Evanston police are investigating a traffic accident in which a 63-year-old Evanston man was fatally injured crossing Crawford Avenue at Grant Street late Saturday.

The accident, on the city’s border with Skokie, was first reported to Skokie police about 10:20 p.m. They responded to the scene, and Skokie paramedics transported the victim to Evanston Hospital where he was initially reported in critcial condition.

The victim died of his injuries shortly after 8 a.m. today.

Evanston police traffic reconstructionists are continuing to investigate the incident.

Update 4:25 p.m. 9/5/12: Police now say the driver of the car, a 77-year-old Evanston man, has been issued  traffic citations for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident and failure to yield to a pedestrian.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Is the city increasing the risk of accidents?

    While the story does not give any details, and I am not assuming any thing about this  accident.   

     As I drove around town today,  I see more and more of the cross walks were cars are suppose to stop for people crossing the street.

    Good idea, if used correctly, but it looks like the city went wild.   I saw these cross walk out east in Northhampton Mass. in their downtown area, their use of Central Street makes sense.  Traffic is moving slow and people are crossing the street.

    But the city is putting these on streets were traffic is moving at 25 mph at a consistent pace.  The ones on Sheridan Road in south Evanston concern me, there is little light at night, should someone step out in front of traffic will the drivers see them? How many others make no sense and actually increase the potential for an accident. Will a child get hit, thinking it is safe to cross?

    One of the problems with these as car drive down a street, they may or may not see a person coming up to the cross walk, if they don't and the person steps out, just as the car comes to the walk, they will be hit.

    Remember this is all about Wally and the council goals, safety was one of them, so the city goes overborad with little thought. I would like to see which account all this safety items came from, what did Wally cut out this year?

    Remember these are the same people that restrict your cell phone use while driving but they are allowed to talk on their phones.



    1. Stopping at crosswalks

      "But the city is putting these on streets were traffic is moving at 25 mph at a consistent pace."

      State law:

      (a) When traffic control signals are not in place or not in operation the driver of a vehicle shall stop and yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling, or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger.

      The city is putting up reminder signs at certain crosswalks.  But since 2010 you have been required to stop at crosswalks which do not have the signs.  You are implying incorrectly that these new signs are creating a new requirement.

      See the rules.


      1. I think you are missing Ponzi’s point.

        I think you are missing Ponzi's point.  He is not saying people should not stop, or that signs are creating a new requirement — he is suggesting that POSSIBLY the placement of the crosswalks (not the signs) maybe be too numerous and in the wrong places.

        I think Ponzi fully acknowledged that this is simply a possibility, but not necessarily the case.  And… he may very well be right.

        There are often unintended consequnces with traffic safety measures.  There are studies that suggest that too many stop signs diminish the importance of fully stopping at the signs, so people roll through them.  A major concern of speed bumps is that while they may slow traffic, they severely impact the ability of police, fire fighters, and EMT's from getting quickly to an emergency.  Etc.


  2. new traffic law needs emphasis – hence the signs

    Driving is, unfortunately, a sequence of habits that we use unconsciously. A new traffic law has to be emphasized for it to be internalized by drivers. Placing the new signs even in areas where there isn't much foot traffic helps drivers to understand that the law applies everywhere there is a crosswalk.

    I hadn't read the law, so I'm glad that it was hyperlinked here. What I'm still not certain about is the definition of a crosswalk…do they need to be marked with paint as on Central Street or does a crosswalk exist even if there is no marking, at every single intersection? The law says "when traffic control signals are not in place" so that would mean even intersections without stop signs, but no markings too?

    1. Crosswalks

      The statutory definition of "crosswalk" includes both marked and unmarked crosswalks.  So yes, drivers are required to stop for pedestrians in both types of crosswalks.  I've often thought that putting up the special STOP signs at wildly marked crosswalks creates the impression that stopping is not required at other crosswalks, whether or not marked, and it's been a pet peeve of mine.  There should be lots of public education on this, because it's a recent change in state law, which those of us who've had our drivers licenses for many years could easily misunderstand or even have not heard about. 

    2. Well, unfortuantely the new

      Well, unfortuantely the new signs instead of teaching and reinforcing the change in the law are reinforcing misconceptions and wishful thinking instead.  Suddenly the public is being educated that the 8 sided red stop signs which Illinois law reserves a single purpose (STOP) are being used for something else entirely.   Heaven help any pedestrian and motorist who have an accident at one of those corners.  

      Actually I suppose they'll both successfully sue the city for posting traffic signs that no one knows how to obey…

      Anyway, the law hasn't changed all that much – just replaced the word "yield" with the word "stop". Everyone has pretty much the same responsibilities as before.

      FYI a crosswalk in Illinois is defined as any location where pedestrians can be expected to cross – marked, painted or not – so it's a little bit open ended.

  3. Council goals versus REAL public safety

    Some additional thoughts – when is someone suppose to stop for the new stop signs for pedestrains?  Someone told me the notice people stoping at these signs when no one is even there.

    The law did make one point -(b) No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a moving vehicle which is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.

    Anyone have more thoughts on this, as they read this law, It very clear to me, that you stop at stop signs and signals that allow pedestrains the right of way. But this signs are a either or issues.  That is when do you stop?

    Some when some one is five feet from the curb? or in the cross walk?  

    Maybe the city should clearify this? These signs clearly are not even where in other communities.



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