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Chicago’s first protected bike lane on Kinzie St. increased ridership by 55 percent without increasing traffic congestion for cars.

Simple solutions lead to improved pedestrian life

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In “21 Measures for Pedestrian Safety (in Baltimore or Anywhere),” architect Klaus Philipsen argues that although many cities around the nation have Complete Streets policies, there are still many on-the-ground improvements in pedestrian, bicycle and transit infrastructure that need to happen.

He offers solutions for improving the pedestrian realm in the short term using “tactical urbanism” that involves temporary fixes to test out potential transportation improvements. He writes that these recommendations don’t require big money, but can build towards bigger pedestrian improvements in the future.

Examples of low cost and easy-to-implement projects that Philipsen recommends include: no right turns on red in the central city or areas of heavy pedestrian traffic, highly visible mid-block crosswalks, longer pedestrian crossing signals, not allowing construction sites to completely close the sidewalk, red light and speed camera systems, maximum speed limit of 30 mph in city limits, more street furniture for pedestrians, and reducing the number of one-way streets.

At Active Trans, we think that strong policies provide a strong foundation for pedestrian, bicycle, and transit improvements. Sometimes change can be slow due to perceptions and budget constraints, so easier-to-implement, low-hanging fruit projects can make the walking experience safer in the immediate future and be a catalyst for future support that leads to more pedestrian development.

If you haven't done so already, please sign our petition in support of our campaign to improve safety around some of the most dangerous intersections in Chicago and the suburbs.