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Jefferson Park, Portage Park, Norwood Park

After Another Crash Leaves Man Critically Injured, Jefferson Park Neighbors Plead For Safety Upgrades At Dangerous Intersection

After recent crashes at Central and Catalpa, Ald. Jim Gardiner wants the city to do a traffic study on how to slow down speeding drivers.

About 10:40 p.m. Monday, a 26-year-old man drove through the intersection of North Central and West Catalpa Avenues and hit a 21-year-old man riding an electric scooter, according to police.
Ald. Jim Gardiner/ Facebook
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JEFFERSON PARK — Northwest Side neighbors and an alderman are urging the city to install speed bumps or a stop sign to prevent repeated crashes at a residential intersection, including one this week that sent a man to the hospital.

About 10:40 p.m. Monday, a 26-year-old man drove through the intersection of North Central and West Catalpa Avenues and hit a 21-year-old man riding an electric scooter, according to police.

The driver then hit two parked cars, police said. He was cited for driving with an expired license.

The man on the scooter was taken to Lutheran General Hospital with several fractures, police said. He was cited for operating an uninsured motor vehicle. Ald. Jim Gardiner (45th) posted on Facebook that the 21-year-old was in critical condition.

Credit: Google Maps
The intersection of North Central and West Catalpa Avenues has seen six accidents in the last year.

Nicole Richardson, who has lived close to the intersection for 18 years, said she heard screeching and a crash. She said several neighbors ran out of their houses to check on the man on the scooter, who was unconscious.

“When I got there, I wasn’t sure if he was alive … [but neighbors checked] and he had a pulse,” Richardson said.

Richardson said she saw the scooter halfway down the block from where the crash occurred.

“I could see a crumpled something. I couldn’t tell if it was a bicycle that was destroyed, but it was pretty late,” she said.

This crash is the third in about three weeks at that intersection, Richardson said. According to city data, there have been at least six car crashes at Central and Catalpa over the past year, including the one from Monday night.

Richardson said drivers have hit her building or run into the building on the southeast corner because they are speeding. Neighbors also have reported drivers crashing into their homes or close calls, she said.

On May 30, a driver “almost ran into the Northwest Side corner of our building,” Richrdson said. “A van flipped over in our front yard.”

Richardson said the area badly needs a safety overhaul, especially considering how close it is to James B. Farnsworth Elementary School.

Though Gardiner did not immediately respond to Block Club’s requests for comment, he posted on Facebook that his office asked the Chicago Department of Transportation to do a traffic study for the intersection and requested a four-way stop sign.

“My office has contacted the appropriate city departments on various occasions, the most recent on June 2nd, to help find a solution to this public safety issue,” Gardiner wrote.

A CDOT spokesperson said the department will do the study at Gardiner’s request but did not provide other information as to what could be done to stop drivers from speeding at the intersection.

Richardson said city officials told her they cannot install a stop light in the area, but she hopes they will consider a speed bump on Central. That would give pedestrians more time to safely cross the street without fear of fast cars approaching.

She said she hopes something can be changed soon before someone else gets hurt.

“At least a speed bump before Catalpa would encourage people to slow down,” Richardson said. “People are flying down Central. You can hear them in the middle of the night. … There is no reason for it.”

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