Drivers ticketed for crosswalk offenses on Foster Ave
by BRIAN NADIG
Chicago police recently issued 161 citations to motorists who did not yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk at Foster and Kilbourn avenues as part of an effort to improve traffic and pedestrian safety in the area.
The city Department of Transportation gave an update on planned improvements to Foster and other safety measures at a July 23 community meeting that Alderman Margaret Laurino (39th) held at the Mayfair Library, 4400 W. Lawrence Ave.
Some residents have asked the city to implement a "road diet," which would reduce Foster to one lane of traffic in each direction, but the department has ruled out that option because of the high volume of traffic on the street, which is estimated at 34,000 vehicles a day. Reducing lanes could lead to more cut-through traffic on the side streets, according to a department official.
Residents have said that it is dangerous for pedestrians to cross the stretch of Foster between Pulaski Road and the Edens Expressway even when it is done at a crosswalk or a stoplight due to speeding traffic and to motorists running a red light. Many residents cross Foster to access La Bagh Woods and Gompers Park.
The plan presented at the meeting calls for a road resurfacing project that will start in August and for the installation of speed cameras, new signs and improved road markings, including high-visibility crosswalks.
Also in the planning stages is the modernization of traffic signals on Foster at Tripp Avenue and at Kostner Avenue. In addition, in response to complaints about pedestrian safety at Field Park, 5100 N. Ridgeway Ave., funding is being sought for the installation of a stoplight at Foster and Avers avenues, where traffic on Avers has a stop sign.
The department also will request more crosswalk enforcement missions. Eight missions have been conducted this spring.
"Foster Avenue between Pulaski and Cicero has long been a problem for pedestrians," Laurino said in a statement. "Over the years we’ve erected bollards, guardrails, installed red light cameras and increased police enforcement against speeding vehicles in a effort to increase safety."
Residents have set up a Facebook page called "New Foster Avenue" which contains recommendations for improvements on Foster.