LOGAN SQUARE — Pedestrians, rejoice.
Drivers who blew through crosswalks on Logan Boulevard Thursday spotted an unwelcome sight in their rearview mirrors: blue lights.
At least six Chicago Police squad cars posted near Logan Boulevard and Albany Avenue were out ticketing drivers as part of a crackdown on drivers who didn't slow down or stop for pedestrians in crosswalks.
Police, in conjunction with the Chicago Department of Transportation, targeted two intersections in Logan Square as part of the effort: Logan Boulevard and Albany Avenue and Kedzie and Schubert avenues. They also targeted Lawrence and Spaulding avenues in Albany Park.
Police Capt. Marc Buslik said the crackdown, which lasted about two hours, was routine and meant to remind drivers to stop for pedestrians at crosswalks — even if there is no traffic signal or stop sign.
Buslik said the city targets "high-problem intersections" for enforcement stops and that includes many intersections around Logan Square, the neighborhood's namesake.
While ticketed drivers commonly gripe to police that such crackdowns are unnecessary and officers should spend time doing "more important things," Buslik said he begged to differ.
"These are the more important things," Buslik said. "It's all about keeping people safe. ... Hopefully people will learn."
The enforcement initiative was funded by a state grant. Any drivers spotted violating traffic laws were issued citations ranging from $50 to $500, according to CDOT.
Locations were chosen based on input from community groups. The Logan Boulevard and Albany Avenue intersection was chosen at the request of Bike Walk Logan Square, a CDOT spokesman said.
Including the stops scheduled for Thursday, there have been about 40 enforcement stops conducted by the city this year. In 2013, the city conducted 69 stops and issued 1,234 citations for failure to stop at a crosswalk, according to the city's website. In 2012, police issued 1,071 citations during 70 enforcement stops.
Ken Carl, who lives at Logan Boulevard and Albany Avenue, said he thinks the stops are necessary, given the increase in the volume of walkers and cyclists crossing Logan Boulevard.
"I think you have to, because the neighborhood has changed," Carl said.
He said the neighborhood has become younger and more family-oriented, with more children playing outside.
Carl, who has lived at the corner since the 1980s, said drivers used to drag-race down Logan Boulevard at night. While he hasn't seen that taking place recently, he said, drivers still speed and disregard stop signs.
"The driving patterns up and down the boulevard can get a little unsafe," he said.
One driver pulled over Thursday after blowing through a stop sign said he understands what the city is doing.
"It's a legit ticket," he said from his van. "It's just a f------ blitz. I'm a cop, so I know what they're talking about."
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