Hundreds march to demand safer infrastructure and redesigned streets

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Chicago Construction News staff writer

Over 300 people gathered Sunday at Lincoln Square to demand safer infracture that protects bicyclists and pedestrians.

The protest was organized by Better Streets Chicago and Chicago Family Biking after two toddlers were hit by vehicles and killed in June. Families, elected officials and bike safety advocates gathered for the “Walk and Roll for Safe Streets” event.

Pointing to unsafe driving, poor enforcement and insufficient infrastructure for bike lanes, protesters are demanding city streets be redesigned to prioritize pedestrian safety.

Organizers are urging residents to provide feedback to the city through the Capital Improvement Suggestion program currently underway.

“We’d like to hear from you about what types of capital projects we should invest in through the Chicago Works program,” the city says on its website. “We are collecting this information for planning purposes and to better understand the kind of transportation improvements Chicagoans would like to see in their neighbourhoods.”

Four cyclists and 15 pedestrians have been killed this year in the city, according to Better Streets Chicago.

Lily Shambrook, 3, was killed while riding on a bike after her mother lost control and struck a semi in Uptown June 2, police said.

A spokesperson for CDOT has confirmed they are conducting a complete review of what led up to the child’s death

The Active Transportation Alliance says bike lanes aren’t good enough on busy streets. Instead, the organization is asking city leaders for infrastructure to slow cars down, such as raised crosswalks and raised intersections.

Kyle Lucas of Better Streets Chicago led protesters with chants calling for concrete, citywide bike lanes and for drivers to slow down.

“We have to implement expert-recommended, gold-standard road designs instead of watering them down for small but loud voices. Safe streets are not public opinion, they have to be the default,” he said.

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