Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Woman Hit at 13th and Wabash?

A reader writes:


I am not sure how many warnings are needed but I think a very unfortunate event happened this morning (Monday, 6/20) at the terrible intersection of 13th and Wabash. I was walking to work today at roughly 7:20 am and I saw a taxi-van and a woman being put on a stretcher and into an ambulance. I did not see the accident happen but judging by the scene and no damage to the taxi-van, it appeared the woman had been hit by the taxi. I think as a community we need to all write our alderman and ask for changes at that intersection, whatever those changes may be....the more we request, the more it is brought to their attention. I am aware with the construction at that intersection, things are even worse now but regardless it is very dangerous and I am sure this event could have been avoided!
About a month ago we had a post about this intersection and understandably most people also have noticed the problems here. There is some construction going on at Wabash so the area is even more dangerous.

Anyway, keep your head up when driving or walking in this area.

(Hat tip: NS!)


Anonymous said...

I agree! We should write to the alderman and speak to not just 13th and Wabash, but all the "stop" sign intersections up and down Wabash between Roosevelt and 22nd really. Cars on Wabash almost never yield to 1. pedestrians who have the right to cross the street in the cross walks. I always feel like drivers are in a rush and ready to run me down; slamming on the gas just as I cross the half way mark-can't you wait until we safely cross!! 2. cars that are waiting to make left hand or right hand turns onto Wabash. I can't even count the number of times I have been stopped, waiting to take my turn to go left from 14th onto Wabash to head home and the cars just keep on rolling to a stop and blowing through on the Wabash side...cars either don't bother to look if there is someone at the cross street stop sign, or most times it seems just try to sneak through, because clearly they are more important.

Finally, I know this was mentioned in your last post, but come on..there are not two lanes down Wabash when you get out from the jewel!! Again, people in a hurry are creating a very dangerous situations for pedestrians, drivers, and bikers as they make their own second lane right down the bike lane path.

The city has many worthless "traffic conductors" up and down Roosevelt doing next to nothing, and pay absolutely no attention to this stretch of road. What a joke! Consistently sending some of those bike cops or the cops on those off-road vehicles to monitor and give out tickets for this obnoxious and illegal road behavior would help to curb it somewhat..

BRENDAN said...

Can AT&T please finish up their donuts and get off of wabash...the street is worthless right now.

Personally I feel like that Jewel causes more problems every year. The traffic coming in/out of there is a mess and the corridor where its located doesnt seem fit for the traffic. You cannot have a single lane road packed with bikers and walkers as your main entrance-- WHO DESIGNED THAT!?

As it stands now pulling out of that BP is russian roulette...

Anonymous said...

PLease write Alderman Fioretti:

This past weekend, I saw a cyclist get tapped and knocked off her bike at this intersection. She was scraped up, but walking around and understandably irate at the driver. I see daily near misses at this stop sign and have seen cars blow through south/northbound at probably 40 MPH. It's scary considering the high stroller volumes we have in this area. So please write the alderman, whose offices are literally one block west on state street. Accordingly, the alderman and his staff should also find this to be an urgent issue.

Anonymous said...

The stretch of Wabash from Roosevelt to Cermak would be perfect for a protected bike lane and make it clear that it is one lane. Just move over the parked cars to clearly make one lane and where the cars were previously parked, would be the lane for the bikes.

Anonymous said...

The entire area around Jewel (from Roosevelt to 13th Street along Wabash; and from Wabash to State along Roosevelt) is incredibly unsafe. Even worse than the vehicular traffic is the massive amount of jaywalking that takes place in all directions (especially from Dunkin to Jewel across Wabash and from the #12 Bus Stop on the south side of Roosevelt across to the L entrance on the north side of Roosevelt). Something has to be done to quell the throngs of people who just walk right into traffic at those areas like it's no big deal. It's almost surreal to watch it all unfold while standing on the L platform above.

Anonymous said...

Only way anything will be done is someone get killed, not only on wabash, but also on Roosevelt. Than have the ABC/NBC/CBS/WGN swarm into the hood and shoot a few minutes of footage and put it on the evening news. Sad, but that's how I see it.

BRENDAN said...

the solution to dangerous intersections is never going to be "add more bike lanes". I simply do not understand how a major U.S. city can be so accommodating to bikes.......its a recipe for disaster. Majority of the bike riders disobey every law of the road and create more problems and dangerous situations. Ride your bikes on the lakefront.

Anonymous said...

If you are too busy to write, at least tweet the alterman @fiorettichicago. Tweets are public, fast and usually have a greater impact than emails.

Anonymous said...

Is the Wabash renovation program stopping at Roosevelt or continuing south? I was hoping that the street could be redesigned for single lane vehicle traffic, "protected" bike lanes, and new wider and greener sidewalks to encourage more sidewalk cafes.

and I totally agree, we shouldn't be encouraging bikers to ride on the city streets, they should ONLY use the lakefront... probably the dumbest comment on this site lol.

