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Pedestrian Death Surge Continues With 27 This Year, City Data Shows

By Heather Cherone | August 14, 2017 5:53am | Updated on August 15, 2017 11:43am
 Through July, 10 percent more pedestrians have been killed in 2017 than last year, city data shows.
Through July, 10 percent more pedestrians have been killed in 2017 than last year, city data shows.
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CHICAGO — Twenty-seven pedestrians have been killed in the first half of 2017, according to data presented to the mayor’s Pedestrian Advisory Committee.

That's one more death than during the same January-through-July period in 2016, making it clear that the surge in pedestrian deaths has not reversed course, city data reveals.

Fourty-four pedestrians were killed in the city last year, according to data presented to the committee last week.

The increase in deaths has come since 2013, when 27 pedestrians were killed in crashes, the lowest number since at least 2005.

City officials have vowed to eliminate death and serious injuries from traffic crashes by 2026 as part of the mayor's Vision Zero campaign.

Between 2010 and 2014, an average of three people were killed or seriously injured every day in the greater Chicago region while walking or bicycling in traffic, according to data presented to the council.

The Governors Highway Safety Association, which represents state highway safety offices, found that an increase in motor vehicle travel and the growing use of cellphones among pedestrians and drivers could be among the reasons for the increase in the number of fatal crashes involving pedestrians.

Chicago Police Deputy Chief of Patrol George Devereux blamed the increase in deaths on "reckless driving by young people."

The increase in deaths has hit areas of Chicago where the level of economic hardship is highest, officials said.

City officials plan to concentrate their efforts in 14 neighborhoods that make up 20 percent of the city and 25 percent of its population — but account for 35 percent of all traffic-related injuries and deaths.

Those efforts will start on the Near West Side, West Garfield Park, East Garfield Park, Austin and North Lawndale neighborhoods, city officials said.

Three community meetings are scheduled in September to help craft an education plan, and possibly, street redesigns to make areas safer, officials said.

Those meetings will take place:

• From 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 26 at the Douglass branch of the Chicago Public Library, 3353 W. 13th St.

• From 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 27 at the Legler branch of the Chicago Public Library, 115 S. Pulaski Road

• From 1 to 3 p.m. Sept. 30 at the Austin branch of the Chicago Public Library, 5615 W. Race Ave.

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