The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) today unveiled newly installed safety treatments in one of the 1,500 Children’s Safety Zones, demonstrating the various tools the City will install to increase the safety of children around schools and parks.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has charged CDOT with implementing Children’s Safety Zones to ensure that when children are traveling to and from school or their neighborhood park that they are as safe from vehicular traffic as possible.
“Protecting our youngest pedestrians around parks and schools in imperative, and making our streets more safe and pedestrian friendly is our priority,” said CDOT Commissioner Gabe Klein. “Our safety zone program will improve safety around these community anchors and encourage more pedestrian activity among children.”
Klein visited the Claremont Academy Elementary School at 2300 W. 64th St., which is located in one Children’s Safety Zones. CDOT is initially installing traffic calming devices in zones with histories of a high number of crashes involving pedestrians and children.
In the three years between 2008 and 2010, the safety zone around Claremont Academy experienced 32 crashes involving people under 18 years old, 16 crashes involving bikes or pedestrians, one of which resulted in a serious injury. About 18,000 vehicles pass by the school on 63rd Street per day.
The area around Claremont has now been equipped with a number of traffic-calming and pedestrian safety tools like those which will be installed in safety zones citywide as funding is available.
The “toolbox” includes:
Next year, the Children’s Safety Zone program will also utilize automated speed cameras to enforce the posted speed limits in some of the designated safety zones within 1/8th of a mile from parks or schools. The locations of the speed cameras, whose placement is capped at 20% of the zones, will be determined early next year.
CDOT recently published the Chicago Pedestrian Plan, which identifies new citywide programs and policies to improve pedestrian safety through education, engineering and enforcement. The plan can be found on the project’s website www.chicagopedestrianplan.org.
Chicago experiences roughly 3,000 crashes annually between motor vehicles and pedestrians, about 800 of which involve children. The plan reaffirms CDOT’s goals of reducing serious pedestrian injuries by 50 percent every five years and eliminating pedestrian fatalities within ten years.
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