WEST LOOP — After two accidents, neighbors are raising questions about the safety of an intersection near construction sites in the bustling West Loop.
On Saturday, West Loop resident Christian Picciolini captured the two accidents on video from his balcony near Washington Boulevard and Carpenter Street. In one of the crashes, a car strikes another car, sending the second car through a wooden construction barricade and into a 10-foot hole where a raised sidewalk is being removed on Carpenter next to the Acorn Lofts building.
The car landed on its side and the driver was hurt in the accident. The victim was transported to the University of Illinois Hospital by ambulance around 9 p.m. Saturday, according to a law enforcement source.
In a Saturday afternoon crash, one car struck another car near the future McDonald's headquarters, now under construction. Picciolini captured the aftermath on tape.
"As you can see, there is no stop sign, the fence is obstructive, and cars traveling southbound on Carpenter have to pull fully into cross traffic to get a clear view," he said.
Picciolini said he warned developers several weeks ago that the active construction sites and decreased visibility at corners could cause more accidents in the neighborhood.
"The intersection was already very dangerous," he said. "I warned them that adding the fence would cause accidents, and sure enough it did."
After the accidents, two temporary waist-high stop signs were installed on Washington and one on Carpenter, and concrete barricades were placed around the trench where a raised sidewalk is being removed, said Carla Agostinelli, executive director of the West Loop Community Organization. Crews working on the McDonald's site also removed the opaque construction tarps from the fence at the intersection.
Opaque green construction tarps have been removed from the fence at the intersection. [Christian Picciolini]
Moshe Tamssot said the new barricades, temporary stop signs and the removal of green construction tarps help, but the modifications aren't enough to stop accidents from happening at the intersection.
"I still think there could be more changes. It is still possible for cars to not have a view of those stop signs," he said. As the West Loop is redeveloped end to end, construction-related accidents "are going to be more and more common," he said.
Traffic on Washington sometimes travels well above the posted speed limit, too, Agostinelli said.
"These accidents underscore the need to come up with a traffic safety plan for the West Loop as a whole," she said.
With development booming in the neighborhood, bringing more traffic to the neighborhood, West Loop neighbors are growing increasingly concerned with traffic safety. After two recent accidents on Lake Street, residents earlier this month called on the city to make changes to the overcrowded thoroughfare.
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