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Safety Improvements Made at Chicago Intersection After Fatal Pedestrian Incident

Pedestrians crossing a busy street in Chicago.

Traffic in Chicago is always on the go. It doesn't just involve motorists; it involves pedestrians and bicyclists who share the roads with motor vehicles. Without safety improvements to the city's infrastructure, pedestrians and bicyclists face the risk of being hit by negligent drivers.

The Chicago bicycle and pedestrian accident attorneys see the devastation every day. We have handled far too many cases where a bicyclist or pedestrian gets seriously injured, or loses their life, due to negligent driving. We're committed to fighting for the rights of injured bicyclists and their families and support any measures to improve Chicago's roadway infrastructure. That includes the recent addition of protected bike lanes on Milwaukee Ave.

How a Fatal Hit-and-Run Prompted Safety Improvements at a Chicago Intersection

A fatal hit-and-run in July at the intersection of Winona Ave and Broadway in Uptown Chicago has prompted significant safety improvements in the area. Soyfa Athamanah, age 69, was struck in an east-west crosswalk at this intersection, which had previously seen only partial safety enhancements.

This particular intersection is notably complex. Prior to this fatal hit-and-run, a pedestrian island was installed only at the south leg of the crosswalk. This left the north leg unprotected due to an unnecessary turn lane. Athamanah's death sparked a response from the local community. Just two days after the incident, a protest named #ChiCrosswalkAction took place at the site. Participants demanded better safety measures for pedestrians and bicyclists.

In response to these calls for action, local Alderman Matt Martin (47th Ward) announced—in partnership with Alderman Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth (48th Ward)—the beginning of the Broadway/Winona Pedestrian and Cyclist Safety Improvements. The Chicago Department of Transportation designed the project, which included the addition of:

  • A new refuge island on Broadway's north leg.
  • West side curb extensions.
  • A raised crosswalk across Winona west of Broadway.

Recently, Alderman Manaa-Hoppenworth confirmed on Twitter that the construction is complete.

"Every week we see safety improvements in the 48th Ward which will benefit pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers. Every intersection in Chicago should be safe to cross regardless of the zip code. Thank you @ChicagoDOT"

— The 48th Ward — Alderwoman Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth (@the48thward) December 11, 2023

How Will These Safety Improvements Help Save Lives?

The new pedestrian island significantly enhances the north crosswalk's safety. It encourages drivers to stop for pedestrians. Similarly, the curb extensions shorten crossing distances, and the raised crosswalk on Winona enhances pedestrian comfort.

While these improvements help improve safety, there's still more work needed. Further enhancements, such as a raised crosswalk on Broadway for east-west pedestrian traffic, could help improve safety. However, such changes might inconvenience drivers and require more political effort to implement.

The raised bike lane on Broadway, a relatively new concept in Chicago, is a notable feature. However, many bicyclists seem unaware of its presence. Adding green paint could increase its visibility and reduce potential conflicts with pedestrians. However, issues still persist, like a recent incident where a semi-truck blocked the north leg's east side crosswalk, posing challenges for certain pedestrians.

Contact a Chicago Pedestrian Accident Lawyer From Keating Law Offices

If you're a pedestrian who was hit by a car, it's important to understand your rights. These types of cases are often highly complex. You could face mounting medical bills and possible lifelong expenses, while you're out of work and unable to earn a living. You deserve full compensation for your losses.

The attorneys at Keating Law Offices know how serious pedestrian accidents can be. Our skilled legal team will defend your rights and ensure that you get the justice and financial compensation you deserve. We would be glad to learn more about the incident that led to your injury and help you explore your potential legal options. To learn more, contact us online or call 833-CALL-KLO to schedule a free legal consultation.

Keating Law is a sponsor of Streetsblog Chicago.

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