Wheaton Pedestrian Safety Plan To Lower Residential Speed Limits

Improved Wheaton pedestrian safety is a stated goal of a recently approved plan to lower the speed limit on most residential streets.  The new speed limit will be 25 mph, compared to the current 30 mph speed limit.

Pedestrian safety continues to be a national concern, due to the ongoing high (from a historical perspective) level of pedestrian accidents.  As further discussed on the “DuPage County Pedestrian Accidents” page, accidents in which people are hit by cars or other vehicles often cause serious accident injuries.  In some cases, these injuries lead to the death of the pedestrian.  As seen in the DuPage County pedestrian accidents that have been summarized on this site, a broad range of serious accident injuries can occur if a person is struck by a vehicle.  Among the most serious of these injuries is brain injuries.

An excerpt regarding the Wheaton pedestrian safety initiative, from the July 17, 2018 Kane County Chronicle article titled “Wheaton lowers speed limit for residential streets“:

City Council member Suzanne Fitch said the new speed limits are “just one component” to making streets safer for pedestrians.

“We also have our sidewalk program ensuring that we have a sidewalk on at least one side of a street so kids can get safely to and from school,” Fitch said. “And then I think another component is having the police department or communications department educate residents about the dangers of distracted driving. And maybe when we do our education campaign for the new speed limit, we can incorporate that as well.”

Additional details and possible updates concerning this Wheaton pedestrian safety initiative can be seen in a variety of media sources, including the article mentioned above as well as the July 17 Lisle Patch article titled “Wheaton Lowers Speed Limit In Neighborhoods.”  Both articles list which streets will remain at their current speed limits.

Illinois Traffic Accident Fatalities Discussion

On December 17, 2016 the State Journal-Register published an article titled “Speeding ticket numbers down, fatalities up on Illinois roads.”  The article discusses trends in Illinois traffic fatalities, the number of speeding tickets being issued by the Illinois State Police (ISP), and what factors may be causing the increase in Illinois fatal traffic accidents.

An excerpt from the article:

Over the past five years, the number of Illinois State Police troopers on patrol and the number of speeding citations they’ve issued statewide have gone down significantly. Troopers issued 211,857 speeding tickets in 2010, and last year, 126,959 tickets were issued, a decline of 40 percent.

The article also discusses various factors that are leading to the increase in Illinois traffic fatalities, which have already surpassed 1000 for the year.

One of the factors mentioned is distracted driving.  An excerpt:

Matt Wells, associate director of the Midwest Trucking Association, 2727 Dirksen Parkway, said a lot of the commercial drivers he talks to still see people using their cellphones while driving.

“When we are talking to the drivers who are out on the road today, we are still seeing a lot of people operating their cars distracted,” Wells said. “They are either texting, perusing Facebook or not paying attention to the roadway via hand-held mobile devices or even watching videos in the driver’s seat on a tablet.”

Additional details can be seen in the sj-r.com article mentioned above.

Traffic Accident Fatalities Projected To Increase In Illinois

Traffic accident fatalities in Illinois are projected to pass 1,000 this year (2016), which will be the first time since 2008 that this level will have been surpassed.

An excerpt from the August 13, 2016 The State Journal-Register article titled “Illinois traffic fatalities on pace for eight-year high in 2016“:

As of Friday, 629 people had died in vehicle, motorcycle, pedestrian and bicycle crashes in Illinois this year, up 50 from the same period of 2015. The increase follows 998 fatalities in 2015, which was the highest number since 1,043 died in 2008. Despite the increase, fatalities remain well below pre-recession levels of more than 1,200 a year.

There are many potential reasons for this increase in those who die in Illinois traffic accidents.  The State Journal-Register article mentioned above cites a few factors, including higher speed limits on rural interstates, increased distractions, more miles being driven, and other factors.

The increase in traffic accident deaths has been increasing nationally, although those in Illinois are outpacing the national increases.  Another excerpt from the article:

The deadly toll reflects national trends, though Kolosh said fatalities in Illinois are rising faster, even as average miles driven have lagged. The council reported 38,300 deaths nationwide in 2015, up 8 percent from 2014 and the largest annual increase in 50 years.

The article also provides statistics regarding recent-era (from 2006) annual Illinois traffic fatalities, as well as results from a survey regarding driving habits.

Additional details regarding these fatal Illinois traffic accident trends can be seen in article mentioned above, as well as The Southern article of August 16 titled “Illinois traffic fatalities expected to reach 1,000 in 2016.”

Road Conditions Warning For Chicago Area

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has issued a news release (“Heavy Snowfall, Strong Winds to Create Hazardous Conditions Tonight and Super Bowl Sunday”) on January 31, 2015 regarding expected hazardous road conditions caused by high anticipated snowfall, including blizzard conditions.  While heavy snowfall is expected throughout Illinois, the highest level of snow should fall in the Chicago area, including DuPage County.

A few excerpts from the release:

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) announced today that a winter storm anticipated to deliver heavy snowfall, strong winds and the potential for blowing and drifting snow will create hazardous driving conditions tonight and Sunday. Motorists should be alert for slick roadways, take extra precautions when driving and consider traveling only if it is necessary.

also:

National Weather Service forecasters are predicting 8 to 10 inches of snow across much of northern Illinois starting tonight and into Sunday, with 10 to 14 inches in the Chicago area, 3 to 6 inches in the central part of the state and 2 inches or less in southern Illinois. Gusty northeast windsSunday afternoon and evening could produce blowing and drifting snow, significantly reducing visibility. Throughout the day today, IDOT has been pretreating bridge decks and elevated driving surfaces that are susceptible to icing.

also:

“Public safety is every driver’s responsibility. Motorists should take every precaution, reduce their speeds and avoid unnecessary travel to help keep roads safe,” said state police Col. Mike Zerbonia. “Avoiding distractions and keeping extra distance between vehicles will help when navigating through snow and ice conditions.”

The news release also contains a variety of recommended safety tips, including a warning concerning “black ice.”

Additional details can be seen in the IDOT news release mentioned above, and details regarding the anticipated snowstorm, including blizzard and potential “whiteout” conditions, can be seen in the February 1 Chicago Tribune article titled “Blizzard warning expected for Chicago area; Hundreds of flights canceled” as well as the Naperville Patch article of February 1, 2015 titled “‘Extraordinary Dangerous’ Travel Conditions as Blizzard Warning Issued for Chicago Area.”