LOGAN SQUARE — Neighbors want the city to add stop signs to a dangerous Logan Square intersection after a driver ran over a man and dragged him down the street on Sunday, but a ward official says city and state policy doesn’t allow it.
In less than 24 hours, nearly 250 neighbors have signed an online petition pushing for more stop signs at the intersection of Diversey and Albany avenues, which has been plagued by crashes and near-crashes for years.
The petition was created by Elsbeth Cool, a longtime Logan Square resident who witnessed the Sunday crash.
Cool said she was getting ready to close her bike shop Four Star Family Cyclery at 3101 W. Diversey Ave. around 3:20 p.m. Sunday when she noticed a man lying in the crosswalk across the street on Albany Avenue. Minutes later, a driver traveling westbound on Diversey Avenue turned right onto Albany and hit the man, dragging him “several hundred yards” down the street, Cool said.
Cool called 911 and rushed outside to help. The 44-year-old man was taken to Illinois Masonic Medical Center, where he was listed in critical condition, Chicago police spokeswoman Sally Bown said. Detectives are continuing to investigate Sunday’s crash, Bown said, but would not answer further questions about whether the driver stopped or fled the scene.
Cool reached out to Alds. Scott Waguespack (32nd) and Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez (33rd), and launched a petition to convert the intersection into a three-way stop. Both wards include part of the intersection.
Currently, the intersection only has one stop sign for cars traveling northbound on Albany Avenue, which is a one-way street. Cool and other neighbors want to see stop signs installed on both sides of Diversey Avenue to slow down speeding drivers.
“It would be really amazing for all of the hundreds of people who try to walk across the street,” Cool said. “It will slow down drivers for three seconds … but the net gain is just going to be so high for everybody, especially if it can prevent another horrible incident like this.”
Waguespack’s chief of staff Paul Sajovec said the ward office reached out to the city’s transportation department asking for a traffic study of the intersection. Sajovec said later Monday they were told Diversey is an arterial state route overseen by the Illinois Department of Transportation, and it would go against state and city transportation policy to add stop signs to that stretch.
There is currently a plan to resurface that segment of Diversey, and add curb extensions and bike lane improvements, Sajovec said.
Waguespack’s office has not received any complaints about this intersection prior to Sunday, Sajovec said.
Rodiguez-Sanchez’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
In her 13 years of living near the intersection and about a year of working there, Cool said she’s witnessed countless crashes and near-crashes. She said she and her kids, ages 9 and 7, have also almost been hit by speeding drivers.
That stretch of Diversey sits between two intersections with traffic lights — one at Sacramento and another at Kedzie. Drivers often speed up to beat those lights, which doesn’t mix well with the high foot traffic in the area, Cool said.
The intersection is often busy with people hopping on the No. 76 Diversey bus, families and their small children coming home from nearby daycares, elderly people on their way to the laundromat Laundryland at 3052 W. Diversey Ave. and people picking up food from the Indian restaurant Superkhana International at 3059 W. Diversey Ave., Cool said.
Stop signs would make the area “safer for everyone, drivers included,” she said.
“It’s not like a pedestrians vs. drivers thing. A stop sign makes the street more useable and safer for everyone who is using it,” she said.
For Cool and the neighbors who have signed the petition, stop signs are a “very simple intervention” to keep residents and visitors safe.
“Chicago has a lot of complicated problems, but installing stop signs shouldn’t be one of them,” Cool said.
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