report stated. They cleared the northbound lanes, but the driver, who said he was on the way to work, driving southbound struck the man who died.

An overhead view of intersection shows the underpass as light-colored pavement across DLSD. Image: Google Maps

Sadly, the crash could have been avoided if the men had used the pedestrian underpass just north of Chicago Avenue. Perhaps it would be helpful to make that route more obvious with large signs on each end saying something like "Pedestrians Use Underpass to Cross DLSD."

On the other hand, walking downstairs to use one of FLSD's many underpasses, which in our city are often dim and/or unsanitary, and then back upstairs to street level, may be considered an unattractive option. In addition, the Chicago Avenue underpass has staircases, rather than ramps or elevators for ADA compliance, and you can't ride a bike down to or up from the tunnel. So maybe it would be wise to install an east-west pedestrian crosswalk or two at Chicago/DLSD in the future.

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