It's the CARS that need to be used less!

Anonymous said...

While I agree that irresponsible motorists are the biggest offenders at this location, I ditto the complaint re: jaywalkers. Especially those exiting the eastbound 12 bus on Roosevelt between State and Wabash. It's insane. In the 2 minutes that I was at this intersection this afternoon I watched at least 20 people get off the bus and walk right into 4 lanes of traffic to get to the L entrance, including more than one senior citizen walking with a cane! Unreal. There are crosswalks at both Wabash and State Streets (each of which is less than 15 yards from the bus stop). The impact on traffic cannot be understated. If these people want to take their own lives into their hands, that's one thing, but forcing vehicles to make sudden stops and make quick lane changes to avoid striking one of these idiots is a disaster waiting to happen. I'm shocked that the bus stop hasn't been moved to the southwest corner of Wabash & Roosevelt or that barricades aren't constructed in the median to stop this.

Anonymous said...

Not to undermine the dangerous conditions of this intersection, but Cabbies are absolutely the worst drivers around. They constantly straddle two lanes, stop in the middle of the street to pick up fares, cruise real slow looking for fares, or fly around like bats outta hell, and never use their hazards!

Cabbies need to be ticketed more for their complete disregard for rules of the road.

Anonymous said...

Except that studies show that cabbies are actual safer drivers than the general driving population...

Anonymous said...

what studies, show us a link. I want to know how they sampled their data, in what vicinity, at what time frame, and how many drivers.

For every "study", there's another "study" that says otherwise.

I know what I see out in downtown Chicago, cabs are by far the worst drivers in general, both as offenders of accidents and causation of accidents that they don't even give a hoot about.

The Chicago Grouch said...

On Saturday, a construction vehicle actually effectively blocked the stop sign on the northwest corner of the 13th and Wasbash intersection as I traveled south.

Just another issue that compounds all the other hazards that extend south and west of the Wabash and Roosevelt intersection.

Alderman - please act, and soon.

Anonymous said...

Said it hundreds of time, but this is not only a traffic issue, but a business anchor design issue. As others have pointed out, the crappy road, crossing, signage, and visual cues make this a confusing traffic problem and makes it unable to for this stretch to reach the potential it could be serving as a restaurant (defacto) anchor location.

This is the type of infrastructure issue that should be addressed by the available TIF dollars not being spent.

If the city is not going to put in a rail car type circulator system to serve the area between McCormick and Roosevelt then on Wabash between Jewel and 16th street, I would:

a. Make it one lane each way and

b. Widen the sidewalk for street side cafe space and parkway beautification / plantings

c. Angle the parking to de-widen the road for traffic calming

d. Between Jewel and 14th put in pavers / cobblestone roadway, lighting, and streetscape upgrades to make this a walkable restaurant anchor that could also attract smaller shops.

e. Entice a small paid parking garage on one of the many vacant lots.

Here are some good examples:



Anonymous said...

This whole situation is worse than the cheese riots during the great depression.

The Mayor himself needs to get involved and create elevated walkways over the road or pedestrian subways under it. It's going to take getting an old man like me killed by one of these crazy trucking cowboys to get attention on this.

Just last week I was eating my jelly donut and one of those crazy hobknockers almost ran me down. Caused me to drop my donut and mess my trousers.

I expect a written apology from this forum and the aldermanic directors and a cash check for my donut and cleaning bill by Friday latest.

You have not heard the end of this and it is not over yet.


Chester G.

Anonymous said...

This area is only going to get worse when Trader Joe's opens. I sense that a lot of their business will be drivers rather than walkers.

Anonymous said...

Here you go butthead:


Now you show me your study that says otherwise.

BRENDAN said...

Boom. Roasted.

Timothy said...

Alderman Fioretti shares your concerns about this intersection. Of course, the situation there has been exacerbated by the current ATT work there. Accordingly, he has directed the Dept. of Transportation to install traffic lights at 13th/Wabash and 14th/Wabash. As part of a coordinated plan, the stop sign at 14th Pl./Wabash must be removed. This project requires $650,000 in funding, which is currently being worked on. In the meantime, he has asked the police department to give special attention to this area and the Transportation Dept. to look into installing additional signage.

Anonymous said...

Does 14th & Wabash really need a traffic light? Haven't heard many/any complaints about that particular intersection...

Anonymous said...

Also, can the Alderman really "direct the Dept. of Transportation to install traffic lights" or merely suggest/request that they do? Seems like some disingenuous wording. Are you from his office?

Anonymous said...

Great, more traffic signals... the quick solution IMO. Renovating Wabash from Roosevelt to Cermack should be the long term goal... and while you are at it, close Dearborn from Polk to Harrison!

MarkChicago said...

