Mike Claffey 312.744.0707 | Michael.Claffey@cityofchicago.org
Susan Hofer 312.742.2006 | Susan.Hofer@cityofchicago.org
Alderman Tom Tunney (44th Ward) was joined today by Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld, Department of Water Management (DWM) Commissioner Randy Conner and Commissioner Karen Tamley of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD) at an event to highlight infrastructure and safety improvements in the 44th Ward, including the installation of Accessible Pedestrian Signals at Roscoe Street and Inner N. Lake Shore Drive that make it safer for people who are visually impaired to cross the street.
“This is a great day for the 44th Ward when we get to celebrate the completion of a series of transportation infrastructure investments that will improve quality of life and safety for our residents,” Alderman Tunney said. “I especially want to thank all the 44th Ward residents who have had to bear with us during the construction process. This was a coordinated effort involving multiple projects that will improve transportation options for everyone getting around within the 44th Ward.”
The event occurred just days after CDOT reopened all lanes on N. Lake Shore Drive at LaSalle Drive near North Avenue after work was completed on an accelerated bridge repair project, as well as the resurfacing of N. Lake Shore Drive from Grand Avenue to Monroe Street. The 44th Ward event highlighted four projects that were recently completed by the administration of Mayor Rahm Emanuel:
- Completion of a Neighborhood Greenway that provides a 1.5 mile, low stress route for people on bikes and on foot from Lincoln Avenue to the lake front; the eastbound bike route is along School Street and Aldine Avenue, the westbound bike route is along Roscoe Street and feeds into the Lake Front Trail via the underpass under LSD.
- An arterial resurfacing project on Inner LSD from Belmont Avenue to Stratford Place.
- Five major water main repairs between Aldine Avenue and Hawthorne Place.
- Installation of Accessible Pedestrian Signals (APS) at Roscoe Street and Inner LSD. An APS is a traffic signal that helps people who are visually impaired by communicating information about pedestrian timing in a non-visual format, such as audible tones or verbal messages.
“I’m very happy to be here with my colleagues to highlight this series of projects that we have recently completed in the 44th Ward,” CDOT Commissioner Scheinfeld said. “Under the administration of Mayor Emanuel, we’re building a New Chicago and we’re building a safer Chicago with projects like these in neighborhoods all across the City.”
Last year Chicago launched a Vision Zero Action Plan which outlines goals and strategies to reduce traffic crashes and eliminate serious injuries and fatalities on the City’s roadways by 2026. In order to achieve this goal, CDOT uses a Complete Streets approach to designing infrastructure improvements. This means that pedestrians come first in the hierarchy when designing roadway improvements, because people walking are the most vulnerable users of the right of way. When safety enhancements are added for people walking and biking, it enhances safety for all users, including motorists.
“Since the Mayor launched the Building a New Chicago capital plan in 2011, we’ve been frequent visitors to the 44th Ward replacing more than 18 miles of water and sewer mains,” said DWM Commissioner Conner. “A stronger water infrastructure helps conserve water and lays the foundation for Chicago to grow.”
“Audible Pedestrian Signals are critical to the safe navigation of Chicago’s blind and low vision community,” said MOPD Commissioner Karen Tamley. “Today’s announcement also represents an important step forward in the city’s greater commitment to increased accessibility of our streets and sidewalks for all people with disabilities, residents and visitors alike.”
Roscoe and the Inner Drive is the eleventh intersection at which CDOT has installed such APS signals around the City. CDOT is working with the MOPD and other stakeholders to pick sites for additional APS signals.
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