Sunday, November 08, 2015

The Culture of Respect for Pedestrians

Streetsblog national pointed me to a zoom able Mapping 10 Years of Fatal Traffic Accidents.

I looked at Edgewater, of course. It was not as bad as I was prepared for. It was certainly better than our neighbors in Rogers Park and the Devon international market corridor. Before I discuss those I want to highlight something that jumped out at me: the upscale north shore.

From Wilmette to Highland Park the only traffic fatalities are on the Edens Expressway. This is so odd to me that I wondered if there had been some deliberate data manipulation. I hope not. Because otherwise it suggests that traffic fatalities are strongly influenced by wealth. That would be good because wealth is a socially determined reality.

Now lets look at Rogers Park and Edgewater:

For me what stands out is the preponderance of pedestrian deaths in Edgewater. Granville, Broadway and Sheridan deaths in the middle of an area devoid of automobile deaths jumps out.

Rogers Park is worse. Way too many pedestrian deaths are clustered there.

We all know that Sheridan Road and Broadway constitute a corridor designed to feed Lake Shore Drive. This map makes stark the reality of that corridor's traversing a natural pedestrian environment. I think it is evident that those two streets especially are over built for cars and under built for pedestrians.

The other natural pedestrian street, the Devon international market corridor is even more tragically stark. I really hope the recent street scaping changes on that street improve its deadly history.

For further contrast lets look at Evanston.

Excluding the western panhandle of Evanston there was only one pedestrian traffic fatality there in the last 10 years.

Evanston in the last few years has been especially aggressive at asserting pedestrian rights. Sheridan road through Evanston has three or four signed crossings that appear to be stop signs until you take the time to read them. In the latest iteration of those signs they have provided red flags for pedestrians to clutch in their hands to wave down approaching cars to demand that they take notice and stop.

It's a cultural education that is working.