E-DEMOCRACY | What should be done to improve the safety of 26th and 28th St?

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From: Kathy Shaw Date: Oct 10 14:37 UTC

I am wondering what others experience and opinions are in regards to traffic and safety issues around the 26th/28th street corridors.

Mary proposes fewer lanes like recently has be done to Park and Portland. I have heard talk of changing these corridors into two way streets.

I live on the west side of Chicago and know that the situation is really hard on my quality of life. Anyone else care to discus this?

Kathy Shaw

From: Anna Leahy Date: Oct 10 16:55 UTC

I thought those were pretty safe streets. The biggest problem I have is bikes coming the wrong way down 26th in the middle of the street. I’d say it needs a bike lane, but they’d still be going the wrong way. I don’t know why.

From: Mary Matze Date: Oct 10 18:44 UTC

I would definitely be interested in exploring further options — like bike paths and two-ways. I’m actually more pro having a two way than street improvements like Park and Portland. From what I understand, the folks organizing for Park and Portland wanted a two-way as well, but Public Works decided that ultimately two-ways couldn’t handle the volume of traffic they need to move through the city.

These streets are dangerous for anyone who isn’t in a car. I have almost run over people, dogs, and cyclists because I can’t see them when they are trying to access the street. I have almost been run over my self when on foot (I jog on them almost every morning) and bike (trying to access the greenway). Last winter, my partner was bumped by a car trying to turn on to 28th, just after having a major surgery.

From: Kathy Shaw Date: Oct 10 20:46 UTC

Wow, your partners experience if one of my most constant fears. Almost weekly people try to turn across 2-3 lanes of traffic to get into the hospital and almost hit me. Some times they come to a sudden and complete stop in the middle lane. There is clearly a lot of patients and families who are to overwhelmed to be driving safely around the hospital campuses.

Trying to teach my kids to bike by the rules of the road has been very difficult. We had trained American League of Cyclist’s doing bike pick up for Youth Farm this summer. They found the biking and traffic situation so scary in they ended up riding on the sidewalks and along the Greenway edge between Columbus and Chicago to get out of here.

With all of the continuous construction in the area the streets are often operating at reduced capacity. At shift change and rush hour I find that the last 5 blocks to get home can take as long as my entire trip outside of the neighborhood. People block the boxes in the intersection, refuse to yield to other cars and people in the crosswalks. I try to plan my occasional driving to other times but that is not always possible. Heavy snow fall has actual result in my giving up on getting off my block and the trip around the 1 ways took me over an hour to return home.

I can tell what time it is at my house, 3 doors off of 26th by the sounds of horns and angry drivers at the corners of Columbus and Chicago.

We have heavy trucks that come of the loading dock that use our alley and Columbus to avoid the mess. The conflict between cars exiting with out looking or crossing 3 lanes is terrifying.

I am not sure what can be done. Reducing lanes feels to me like I would pay a greater price for living here. As a cyclist I would love to be able to follow the rules of the road without risking life and limb. I don’t think the major employers, their employees and customers will be reducing their car usage anytime soon. Both roads are being use to move large amounts of commuter traffic east and west myself included. It drives me nuts some days.

Are there any solutions?

Kathy Shaw West Phillips

From: Anna Leahy Date: Oct 12 00:41 UTC

Wow, I’ve never had any of these problems as a driver or a pedestrian! And I would never ride my bike on streets that busy in the first place. If I have to cross them I walk.

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From: William Bryant Date: Oct 12 14:36 UTC

Thanks to all for a good discussion on this important topic. Yes – something certainly needs to be done to make the crossing at the intersection of 11th Avenue South and East 26th Street, by Stewart Park, much safer.

For our 11th Block Club, we have been concerned about the speed of the cars on East 26th street as they pass by the Park. It has become a very fast One-Way Raceway at times.

The new Soccer Field is a huge success. But with that success has come more pedestrian traffic that attend those games and other activities, which are independent and are not associated with any Andersen School activities. Usually in the evenings and on weekends.

We would like to see a Pedestrian Crosswalk at that intersection, with green striped lines and flashing green lights, to draw attention to drivers to slow down as they pass the park. There should be more street signs indicating that there is a School and Playground Area ahead. We also welcome a Bike Lane and any other ideas to help calm down the traffic as it passes by Stewart Park. Our Council Member, Gary Schiff, has expressed support for these ideas and has stated that he will do his part to initiate measures for changes to improve this dangerous situation.

On Sunday evening, September 30th, a little 4-year old boy named Jose Manuel Rodriguez was attending a soccer game with family and friends at Stewart Park. Apparently, the little boy ran out into traffic on East 26th Street, chasing after a ball and was struck by a car. He died the following day as a result of his injuries. A Walking Vigil is planned for this Sunday, October 14th, at 2 PM. A copy of that flyer is attached for more information (both in Spanish and English). Please attend if you can.

We acknowledge that these measures may not have saved the life of that little 4-year old boy. That answer is unknown to us. The Police have stated that speed was not a factor, nor were there any drugs or alcohol involved in this case. However, we do know that cars will travel at the speed limit of 30 MPH and even faster to past thru the stoplights posted at 12th and 10th Avenues.

But had there been a flashing Pedestrian Crosswalk, School Crossing Signs, Park & Playground Area Ahead sign, or even a Bike Lane, it is possible that this driver and future drivers, will then need to slow down and pay attention to this busy area, to watch out for people crossing and children playing around the park area.

