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Hit-and-Run Crashes the Norm in Chicago Pedestrian Deaths

10:37 AM EDT on April 23, 2012

Standout site Grid Chicago is doing the dirty work of a safe streets blog, keeping a "fatality tracker" to count how many lives are claimed between Windy City curbs. The tracker measures three things: pedestrians killed, cyclists killed, and transit riders killed.

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Of course, this is sad business, and it brings some outrageous statistics to light. Today's shocker: 83 percent of this year's known Chicago pedestrian fatalities have been hit-and-run collisions. Steven Vance reports:

Four weeks later and three blocks away from a doubly-deadly car crash in March, 50-year old Cynthia Hoff was killed while crossing 4200 South block of Western Boulevard (the street on the east side; the west side street is Western Avenue). This makes the sixth pedestrian death and fifth hit-and-run pedestrian death in 2012, bringing our rate to 83%. While researching for this article, I came across a hit-and-run pedestrian death that I didn’t previously report, that of Aaliyah Kalimullahdunn at 80th Street and Ashland Avenue.

Whenever I talk about traffic safety, I, without pause or reservation, bring up the fatality statistics the Netherlands “enjoys”. And it is enjoyment that so few people will have to die on their roads in a year compared to the United States, Illinois, and Chicago, even after adjusting for population and time or distance spent on the road. I can imagine how outraged the people of the Netherlands would be if they saw that their traffic safety rate was degrading. See how citizens reacted to a particularly bad crash (that had zero fatalities). The country is such a model for safe transportation that Alderman Solis and two CDOT workers were sent there.

We should be outraged that a single person dies. We can change our culture (see what transportation commissioner Gabe Klein has to say about our culture), and we can change our roads.

Elsewhere on the Network today: The Urbanophile looks at the workings of infrastructure banks and wonders why this transportation financing method has gained such cachet. Burning the Midnight Oil wonders whether a "cap and trade" fund could be used to finance California high-speed rail. And M-bike.org examines Amtrak's efforts to be more bike friendly.

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