Loop intersection tests all-way pedestrian crossing at State and Jackson

May 31, 2013 3:29:15 PM PDT
Pedestrians at State Street and Jackson Boulevard in Chicago's Loop can now cross diagonally through the intersection.

The all-way pedestrian crossing is called a pedestrian scramble intersection and has a 35-second traffic cycle in which all traffic, including bicycles, stops to allow people on foot to cross the street in any direction, even diagonally.

Fed by its close proximity to DePaul University's Loop Campus and John Marshall Law School, as well as being on the way to the CTA and Union Station train station, more than 41,000 pedestrians cross at the intersection of State and Jackson streets each day. That's double the vehicular traffic that uses the intersection.

Each year, more than 3,000 people are hit by vehicles in Chicago, according to officials. The Chicago Department of Transportation says the new crossing is going to be safer and easier for pedestrians, but warns that at first it may be confusing.

"I looked at it and it made me kind of dizzy with the X right on the floor," said Sharon Styles, pedestrian.

"I know how these people drive around here, and I'm afraid to be crossing the street as it is sometimes, so I don't know if I'll be using it," said Sarah Shaw, pedestrian.

It's been done in other cities, but is new to Chicago.

"I was in Toronto last weekend, they have these in the busiest areas. . . We want to see how it works in Chicago. We'll be testing it out. . . And making decisions on whether we want to make more," said Gabe Klein, CDOT commissioner.

CDOT painted new crosswalks at all four corners, plus diagonal crosswalks through the middle of the busy intersection- allowing pedestrians to quickly and safely cross. During the "diagonal cross," no vehicles are permitted to drive through the intersection.

There are also new signs telling drivers they can't go left or right at all at the intersection- essentially taking out the risk of a driver hitting a person. At normal intersections, drivers turning on green need to do so with extra caution.

There will be more stops. And for drivers, the inconvenience of not being able to turn will take some getting used to.

But in the end, pedestrians win.

"It's good to slow down the traffic a little bit because it gets to be very busy sometimes. So I think it's going to be great for the pedestrians," said Jazz Derrick, pedestrian.

Meanwhile, the CTA is rerouting two buses due to the stop:

  • Northbound #151 Sheridan route, which had traveled east on Jackson to State, then north to Washington Street, will now turn north on Dearborn Street. The #151 returns to its normal route at Washington, headed east to Michigan Avenue.

    The #130 Museum campus' eastbound routes will be altered to operate via Jackson, Clark, and Congress, then resume their current route on State. Westbound #130 service will not be affected.


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