Our colleague, Jonathan Rosenfeld, a car accident lawyer in Chicago, recently was really enthusiastic about a new program adopted by the city to make things safer for those who walk on city sidewalks and cross streets in in the ‘Windy City’. Chicago recently unveiled an aggressive plan to make the streets safer for pedestrians. Hoping not just to reduce the fatality rate of pedestrians but wanting to eliminate it all together, the city’s transportation chief has proposed 250 specific changes that strive to accomplish this goal. Hopefully, by recognizing this dangerous problem, Chicago officials seem to be on the right road to implementing solutions.

Zero in Ten Program

The initiative is being called the “Zero in Ten” program; the title is referring to its goal of having zero pedestrian deaths due to auto accidents in the next ten years. In 2011, the city released its findings from a study of pedestrian crashes that happened in the years 2005-2009. The new initiative is partly based on the findings of this study, which helped identify issues that were currently linked to injury and fatality accidents involving pedestrians. Although the program has an aggressive and lofty goal of eliminating pedestrian fatalities in Chicago, the proposed changes cannot be implemented overnight. The 250 recommendations do have a price tag attached and need funding to be made a reality. Some of the changes that were highlighted in the program include:

  • Identifying two high crash areas or corridors each year to add safety measures to reduce crashes.
  • Using pedestrian countdown signals, lagging left-turn lanes and adding red light or speed cameras to dangerous intersections.
  • Better marked crosswalks, pedestrian islands on multi-lane roads and speed bumps and reduced lane sizes in residential neighborhoods

The funding is expected to come from a variety of sources. For some projects, the cost is being added to existing resurfacing projects already in the works. It also may be passed on to developers when looking at doing road improvements for development projects. If the program is to be successful, it will need an annual budget to complete the projects.

Pedestrian Safety Improvements

By addressing the issue, Chicago is headed in the right direction to reduce and hopefully eliminate pedestrian deaths. In the study of pedestrian accidents released in 2011, Chicago had already seen a decline in fatalities. 2009 had the fewest number of fatalities, 34 total, then any other year in the last fifteen. There were 88 in 1994, and the number seemed to trend downward after that. The new measures could ensure this trend continues. Making the streets of Chicago safe for all pedestrians should be a priority for all Chicago residents. After all, at one point or another, everyone who lives in Chicago uses the streets on foot, on bike or in a vehicle, so it is everyone’s responsibility.

Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers
33 North Dearborn Street, #1930
Chicago, IL 60602
(847) 835-8895

      — Jonathan Rosenfeld

Guest post from Attorney Jonathan Rosenfeld

Author Photo

Paul d’Oliveira

Attorney Paul d’Oliveira has been practicing personal injury and disability law for over 30 years. He started his personal injury law practice in 1989 with two offices in Fall River, MA and East Providence, RI. Today his firm has 16 offices in RI and Southeastern, MA.

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