Nearly two dozen organizations have asked the Illinois Department of Transportation and Governor J.B. Pritzker to use funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to improve safe and accessible transportation for everyone.
So far this year, 31 pedestrians and cyclists have been killed in a traffic accident, according to city data. Additionally, there have been more than 1,800 injuries and of those injuries, 390 pedestrians and cyclists were left incapacitated.
“Our roadways are designed to facilitate speed, to move cars from A to B as quickly as possible,” said Amy Rynell, executive director of the Active Transportation Alliance. “That is in conflict with people who walk to get around places, with buses and with cyclists. It makes the road a lot more dangerous for people who aren’t inside a multi-ton vehicle.”
She said that there are opportunities on the state-level to change policy and priorities around making streets safer. One example, she said, would be to reduce traffic lanes and build in raised crosswalks and protected bike lanes.
Vision Zero Chicago is an initiative led in partnership with the Chicago Department of Transportation to eliminate fatalities and serious injuries from traffic crashes.
“We measure success by the quality of life we create for our residents,” said David Smith, the Complete Streets Director of the Chicago Department of Transportation. “Transportation, mobility, accessibility is a huge part of a successful city.”
Smith said that CDOT is using $20 million of funding from the multi-year infrastructure plan Chicago Works to implement more protected bike lanes and also engage with communities on traffic safety and encouraging people to drive less.