Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Chicago Crosswalk Sting and "Drive With Care" Program


Police officers in plainclothes targeting drivers who don't yield to pedestrians, By Melissa Patterson, Chicago Tribune reporter, June 9, 2008

The Chicago police had announced what they were up to: a sting to nab drivers who don't yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. They even disclosed the when and the where. It was in all the papers—on Page One.

Still, when Officer John Porter stepped cautiously into the crosswalk at the busy intersection of North Lawndale and West Belmont Avenues on Monday, he put himself in harm's way, time after time.

In just two hours, with Porter as their lone decoy, police pulled over 101 drivers, issuing them warning citations.

While motorists in some other towns may stop, smile and even wave to pedestrians, that doesn't seem to be the Chicago way, officials said.

Announced last week, the sting was a joint effort by the Chicago police, Chicago Department of Transportation and the driving-safety campaign, which is run by the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation. Part of a larger awareness effort incorporating marketing, enforcement and street design, the campaign is funded through a traffic safety grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Leaders of Northwest Chicago Drive With Care eventually hope to expand the program citywide and statewide. Pedestrian rallies, a 30,000-signature Drive With Care pledge and a yard-sign awareness campaign are a few of the events planned for later this year, Mihalic said.

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