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by crandell | 01/28/2010
I noticed the other day that CDOT had adjusted traffic lights at a couple intersections on my street to give pedestrians a few seconds head start to begin crossing before cars get a green light. This is called a Leading Pedestrian Interval, or LPI (check out this Streetsblog video about LPIs). This is one of those many progressive things I've read about other cities doing and wished I'd see at home. So I'm happy to see this tool being used in Chicago as the city learns that pedestrians should be the priority on our streets.
by crandell | 09/18/2009
I thought it was time to revisit the Queen's Landing crosswalk following last month's approval of the updated Central Area Action Plan. You may recall that this crosswalk connecting Buckingham Fountain to Lake Michigan was closed back in July 2005. Well, slipped in among the costly major infrastructure projects outlined in the plan is a small item about a crosswalk with a $500,000 price tag. No massive overdone bridge over LSD as had been discussed following the crosswalk closing -- just a simple way to cross the street at Queen's Landing and restore a critical connection between the Lake and Grant Park. A bridge or an underpass would be an over-engineered and overpriced solution to getting people across the street.
by crandell | 06/16/2009
Blair Kamin has given some much needed attention in the Tribune to the street design issues outside the new Modern Wing of the Art Institute: Art Institute's Modern Wing: Getting there can be risky. He points out the increase in jaywalking on Monroe as visitors from Millennium Park try to find the shortest route to the Modern Wing, and he suggests a mid-block crosswalk to remedy the problem. What's troubling is the City's response:
by itakethetrain | 07/20/2007
You've probably noticed that some of our crosswalks around Grant and Millennium parks have gone missing over the past couple years. The crosswalks were closed in the name of improving traffic flow. The idea is that if we can get some of those pesky pedestrians out of the way, cars can move more easily. Of course, if we really wanted to improve traffic flow, we should close down Millennium Park -- with it's over 2 million visitors a year, it's a constant source of traffic congestion.
This is, of course, sarcasm. But it is indeed this strain of logic that justifies destroying public spaces in an attempt to "improve traffic flow." And sadly, in its attempt to improve traffic flow, the city is actually causing even more traffic by trying to pack even more cars into downtown.