CHICAGO (CBS) — A rented Ferrari was flying down Lake Shore Drive this past weekend when it hit a barrier and goes up in flames.

The incredible crash was caught on camera this weekend along the infamous S-curve near the Oak Street Beach. The two men in the car were not seriously injured, but the same cannot be said for some others who have been in accidents at the very same spot this year alone.

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CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot did some digging Monday and found that even though fewer cars are on the road these days – and there have been 2,500 fewer crashes citywide this year compared to this same time last year – that stretch of Lake Shore Drive is as dangerous as ever.

In fact, there have even more injuries there compared with last year.

On Saturday, that fiery crash involving a Ferrari happened at the S-curve near Oak Street on northbound Lake Shore Drive.

Lake Shore Drive Ferrari Crash

(Credit: Chicago Fire Department)

On Sunday, there was another crash at the same spot, this time heading southbound on Lake Shore Drive.

Two crashes, in two days.

From Jan. 1 to Nov. 29, there have been 199 crashes at the curve. One person has died, and 32 people have been injured.

In 2019, 30 people were injured and one person died. In 2018, 24 people were hurt.

“It’s a safety factor,” said Stephen DiPadua. “For decades, it has been spoken about to straighten out the curve.”

DiPadua is a top realtor in the Gold Coast and Streeterville and a member of SOAR, the Streeterville Organization of Active Residents. He has called Streeterville home for nearly a decade.

DiPadua took part in a survey done by Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) this month about the safety of the Lake Shore Drive S-curve.

“Everyone needs to think of four critical things – safety, functionality, quality of life, and values,” DiPadua said. “All of those four components make everything better for the entire community – safety first.”

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Since May, a viewer who lives above the curve has sent us numerous photos and video of accidents taking place here during the pandemic.

“Fewer cars on the road means speeds can be higher, and this curve is very deceptive,” said Ald. Hopkins.

Ald. Hopkins says high speed has played a big role in crashes like the ones this weekend.

“We know people have been driving recklessly and taking chances as they navigate this curve – and it’s a dangerous thing to do,” Hopkins said.

He said as part of his “Redefine the Drive” initiative, he is gathering public input to smooth out the curve and create about 60 acres of green space.

“Funding is the big challenge, but there’s no question for the need,” Hopkins said. “It’s something we absolutely have to address. We’ve been trying to get this off the drawing board and on to the list of approved projects for a long time.”

The project, primarily federally funded, would cost about $300 million to straighten out the S-curve and create park space from Chicago Avenue to North Avenue along the lakefront.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Department of Transportation on Monday released the following statement about safety on the Oak Street S-curve and plans for improvements.

“Safety is our number one priority, and this location has a reduced speed limit of 25 MPH and extensive warning signage and pavement markings including reduce speed signs, flashing beacons, reduce speed pavement marking lines and skid resistance pavement.

“In addition, IDOT and CDOT are in the midst of a planning study – the Redefine the Drive project – that is intended to improve safety throughout the limits of the project, from Grand to Hollywood with a focus on high crash locations such as the Oak Street curve. The proposed design will soften the curve and widen the lane widths which is expected to dramatically improve safety at the Oak Street curve. IDOT is working with CDOT to finish the preliminary planning phase of the project in the next couple years, with detailed design and construction to follow in future years.

“This is a heavily traveled corridor — and we urge the public to continue to follow all traffic laws, obey the posted speed limit, buckle up and put down the devices. Also, as snow-and-ice season fast approaches, to be mindful of winter driving skills, to build extra time into their schedules and increase driving distance between vehicles in the months ahead.”

For those who would like to voice their concerns about the S-curve, they can go to nlsdinput.org to take part in a survey.

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Suzanne Le Mignot