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Only 0.7 percent of federal transportation funds are spent on improving pedestrian facilities.

Traffic calming project expected to help revitalize street

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After years of dealing with speeding traffic and narrow sidewalks, a road diet is coming to south State Street between 69th and 79th streets in Chicago.

Sixth Ward Alderman Roderick Sawyer is working with the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) to make the corridor safer for everyone, whether you’re walking, biking or driving. He’s also hoping to bring more people to the area on foot and bike, creating a boost in commercial activity.

Speeding is a major issue on the stretch, which is located just east of the Dan Ryan expressway. Drivers, unfortunately, treat it like it’s an extension of the highway. There were 504 reported crashes in the corridor from 2009 to 2013, including seven serious injuries and three fatalities.

“The alderman wants to slow down car traffic and make the area more friendly to pedestrians,” Sawyer’s Chief of Staff Brian Sleet told Streetsblog Chicago. “We’re trying to get the ball rolling to change the image of State Street from a barren ex-warehouse district to something that fits the residential nature of these communities.”

Work has already started on the corridor and the alderman is hoping it’s completed by the end of August. Work will include converting an excess travel lane to a bike lane and additional parking, as well as improved crossings for people walking.

The project will also improve access to the nearby 69th and 79th Street Red Line stations, which is used by more than 10,000 people every day.

Projects like this one are needed on supersized streets throughout Chicago where the extra space encourages drivers to speed, putting everyone using the street at risk. This is one of the main goals of Active Trans' Safe Crossings campaign, where we work with community partners to improve dangerous intersections. 

Click here to see the full project overview.

To learn more and provide feedback on the State Street project, call CDOT at 312-744-5900 or email Don’t forget to CC so the alderman’s office sees your message as well.