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Palmer Square Speed Tables Slowing Speedsters, Report Says

By Paul Biasco | April 7, 2016 6:20am
 The raised speed table along Palmer Boulevard at Albany Avenue.
The raised speed table along Palmer Boulevard at Albany Avenue.
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Steve Hier

PALMER SQUARE — The speed tables that were aimed at slowing down speedsters alongside Palmer Square appear to be working.

The three-lane street alongside the park, which had been called a "racetrack," by some neighbors, was tamed by raised sidewalks called speed tables in December.

Streetsblog Chicago, a transportation-focused publication, conducted a speed count Monday night to test if the tables were working.

Two Streetsblog reporters, Steve Vance and John Greenfield, conducted two 15-minute counts between 5:45 and 6:30 p.m. on westbound traffic Monday night.

Of the 93 drivers they clocked, more than 62 percent were driving under the 25-mph speed limit, according to Streetsblog. Five drivers were driving faster than 30 mph.

When the reporters conducted a similar study in 2014, they found that 75 percent of all motorists were speeding and a third were driving faster than 30 mph.

The two raised crosswalks were installed at pedestrian crossings in December on Palmer Boulevard at Albany Avenue and Whipple Street.

The price of the improvements was $115,000 and was paid for out of the 32nd Ward's discretionary budget.

The raised crosswalks aren't full speed bumps and can be driven over at a fairly high rate of speed, but seem to be doing the job.

Residents of Palmer Square who lived near the park had been pushing for a solution to speeders along the street for more than eight years before the speed tables were installed.

"It ends up being a racetrack during the commuting times," longtime resident Steve Hier said when the tables were initially installed. "We have tried to calm traffic over here forever."

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