Monday, May 9, 2011

The Danger Zone: 13th and Wabash Intersection

A reader writes about a serious problem that we've noticed as well:
Hey Guys,

I'm a big fan of the blog and this is my first time writing in.

I'm writing you guys in concerns of the corner of 13th/Wabash. Every single day at least one car flies through that stop sign. I have lived in the neighborhood for 2 years now and I have come close to being hit multiple times. At first I thought it was a coincidence, but now that I have relocated to that corner, my window has a perfect vantage point of the intersection.

This is clearly a huge problem, and I know I'm not the only who has witnessed this. Next time you, or anyone is headed to Jewel-Osco just watch for a second and you are guaranteed to see at least one car come barreling past Roosevelt, only to slam on the breaks at the last possible second.

I hope you guys can help. Thanks!
This is definitely something we've noticed. Not sure if a speed bump is the answer or if a blinking stop sign, but it's a valid point.

The alderman is pretty responsive to issues around the neighborhood, so feel free to email him about this issue. Here is his email (ward02@cityofchicago.org). Like we said not sure what the answer is, but hopefully something can be done to avoid an unnecessary tragedy.

(Hat tip: II!)

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've also seen the same problem down the street at 14th and Wabash too. People FLY down there, and I've seen a bunch blow the stop sign completely at night.

MarkChicago said...

Agreed. Add 14th & Wabash to the list as well. I have actually seen cops run the stop signs on the way back to the police station a little further South. Unless they put in stop lights, not sure what the solution would be.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. I live just south of that intersection and see people blow the stop sign all the time. The street is wide and the signs are pretty far off to the sides. I think a blinking red light would help.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the poster ..and something should be be done. On a similar note...have you tried to cross 16th and clark before? ..its like playing with your life. How can the city not have a stop light there? People are dodging speeding cars after being dropped off at the bus stop on the east side of clark ...not to mention all of the cars heading south that are making a left turn on to 16th st (a head on collision is a high probability). Instead the city continues to piss money away on TMA traffic cops (a glorified form of welfare) when intersection lights and blinking stop lights are badly needed at a lot of intersections in the city

Anonymous said...

I've noticed this problem at 13th and Wabash, 14th and Wabash, Polk and Financial, Polk and LaSalle, hell, even at the stop signs inside of precious Dearborn Park... Pretty much anywhere there is a stop sign in this city, there are lots of cars not stopping.

I think the problem is twofold - (1) I have never seen cops enforcing the requirement to stop at a stop sign and (2) People think they are really important, and can't be bothered to stop, even in a city full of pedestrians.

Jacquelyn said...

Completely agree about both of these intersections, especially 14th & Wabash. I in fact WAS hit at 14th & Wabash. "Hit" probably isn't the right word, but I was tapped with some idiot's car, rolling right thru the intersection. Was just completely baffled when it happened. I don't at all condone people rolling through either of these intersections, but I will say that the stop signs at 14th are really really easy to miss--in fact, my husband and I did just that when we first moved here. It really is a dangerous area and you have to be super careful, because in most cases, drivers aren't.

Anonymous said...

This is just further validation of what others are saying. The intersection is a little confusing. The bike lanes going North/South, which aren't well painted, gives some drivers (including this one) the sense that there are two lanes. Plus because it's so wide, it takes a long time for walkers to cross which makes impatient drivers more impatient. All this confusion = not a good place to put a 4 way stop.

You guys got me heated up. I'm calling the alderman's office today. I'd encourage others to do the same.

Anonymous said...

Maybe since the alderman's office is now at 13/State, he can just walk and stand at the intersection for a while and see the issue in person.

Jim in the Sloop said...

Might I quietly suggest that the problem is that the corner doesn't need a stop sign at all? It's only a block from Roosevelt, and 13th is hardly a major street. Get rid of the unnecessary stop sign, problem goes away.

While we're at it, can we finally get rid of the unnecessary TEMPORARY stoplight at Polk/Dearborn?? It was never meant to be permanent and does pretty much nothing since Dearborn is one way away from Polk - there is no cross traffic.

The problem with Clark and 16th is that there is already a stoplight at 15th - I guess for the thousands of cars that exit 15th onto Clark (sarcasm, on.) A light at 16th would make sense, but only if they get rid of the one at 15th.

Anonymous said...

@Jim - I think you are missing the point of the stop signs at 13th & Wabash. You are right that this isn’t a major intersection for car traffic, but it is certainly a major intersection for pedestrian traffic. I think the whole point of the stop signs is to give pedestrian traffic priority over vehicles on Wabash. I think the intention of the stop signs is to slow down cars on Wabash in an attempt to encourage drivers to use one of the other nearby N/S streets that have multiple lanes and traffic lights (Michigan, State and Clark).

Anonymous said...

Jim in the Sloop must be one of our impatient neighbors, who drives around the neighborhood with little regard for pedestrians. As a driver, you view those stop signs/lights as a nuisance that slows you down, but never stop to think about the value of these devices for other users of the road. As a pedestrian, I view them as a way for me to safely cross the street and I am sick of impatient drivers who nearly hit me and other pedestrians on a daily basis.

Anonymous said...

You're not going to change impatient drivers; regardless of how many stop lights, stop signs, speed bumps, etc you put in place. Even cops writing tickets aren't really going to detour these people. That's just life. As a pedestrian, you just have to be careful crossing the street. If it doesn't look like someone is slowing down to stop, let them go and cross when you feel safe.

SouthLoopScot said...

Jim obviously doesn't walk much around the Sloop...
If anything, Dearborn and Polk should be shuttered to vehicle traffic with maybe the exception of buses. The majority of traffic at that intersection are cabs that seem to have no regard for pedestrians.

