January 31, 2013

Chicagoland Transportation Grant Could Mean Drop in Pedestrian Accident Fatalities

by Levin & Perconti

There are hundreds of thousands of people living in Chicago that don’t own cars, and who can blame them? Our city has one of the most comprehensive public transportation systems in the world, and this allows many people to get where they need to go without having to make a monthly car payment. Still, with the good comes the bad. Increased foot traffic inevitably comes with increases in Chicago pedestrian accidents. In 2010 4,280 lives were lost in pedestrian motor vehicle crashes. To put that in perspective, that’s one fatality every 2 hours, and this is on top of the 70,000 pedestrians who are left with serious injuries. (Walking Info)

But don’t lose hope yet Chicagoans, there’s good news. The Illinois Governor announced on Wednesday that Chicago and its suburbs are set to receive $25.6 million to construct and expand bicycle and walking paths around the region. This is just the tip of the iceberg, if you define an iceberg as 54 statewide projects with a cumulative budget of $49.4 million in federal transportation enhancement funding.

According to state officials, a little over half of the projects will directly affect the Chicago region, here are just a few:
• The Calumet-Sag Trail - $3.6 million
• The Millennium Trail in Lake County - $1.9 million
• The North Shore Channel Trail - $979,600
• The Thorn Creek Bicycle Trail in southern Cook County - $1.1 million

“These grants are really make-it-or-break-it for many of these projects,” said a spokesman for the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy organization. Despite federal funding for bike and walking trails and other transportation related construction being cut by almost 30 percent since MAP-21, the project has been approved and is scheduled to run through September 2014. (Chicago Tribune)

At present, pedestrian accidents account for roughly 11 percent of all motor fatalities, and with well over two thirds of these occurring on urban roads, this is wonderful news for the safety of Illinois residents. These new paths and trails will provide convenient and safe areas to exercise and get from one place to another in the suburbs as well as the city.

Because of the nature of our profession, our lawyers know how devastating injuries can be when a steel bumper meets an unsuspecting pedestrian. Recently our lawyers handled a case in which a bus struck a 50-year-old woman as she crossed the street, causing serious injury. Our team was able to recover a $1.25 million settlement for our client to aid in paying medical bills, make up for lost wages, and generally compensate her for the pain and suffering caused by the incident.

This case is just one of many that we handle every year, and if you have been in a similar predicament, we can help you too. If you believe you may have a case, please call our law office for a free consultation to explore your options.

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