Let’s unite as a Community to find working solutions to this problem. That will be our lasting tribute to the Rodriguez family in memory of their little 4-year boy, Jose Manuel.

William E. Bryant, Member 11th Avenue Block Club

The following file was added to this topic: Jose Rodriguez – Walking Vigil – Oct 14th.pdf (496KB)

From: Kathy Shaw Date: Oct 12 16:34 UTC

What speed would that be? Over 3O?

I can see a defined crosswalk as a improvement. Since the soccer field went in I have worried about wandering kids along the edge of the street. Perhaps some fencing with an opening at the crosswalk.

We have three flashing pedestrian lights on Chicago at 24th, mid block between Children’s and the Clinic and at 27th. 27th is the worse. What I have seen is often people don’t activate the lights. Cars often don’t stop. Pedestrians cross the street inside and outside the crosswalk. A busy bus stop with cars that swerve blindly around the stopped traffic with only two lanes there. People enter the mix from the pick up and drop off in front of the McDonalds. With out barriers to limit people to the crosswalk and drivers who are willing to stop across 4 lanes or reduced road surface I would still be uneasy to have my kids cross there.

I also would go back to my point in my previous letter. A good deal of commuter traffic routinely block the intersections at Chicago and Park. I see it 10th Ave at shift change also. Would they not do this at 11th?

Does anyone know what the street will be like when construction on the Mother Baby unit is open? Are they installing a flashing light at Elliot?

Not sure where a bike lane could fit in with ramps flowing on and off 26th on both sides of the road.

A change I would like to see is the removal of parking along the south side of 26th to accommodated the valet service line up that occurs.

I don’t travel much during the morning hours along the park so what I was hoping someone would share what the situation is like as people all flow in to work and the hospital.

Last of all does any one else find it difficult to travel in and out of our neighborhood with Franklin, 26th/28th and Lake all so heavily used?

Thanks for sharing.

Kathy Shaw

From: Anna Leahy Date: Oct 12 16:55 UTC

They’re still a lot better than Lake street.

From: Robert Albee Date: Oct 13 12:16 UTC

It is time for each of the neighborhoods to begin traffic & safety assessments that identify all dangerous and problematic intersections. Our issues are on 24th Street between 11th Avenue & 13th because of the semi trucks and school buses parking there blocking views for parking lot ingress/egress and children crossing from 12th Avenue to the Phillips Community Center. Also issues at 11th Avenue and 21st – 22nd Streets. There’s probably many more for us to pinpoint. Bob Albee

Sent from my iPad

From: Marie Przynski Date: Oct 13 15:58 UTC

Living in Phillips Midtown, I have experience the following:

1) 24th Street, between Chicago and 13th Avenues is the most problematic – mostly due to the parking congestion, (drivers coming out of the lots have to pull into the street as they can’t see around all the parked cars), the double parking to hold conversations, the taxis that double parking for 20 minutes (I ran an errand and the same cab was there upon my return), drivers ignoring the stop signs, pedestrians congregating in the streets, parked vehicles closer than 30 feet from intersection, parkers blocking the allies and driveways, and now that there are much needed parking relief on Eliot, and 10th, this has pushed those concerns issues further to the east, (can’t go south due to hospitals/clinic and their parking concerns); with parking now extending down 24th Street to the east (Mixing with Community Center traffic concerns), the additional traffic/parking congestion on 11th, 12th and 13th (between Franklin and 26th), a competition between renters/home owners and shopping visitors (Thankfully I have alley parking, but there are days that it would be nice to park in the front). And then we add the extra traffic for the community center as described earlier

2) 26th Street and 11th Avenue – as noted earlier – access/egress to park/community center – kids constantly dashing back/forth across street, some of them little tykes – I like the idea of a fence, but not the opening – can pedestrians be directed towards 10th or 12th to cross with the lights.

3) Cedar Avenue, Franklin to Lake – the Hiawatha entrance and Highway 55 entrance/exit are great for getting around, but coming off the freeway to Hiawatha and then onto Cedar is problematic, mostly due to the light timing. There is such a small space between lights, that traffic is always a mess, and making a right turn to go southbound on Cedar (on red light) is almost impossible, not to mention that only 3-4 vehicles can turn right on the green before the light at 24th stops them – maybe changing the light sequence ?

4) we should be preparing 24/Bloomington – the two new senior communities that are almost complete – this will generate additional foot/vehicle traffic, and do we need to consider a longer light, perhaps left turn lane (if enough space), etc.

5) the entire “hospital” row travel situation should be reviewed – I try to avoid the area (especially at rush hour) – traffic is at such a crawl, and I truly understand why they have a cop there to assist at the afternoon rush hour (but to be clear he or she is only there to facilitate exit from the ramp onto the street), and the congestion/flow is cumbersome and snail paced.

5) 5th Avenue between 28th and Franklin – most congestion between 26 and 28th with 27th the most problematic (absolutely crazy with 27th closed due to road construction); during rush hour with the Wells Fargo employees getting out of the ramps, and then travelling – it’s when they travel northbound to get to 94/35 entrance, the street is too narrow, and causes traffic to jam up all along the route while opposing direction vehicle navigate around each other and parked cars, and at 24-25th we have the senior high rise, and additional parking added in to make a real mess.

So we have 24th, 26th, 28th and Lake all a mess (don’t hear much or experience Franklin Av enough to comment) – with cross streets of Portland, Park, Chicago and Cedar Av also – I can truly understand the need for a neighborhood “redesign” of the traffic flow.

Marie Przynski, Phillips Midtown

See thread here.

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