By John Hilkevitch
The Chicago Tribune
October 26, 2011
32 figures on Wacker represent pedestrians killed last year in city crashes
Chicago officials appear willing to try whatever tricks it may take to eliminate pedestrian deaths — even as they push a bill in the state Legislature that would allow cameras across much of the city to catch speeders.
City officials kicked off an effort Tuesday to reduce vehicle-pedestrian crashes, which includes safety messages stenciled on sidewalks, stickers inside taxis urging passengers to report reckless cabdrivers and flags for people to carry to boost their visibility while crossing streets.
The combined education and police-enforcement effort, involving about 15 initiatives, began with placing 32 mannequins — representing pedestrians killed in 2010 crashes across the city — on Wacker Drive downtown from Michigan Avenue to Wells Street.
“You’ll notice that some of it is sort of hard-hitting, some of it may even be a little bit shocking,” Chicago Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein said. He stood at Wacker and Wabash Avenue near mannequins wearing T-shirts reading, “One of 32 pedestrians killed last year in Chicago.”
The city announced a goal to reduce pedestrian fatalities to zero by 2020. In addition to the 32 deaths last year, about 3,000 pedestrians were injured in vehicle-related accidents citywide, records show.
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