RE: "Haven't heard many/any complaints about that particular intersection..."

Then you have never walked this stretch.

Anonymous said...

I walk it several times each week. 13th & Wabash is a fatality waiting to happen. 14th & Wabash just doesn't seem like a problem in it's current state...

SouthLoopScot said...

Here you go butthead:


I don't recall the poster who questioned your claim calling you any juvenile names. Are you five? And besides, the study you posted is from NYC, it doesn't support you claim that CHICAGO cab drivers are safer.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to the Alderman's office for responding. (See Timothy's comment).

However, respectfully Timothy, plans to spend $650k on traffic lights at 13th and 14th would be a huge waste of taxpayer money. (See Polk and Dearborn for example of unintended consequences of traffic lights).

I like the Anonymous's (June 22, 2011 12:30 AM) ideas about using street beautification tactics to also improve traffic calming.

Please don't short change the SOUTH LOOP with cheap ineffective solutions. Let's do this right, not quickly.

Guess what we will have with two new lights? Two more worthless traffic lights and intersections that will still look like crapola.

As written by others, the main problem is that there is lack of deliniation of traffic lanes, directly or indirectly - vehicles try and merge together after rolling through the stop sign. Add to it taxi's stopping quickly in front of the restauraunts as people are merging. Contributing to the problem was the hasty decision to install the 13th street stop sign on such a wide road in the first place. It is not visible.

The private sector has invested big $$ in making this a viable restaurant destination, it's time to look outside the box for something that also improves the beauty and function of that section of thuroughfare.

Consider the island installation on Rush street as an example of street beautification successfully used for traffic calming.

Anonymous said...

well said Anonymous June 23, 2011 2:40 PM....

Anonymous said...

And does it really cost $650,000 just to install a traffic light?

Anonymous said...

I disagree that the traffic lights are a bad idea.

These intersections are very dangerous-people simply do not stop at all, or simply roll right through the signs. As long as the lights are synced correctly, I think this will go a long way toward making this a safer street to navigate down!

I also agree with the beautification ideas..but this will take lots of time, and I would prefer not to let the safety of the SL drivers, pedestrians, and bikers hang in the balance while we wait for such a large undertaking to unroll over the years...certainly something to aspire to!

Anonymous said...

Lights do not solve this problem - it then becomes a drag-strip. The main issue is confusing lane usage, partially caused by the street being so wide, that vehicles assume it is four lanes there. Some early safety return could be accomplished by just adding proper lane striping. A simple island bump out at 13th would kill much of this as well.

Talk to any traffic safety professional. Moving curbs out, hardscape visual cues, and beautification is a far more effective traffic calming tool. Traffic experts use smaller lane width as a standard procedure to 'scare' drivers into slowing down. There is even room to put in as protected bike lane to 14th


It does not take much time to come up with a plan for roadway / sidewalk changes. The Near South TIF is flush with money to do exactly this - we should be asking why is this money not being used where it is needed - why are they stalling projects?

At the same time streetscape changes would allow the area to be cordoned off for evenings or special opportunities. This is one of the latent successes they had by reconfiguring the Viagra Triangle on Rush - the pedestrian and business climate improved, they created a small open space, it became more active.

Anonymous said...

to Anonymous June 22 - 6:22PM...
I walk it several times each week. 13th & Wabash is a fatality waiting to happen. 14th & Wabash just doesn't seem like a problem in it's current state...
June 22, 2011 6:22 PM

You are correct - that is further indication of the funnel effect for vehicles going south through the 13th street stop sign, couple with the taxi's and vehicles stopping suddenly after the stop sign. Then people behind them either get pissed, or get in a hurry and then blow through the stop sign or get impatient with pedestrians and gun to 14th.

With such a wide road, you have
a) pedestrians who need a longer time to cross the intersection

b) vehicles stopping for drop off and such a wide peripherial for drivers to have to see the walkers and bikers.

Butting out crosswalk islands, while acting as a visual cue, also shrinks the pedestrian cross walk time in half where the need to cross.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I guess I am really missing something, there are two separate problems in my mind, 1. The fake extra lane up to 13th and 2. people blowing through stop signs. Why people keep saying 14th is not a problem...I don't understand, it totally is! There may not be an extra fake lane, but people blow through this stop sign and the one at 14th place all the time! Maybe those of you who don't consider it to be a problem don't live this far south. I live at 15th and know very well how dangerous these intersections are, i get to see it every day! Granted, the extra fake lane makes it worse by 13th, but let's not pretend there are not problems elsewhere, just because I live at 15th doest mean I can't imagine there are problems further south then me as well

Anonymous said...

Anon at 15th street - I don't think anyone is saying 14th is not a problem (as you are correct in that people have been blowing that stop sign since its installation 10 years ago). I think what is being recognized is that 13th street is the priority right now. In reality, you would be correct in that something will need to be done all the way down Wabash to Cermak.

