Evanston’s City Council holds a special meeting next week to get a report from city officials on how to improve pedestrian safety.
While much of the attention in the report is expected to focus on improving safety at school crosswalks, one conclusion from data gathered for the report is that children are the least likely age group to be victims of pedestrian accidents in Evanston.
City officials broke down accident numbers by age group over the past three years. Comparing those to 2010 federal census data for Evanston shows that for their share of the population, young people are less than half as likely to be the victim of a pedestrian traffic accident.
Youngsters make up nearly 25 percent of the city’s population, but were victims in under 12 percent of the pedestrian accidents over the last three years for which victim age information was available.
By contrast, young adults and older adults are more likely to be struck by a car while out walking than their share of the city’s popuation would predict.
It’s unclear from the city’s data whether the disparity means that school crosswalk and crossing guard programs are keeping kids safer, or whether they simply walk less than adults do in circumstances that expose them to vehicle traffic.
There also are slight variations in the age classifications used by the city and census data. For example, the city data sets the boundary between children and young adults at age 18, while the census data makes age 19 the dividing line. And the city data sets the boundary between young and older adults at 53, while the census places the break at 54.
City officials note that the number of pedestrian accidents on the streets has decreased in recent years — from 67 in 2009 to 52 in 2011.
They credit a variety of steps for the gains — from improved signage and traffic enforcement activites to road resurfacing projects and traffic signal upgrades.
Sixteen intersections that don’t have traffic signals or stop signs are now being reviewed for possible pedestrian crossing upgrades. They are:
- Asbury Avenue at Grove Street.
- Central Street at Broadway Avenue.
- Chicago Avenue between Greenleaf and Lee streets.
- Church Street at Wesley Avenue.
- Crawford Avenue at Thayer Street.
- Dodge Avenue between Main and Oakton streets.
- Emerson Street at Oak Avenue.
- Hartrey Avenue in the 1200 block.
- Grant Street at Cartright Park.
- Grove Street at Elmwood Avenue.
- Main Street at Custer Avenue.
- Main Street near Pitner Avenue.
- Oakton Street at Barton Avenue.
- Oakton Street at Hartrey Avenue.
- Oakton Street at Florence Avenue.
- Ridge Avenue at Colfax Street.
Improvements could range from adding new signs to creating bumpouts to reduce the width of the roadway pedestrians have to cross.
The special City Council meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 6, at the Civic Center.
Above: A solar-powered flashing crosswalk sign that may be among the new pedestrian safety measures coming to Evanston.