CHICAGO (CBS) — Brighton Park neighborhood residents reached out to CBS 2 with complaints about an intersection they call high-risk.
They told CBS 2’s Tara Molina that every weekend, the city changes the traffic lights to flash red – only making things worse.
Molina took their concerns to the city Monday night.
The traffic lights at Archer and Kedzie avenues were running normally on Monday night. But from Friday through Sunday, people who live in the area say they flash red – and they call the switch an accident waiting to happen.
“Archer and Kedzie is always busy,” said Kim Serritos. “Pedestrians can’t cross the street.”
Serritos has seen the close calls.
“I have a neighbor who’s blind,” she said, “and he was trying to cross the street, and he couldn’t.”
She lives right down the street, and for weeks, she said she thought these lights at Archer and Kedzie were broken.
“Friday afternoon, about 2 o’clock, it goes from a working traffic light to just red,” Serritos said. “It just blinks red.”
So she asked the city for a fix.
“I put in a 311 request,” Serritos said.
So did 259 other people, with 260 complaints filed about the intersection since July 3 – all 311 calls for service.
Most of them were canceled the city, because it just so happens that the light is not broken.
Chicago Police asked for the weekend switch.
“Finally last weekend, we got confirmation that this is part of some sort of crime reduction strategy by the Police Department,” said Ald. Ray Lopez (15th).
The Chicago Department of Transportation confirmed it to CBS 2 as well.
Lopez said a semi-trailer truck hit two cars at the intersection over the weekend, and it’s bound to happen again.
“You’ve turned an already dangerous intersection for pedestrians into an even more dangerous intersection,” Lopez said.
So with the plan to keep making the switch through the summer, Lopez is calling on specialized traffic enforcement at Archer and Kedzie when the lights switch from Friday through Sunday.
But he said he has not heard back from Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications.
“They need to make sure that we have personnel out here to direct traffic, to ensure safety not only of people driving, but our seniors; of our children,” Lopez said.
A CPD representative said in a statement: “The safety of our residents is CPD’s top priority. The Chicago Police Department employs many different strategies to combat and prevent violence, and works with other City agencies with the goal of saving lives.”
We’ll check back in to see if any other traffic enforcement is possible when the lights switch to flashing red again Friday.