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Deadly Car Crashes Up 79 Percent In Chicago, 25 Killed Since January

By Heather Cherone | May 12, 2017 5:49am | Updated on May 12, 2017 11:35am
 The number of drivers and passengers killed in car crashes in Chicago jumped 79 percent this year, according to data presented to the Mayor's Pedestrian Advisory Commission by Chicago Transportation Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld.
The number of drivers and passengers killed in car crashes in Chicago jumped 79 percent this year, according to data presented to the Mayor's Pedestrian Advisory Commission by Chicago Transportation Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld.
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Chicago Fire Department

CITY HALL — The number of drivers and passengers killed in car crashes in Chicago jumped 79 percent this year, according to data presented to the Mayor's Pedestrian Advisory Commission by Chicago Transportation Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld.

Twenty-five people have died in cars as the result of crashes since Jan. 1, as compared with 14 in the same period in 2016, Scheinfeld said.

A car and CTA bus crash left four people dead Sunday morning on the Near West Side, police said.

The spike "underscores the importance of working to address these issues," Scheinfeld said Wednesday at the advisory commission meeting.

Fourteen pedestrians were killed between Jan. 1 and April 30, two deaths fewer than in 2016, Scheinfeld said.

Despite the decrease, the number of pedestrians killed by cars is "still unacceptable," Scheinfeld said.

Since 2011, the number of pedestrian fatalities has risen 8 percent, which mirrors a nationwide trend, Scheinfeld said.

RELATED: Surge In Pedestrian Deaths Shows No Sign Of Slowing: Data

Scheinfeld has pledged that city officials will step up their efforts to achieve the city's goal of eliminating death and serious injuries from traffic crashes by 2026 as part of the mayor's Vision Zero campaign.

With a $185,000 grant from Road to Zero Coalition, which includes several federal agencies, the Vision Zero effort will launch in Austin, Lawndale, Garfield Park and the Near West Side.

From 2010-14, 915 people were killed in crashes in those areas, according to data from the Chicago Department of Transportation.

People in those neighborhoods — which the U.S. Census found has a high level of economic hardship — are much more likely to be injured or killed in car crashes, according to city data.

"This is where we are going to start," Deputy Department of Transportation Commissioner Luann Hamilton said.

Four community organizers will be hired to develop an action plan based on the pattern of traffic crashes and in consultation with local groups and residents. The plan is expected to include an education plan and could propose street redesigns to make areas safer, Hamilton said.

RELATED: Car Crashes Killed 112 In City In 2015, Including 40 Pedestrians: IDOT

In addition, the streets around 10 schools are set to be improved this summer and fall with pedestrian refuge islands, new sidewalks, walk countdown timers, speed feedback signs, bicycle racks, speed humps, raised crosswalks and new signs, city traffic engineers said.

Those 10 schools are:

Amundsen High School in Lincoln Square

Roosevelt High School in Albany Park

Lane Tech High School in North Center

Clemente High School in Humboldt Park

• Faraday Elementary School in East Garfield Park

Marshall High School in East Garfield Park

• St. Agatha Catholic Academy in North Lawndale

• Kanoon Elementary School in Little Village

Kelly High School in Brighton Park

• Harlan High School in Roseland