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Overall, it seems like a higher percentage of drivers are stopping for pedestrians in crosswalks (at least in Andersonville and Lakeview, where I am watching).  Compliance when the stop signs went up last year I would guess was about 2%, now more like 25%.  And the signs don't seem to be getting run over as often.

But I've noticed that even some of the drivers who know better will still try not to comply, by playing 'chicken' with pedestrians.  For example, when I am in the crosswalk, half way across the street, oncoming cars won't slow down until the last moment.  If I look like I might wait in the middle of the street, they will blast through.  If I boldly step in front of them, they will make a quick stop.  So they comply with the letter, but clearly not the spirit of the law.

Why this is such a big deal for so many drivers escapes me.

Tags: chicken, crosswalks, pedestrians

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Depending on the area I guess? I get waved through on my bike on Clark and sometimes even turning left on my bike. I don't walk much crosswalk and when I do it's mostly law abiding.

I haven't had too any issues while biking in these areas recently, either.  Tonight a taxi driver even waved me through an intersection!  But while being a pedestrian I somehow get less courteous treatment.  Go figure.

Mike Zumwalt said:

Depending on the area I guess? I get waved through on my bike on Clark and sometimes even turning left on my bike. I don't walk much crosswalk and when I do it's mostly law abiding.

I agree that many drivers are still reluctant to comply with the law that requires them to stop for pedestrians, which has been the law 3 years now. They're basically still trying to get by on the prior law, which was to "yield" to pedestrians in the crosswalk. When I wrote about the new law on my blog, I tried to get an exact definition of "yield" and best I could tell, it just meant that as long as they didn't hit the pedestrians, they were "yielding".

There's a new pedestrian island near me on Clark Street at Menomonee (1700 N, just north of LaSalle) which now allows pedestrians to cross the four lanes of Clark in a two-stage process. The drivers still tend to be going 35+ mph there and are quite reluctant to stop in spite of the island, the crosswalk striping, and signs. A person crossing on foot really has to be assertive in "signaling" that they indeed want to walk across; otherwise, the drivers just speed on by.

Unfortunately, it is all about a pedestrian's confidence (and lack of children/ stroller/ care for personal safety) to stop traffic.

This is also a hot topic* in Ukrainian Village specific to the intersection of Chicago and Hoyne (right by a Mariano's).

Some vocal community members want the city to install stop signs, I believe it is on a long list for such, others want stop lights. IMO, both are excessive. The recent reconfiguration of the intersection to include an island, some fresh paint and those crosswalk signs hasn't completely solved the problem but compliance has increased quite a bit. I think motorists are slowing adjusting to the general pop's demand for walkability.

*really just an ongoing conversation on the Facebook UV community page.


Michelle Stenzel said:

I agree that many drivers are still reluctant to comply with the law that requires them to stop for pedestrians, which has been the law 3 years now. They're basically still trying to get by on the prior law, which was to "yield" to pedestrians in the crosswalk. When I wrote about the new law on my blog, I tried to get an exact definition of "yield" and best I could tell, it just meant that as long as they didn't hit the pedestrians, they were "yielding".

There's a new pedestrian island near me on Clark Street at Menomonee (1700 N, just north of LaSalle) which now allows pedestrians to cross the four lanes of Clark in a two-stage process. The drivers still tend to be going 35+ mph there and are quite reluctant to stop in spite of the island, the crosswalk striping, and signs. A person crossing on foot really has to be assertive in "signaling" that they indeed want to walk across; otherwise, the drivers just speed on by.

I find bouncing my key ring off the motorist's rear quarter panel to be very effective in getting their attention after they have "chickened" me.  Aggressive? Absolutely.  So was their game of Chicken.  Maybe it's not the most highly evolved response, but I can live with myself and my conscience. 

I'm seeing a few more drivers yielding in Beverly, but I usually have to step out aggressively and put my hand out in a "STOP" gesture to get them to do it.

I have mixed feeling about these crosswalks. Overall, given that yield didn't do the job I understand Stop. That being said I think they make for some problems. I see crosswalks near my train station.  Pedestrians and drivers will sit and look at each other waiting for somebody to go. As a pedestrian I am ALWAYS  waving the car to go on as I can likely wait 1.5 seconds and not have to worry about anybody. I see these crosswalks put in the middle of the block in some places encouraging jaywalking. As a bike rider I hate these things. Especially where there is a little stop sign in the middle of the road way. That stop sign still confuses some drivers who randomly stop. The signs also unnaturally narrow the roadway. Cars sometime move over to avoid the little stop sign making them move closer to me, the biker. Often cars will want to move to the left, even over the yellow line when there is no oncoming traffic and they want to give more room to a cyclist. They cannot do it now. Overall, better. Still imperfect. 

