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City Implements First Ever Pedestrian Safety Plan

Pedestrians

Pedestrians in downtown Chicago. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Better traffic signals and speed bumps could be coming to your neighborhood, with the city’s first ever pedestrian safety plan now in effect.

As CBS 2’s Kris Habermehl reports, you may have noticed walking the streets of Chicago that pedestrian crosswalks have been upgraded, and new marking systems for pedestrians have been set up.

The changes in the “Zero in Ten” program are the result of public meetings that were held last year between the Chicago Department of Transportation and the City of Chicago. Safety improvements are being made after the meetings, and some of the hundreds of suggestions already have been implemented, while others have been stockpiled for use in the future.

There are 250 recommendations in all.

Better-marked crosswalks, pedestrian islands on multi-lane streets, and pedestrian countdown timers at more crossings are among the changes, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Midblock speed bumps on residential streets are also under consideration, the newspaper reported.

The study that precipitated the plan indicates that 80 percent of crashes between pedestrians and vehicles occur in and around intersections, and 16 percent of those crashes are fatal.

Back in July, the city began mounting signs in the middle of crosswalks saying “Stop For Pedestrians Within Crosswalk.” They have appeared on high-traffic thoroughfares such as Diversey Parkway, Stockton Drive and Clark Street.

A state law passed in 2010 requires drivers to stop for pedestrians who are walking in crosswalks, not simply yield, even if the pedestrian is crossing against a “don’t walk” signal. Pedestrians are legally not allowed to enter a crosswalk unless they have a “walk” signal, or if there is time for a car on the cross street to stop.