13th and 14th and Wabash are crazy! I'd also suggest a speed hump on 13th street to slow people down who are cutting from State to Wabash. I've seen way too many people, going way too fast through this stretch!

The South Loop is a neighborhood now, not an industrial area. People need to drive accordingly!

Anonymous said...

The other thing that gets me is how people treat the intersection at 13th/Wabash as a 3-lane southbound intersection. Every time I'm trying to go South some idiot creeps up on my right in the bike lane and blows right past.

And don't even get me started on the people that go straight in the right-turn only lanes on Roosevelt. One day I'll get into an accident there, I'm sure.

Chicago Police are a joke when it comes to traffic enforcement.

Anonymous said...

There something about wabash in general where people drive like maniacs. I think it's the wide lanes that people think are two lanes per direction or something.

Anonymous said...

our balcony looks out over wabash, and this is a big problem. an amateur estimate is that more than half of the cars don't stop at all at 14th place/wabash. of those, more than half don't stop at all.

although that intersection isn't very busy with pedestrians or car traffic, it's a habit that drivers have a hard time breaking.

not sure what the solution is.

Anonymous said...

Chicago Police are a joke when it comes to traffic enforcement.

I would love to sit at the intersection of 13th and Wabash and write tickets for stop sign violations all day. Actually I'd love to spend my entire 9 hour tour there. However, seeing that we are about 3,000 people short at work it just isn't possible. I spent my 9 hours yesterday answering 5 calls of "shots fired", 3 calls of a domstic disturbance and one call of a person stabbed. So it's a little hard to fit a stop sign ticket in there. I agree the intersection sucks. Tickets don't stop people from driving like idiots. Trust me, I've been doing this for almost 15 years. If you want a temporary solution, call the 001
District during normal business hours, ask for the Caps office and tell them of the problem. They will asssign an officer to give it special attention. It's a band aid approach however. I live in the neighborhood and can appreciate the traffic problems but trust me when I tell you that there are so many other more important issues we are dealing with that residents have no idea are going on that traffic enforcement takes a backsest. So before you blanket 10,000 of my fellow employees as a "joke" try to know what you are actually talking about!

Anonymous said...

The worst intersection of all (by far) when it comes to people blowing stop signs is eastbound 16th street at Prairie Ave. Stand there for one minute and I guarantee that you will see more than one person blow that stop sign.

Also, I completely agree with the comment regarding TMA workers. I have never witnessed a more transparent form of welfare. These are the most unqualified people, staged at the most random places.
¤

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 11:33 PM:

I appreciate everything the CPD does to keep our neighborhoods safer, however I can't buy your logic that you're "doing everything you can" when I see things like this happen RIGHT IN FRONT OF SQUAD CARS AND THEY DO NOTHING!!!

Justin Massa said...

I've reported the issue to Ald Fioretti and SeeClickFix (http://bit.ly/d7pmKe). Ald Fioretti responded that he would ask DOT to perform a traffic study, but that was months ago and I've yet to see the black box and pressure tube across the intersection.

I live above Zapatista and this is an awful intersection - especially with a young kid. It needs a stoplight and/or aggressive police enforcement.

Anonymous said...

If you think this is a problem at 14th and Wabash, you should head about 25 blocks south, which is where most of the people who roll through the stop signs at 14th Street originate/end their journey. (I recently moved to the south loop from Bronzeville). In 5 years of living in Bronzeville, I very rarely saw more than a casual "rolling California stop."

Anonymous said...

The police patrol the 3 way stop at Cullerton and Calumet on many mornings.

Anonymous said...

Police sure did a stellar job this morning in Bridgeport, letting an armed robbery suspect escape out a back door! Wake up people: this armed robbery took place on 31st street and the fatal one last week at 400 south wabash. This crime is out of control and is closing in on the sloop from all directions! And the warm months aren't even here yet!

Timothy said...

Alderman Fioretti has asked CDOT to expedite its study of Wabash from 13th to 14th streets, to recommend ways to increase motorist compliance with stop signs and to make the area safer for pedestrians and cyclists. Additionally, we've asked 1st District police to give special attention to this problem of scofflaws.

Anonymous said...

@ anon 9:35....I am agree, I am very worried at the future of the SL for the summer months. I see more and more "questionable people" hanging in the neighborhood each day on my walk home. We all remember what the "taste of chicago" brings to the area.

MarkChicago said...

Here is the response to an email sent in November 2010 from the Director of City Services at the Alderman's office:

"We've asked CDOT to expedite its study of this area, to make the stretch safer for all concerned. We've also asked 1st Dist. police to give it special attention."

Anonymous said...

There was a nice wreck there this morning (Tuesday) around 8 a.m. I walk by most mornings. Watch out.

Anonymous said...

@anon May 11, 2011 9:35 AM
" This crime is out of control and is closing in on the sloop from all directions!"

Stop hyperventilating. A few random crimes are not the apocalypse.

Anonymous said...

My family and I have lived in the sloop for 6 years. When they put in that stop sign on 13th/Wabash I was very happy. I have two kids and trying to get across is like playing leapfrog. I make sure the cars see us and get across as fast as we can. It's sad. I hope they can do something more before someone really gets hurt!

ChiVixen said...

@Jim: I've lived at the corner of 13th & Michigan for 6 years now & remember when there was no stop sign at 13th & Wabash. With that said I witnessed almost daily people, light polls, trash cans, cars & even buildings being hit. So I can tell you no stop sign is not the answer. Now that the South Loop has grown considerably over the years and most who live down here walk to their destinations a stop sign with a blinking light might be the solution. When the city 1st installed the stop sign it was so small no one noticed it and the accidents still occurred daily, over time the new ones seemed to help but obviously not enough. I plan on emailing Fioretti about this and I suggest others who feel as I & everyone else to do the same.