I agree that less and less motorists play chicken. Most will stop and wait for pedestrians downtown. Pedestrians on the other hand almost never follow the walk signals in the loop. It drives me crazy. I stop to allow somebody to make a right turn when there is only a few seconds on the clock. Another pedestrian will either walk into me or bolt into the intersection keeping the driver from turning. The driver then gets frustrated and bad things happen. 


David Barish said:

 I see these crosswalks put in the middle of the block in some places encouraging jaywalking. 

That's not jaywalking. Using a mid-block crosswalk is legally crossing the street. 

FWIW, I consider narrowing the roadway where there is pedestrian traffic to be a feature, not a bug, to the extent that they slow down cars.

I personally haven't had any problems riding on streets where those signs are (or were, until they got hit by too many cars), but maybe it's different on the streets where you're riding. 

My biggest frustration with crosswalks is that when I stop (on my bike), other cyclists and drivers do not. I used to try to block the travel lane enough to convince cars to stop, but so many take that as an encouragement to speed and swerve around me that I think it may make the situation worse. What's needed is a huge cultural shift. In the same way the term "jaywaking" was coined by the auto lobby to paint people walking in the streets as rubes[1], we need a way to paint drivers who refuse to stop for peds at designated crosswalks as the entitled assholes[2] they are.

[1] http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-26073797

[2] Note here I'm referring to those who see pedestrians and swerve around them or otherwise try to intimidate them. Unfortunately, our horrible street designs make seeing pedestrians waiting to cross difficult in many places, and it's hard to blame otherwise attentive drivers - and cyclists - too much for not being able to see through parked SUVs and delivery trucks.

I was walking around with my parents (who are suburban and drive everywhere and were upset that black dog doesn't have it's own parking lot just for them... Sigh...) and I was basically having to rescue them - "he's not gonna stop!" Or glare down cars till they stopped (which feels like using the force.)

It made me realize that I'm used to predicting the unpredictable with cars, but lots of people aren't simply by means of beig not from around here.

Also, I work at THE CHILDRENS HOSPITAL downtown, and the Stop sign at Superior and St Clair (frequented by children with disabilities) is BEYOND insane with cars that play chicken. They'll stop... If you stare at them with an angry face. Otherwise they may just hit you.
I don't like those crosswalk signs because I am worried people will see them and think "that car will stop for me if I start walking". I am afraid we will have an increase in pedestrians being hit, but I don't know if that is actually happening.

It seems like the only way drivers will start to yield to pedestrians is if police make a concerted effort to start ticketing people.



Michelle Milham said:
I was basically having to rescue them - "he's not gonna stop!" Or glare down cars till they stopped (which feels like using the force.)

It made me realize that I'm used to predicting the unpredictable with cars, but lots of people aren't simply by means of beig not from around here.

Its legal but I think encouraging people to cross mid street is not good policy. Nobody knows how to make a decision and react. I think that pedestrians should have the supreme right of way at intersections and should not be crossing elsewhere unless they are assuming the risk and they have no expectation of accommodation. I also think pedestrians should learn to stop at intersections in the last few seconds of a green light to allow turning vehicles especially in the loop. This is the only way everybody gets through. If this happens its much easier to be intolerant of drivers who do not obey crosswalks at intersections.  

I also understand the desire to make a narrower roadway in order to slow down drivers. I personally feel a lower speed limit that is enforced is the best way to do it. narrowing the roadway to a point where its hard to get by and I am feeling claustrophobic as a bike rider is cutting off your nose to spite your face in terms of a remedy. Sure, a wide suburban type road is not a good thing but we are talking about city streets that are already somewhat narrow in the first place. 

David Altenburg said:


David Barish said:

 I see these crosswalks put in the middle of the block in some places encouraging jaywalking. 

That's not jaywalking. Using a mid-block crosswalk is legally crossing the street. 

I don't think there is enough signage.  And on streets like Ashland, you are playing with death to try to get a car going 30 mph to stop.  I think it's almost unsafe for them to slam on the brakes for a pedestrian since they could get rammed from the car behind them.

Now that lawrence is having a road diet I can do it MUCH more, before the road diet, I think it was almost unsafe (and I still did it, but it seemed like I was in the wrong since it seemed so unnatural).

I think there needs to be more enforcement and more signs.  And something needs to change if it's a law that you can go 30mph on Ashland in a car and still have to stop for a pedestrian when they get to the crosswalk. 

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