What is potentially troubling is that in light of other municipalities recognition of the need to get away from traffic lights as the solution, and the critical factor of a complete community review process to select best options, we are being presented an inferior outdated proposed proposed, without any community input or review process. Disappointing to see the low goals and even lower expectations.

Here are some good examples where others are doing it much better.


Anonymous said...

Said before and will say again: 16th and Prairie is the worst (by far). Stand at that corner for 5 minutes and you will see multiple people blow right through that stop sign. Scary.

Anonymous said...

I don't think 16th and Prairie gets the same amount of traffic as 13th and Wabash, thus why it's not the worst. I've never had a problem with any intersections in the SL, and I walk a lot. I just keep my eyes open and my ears out of headphones.

Anonymous said...

A slightly ironic postscript to this thread (though my guess is it's far from over): I took a cab tonight to Zapatista, and the driver pulled over on the N. side of the stop sign on 13th and Wabash. The dude behind us just zoomed through. "Jesus!" the cabbie exclaimed. "That guy's nuts! Didn't he see the stop sign?"

Anonymous said...

I would not "blow off" the concerns over the intersection of 16th and Prairie just because it's not as busy as 13th and Wabash. There is a park right at that corner and there are many many kids that live in that area. Recall the blown stop sign in Lincoln Park a couple years ago when that poor little girl was struck and dragged, and killed? And that was on a "lesser traveled" road (Cannon Dr.) rather than Clark Street.

If you want this area to grow into a family-friendly hood, then all intersections need to be enforced.

Anonymous said...

Another cab story, cabs sure are safe drivers,


Condolences go out to the struck victim and passenger.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:55AM - Exactly. I dont need a study (cited earlier in this thread) to tell me cab drivers in NYC are safe. I see cab drivers in CHICAGO every day and the majority drive recklessly, inconsiderately, and way too fast. But, in defense of cab drivers, this seems to be a problem for far too many Chicago drivers.

Anonymous said...

I agree with widening the sidewalk. The road is much too wide for the number of lanes and the amount of traffic. And, honestly, the only way that the corridor is going to develop is if it becomes an area that people walk down for more than just getting home and taking their dogs to do their business. It needs to be pedestrian and outdoor seating friendly. There's a lot to figure out about developing the South Loop, but narrowing Wabash should be a no brainer.

Anonymous said...


Stopping controversy on Wabash
Two new traffic signals have neighbors cheering, businesses jeering
11/09/2011 10:00 PM


3 Comments - Add Your Comment

A plan to install two new traffic signals on Wabash Avenue has at least one business all revved up.

Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd) announced in an email last week that he’s secured $650,000 to install traffic signals at the intersections of Wabash and 13th and 14th streets.

“All of Wabash is being resurfaced, and at 13th there’s just been way too many incidents of people blowing through the signs over there,” Fioretti said. “People were speeding through.”

Neighbors and community groups like the Greater South Loop Association have repeatedly complained about the potential dangers at the intersection.

Gail Rutkowski, president of the GSLA, said she’s seen the problems firsthand.

“I live on 12th and Wabash, so I can see the traffic flow from my window,” she said. “I think it’ll be safer for the pedestrians. … I just think for safety reasons they’re needed.”

But Chris Bravos, owner of The Scout at 1301 S. Wabash Ave., said the alderman was overreacting. One of the main reasons he moved into the location was because he liked the stop sign on the corner — it gave more of a neighborhood feel to the intersection in front of his restaurant, he said.

With traffic lights instead, he said, the neighborhood feel would be gone.

“I think it’s absolutely ridiculous — I think the neighbors were absolutely ridiculous,” Bravos said. “We’re beyond pissed. Who can sit outside there comfortably with traffic blowing past? I’ve seen people blow the stop sign, but do you have to go to the extreme? They could have put a planter box in the middle of the street.”

Bravos said he’s spoken to other restaurants on the street, and they agree with him. However, he said he’s not sure what to do to fight the move.

“We just don’t know that we have any discourse at this point,” Bravos said. “I talked to the alderman face-to-face, but I don’t know if he cares.”

Rutkowski, though, said she doesn’t think it will take away from the feel of the block, though she’s not sure they need two stoplights

“I don’t see it taking away from the neighborhood,” Rutkowski said. “I understand that in off-rush times they’re probably not needed, but in rush hour they’re necessary.”

DontNeedStopLights said...


I am rooting hard for bravos/Scout to get this overturned!!

Go Bravooooosssss!

Anonymous said...

Lol, been there once, mediocre food and service beyond terrible. Now with this shit I'm definitely never going back to see if they improve. Instead of worrying about a light he needs to spend energy running his place better. It's sad.

The people who go to the restaurants there are the same that are overwhelmingly in favor of the lights. Good job going against what your customers want.