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Group walks for safety on crash-plagued stretch of Pulaski Road on Chicago's Southwest Side

Neighbors fight for safety on crash-plagued road on Chicago's Southwest Side
Neighbors fight for safety on crash-plagued road on Chicago's Southwest Side 02:27

CHICAGO (CBS) -- People living on Chicago's Southwest Side say they are fed up with dangerous crashes in their area.

The crashes plague Pulaski Road in the West Elsdon and West Lawn communities. A beloved Chicago Public Schools educator was killed in a hit-and-run on that stretch of Pulaski Road earlier this year.

Residents walked along Pulaski Road to halt unsafe traffic Wednesday night.

"We'resurveying the entire length of Pulaski from the I-55 bridge at 40th all the way south to the Belt Railway Bridge at 71st," said Dixon Galvez-Searle of the neighborhood group the Southwest Collective, "and the reason we're doing that is because there's been a lot of crashes."

Along that stretch, there have been over 1,500 accidents, according to the office of Ald. Silvana Tabares (23rd). Now, the neighborhood group the Southwest Collective is conducting a neighborhood survey and a series of walks along Pulaski Road to hear from residents about what is happening on their corners.

"Several people have been hit while just crossing the street – doing what we should all be able to do, walking out and about in our neighborhood," said Galvez-Searle. "We still have this, essentially, expressway through the middle of our neighborhood."

The neighborhood advocates hope to take the feedback they receive to the Illinois and Chicago departments of transportation, so they can make some changes.

"Do a little bit of a road diet," said Micheal Podgers of Better Streets Chicago. "Make the sidewalks wider, improve crosswalks, slow down traffic - would really have a lot of improvements."

Joining the advocates on their walk was a representative from the Chicago Department of Transportation, who said projects are already under way to make the area safer.

"Really, we just want to kind of get some traffic-calming features out here to kind of just encourage people to naturally drive slower and a little more safely," said Carl Schwarzer of CDOT.

The intersection of 63rd Street and Pulaski Road was one of the stops the group made on their walk. On a one-block stretch of Pulaski Road near 63rd Street, there have been several major and even fatal crashes this year alone.

In March, Chicago Public Schools teacher's aide Charles Mills was killed in a hit-and-run while crossing Pulaski Road there. Just weeks later, a car rammed into a business at the busy intersection.

The people surveying the roadway Wednesday night are hoping such tragedies never happen again.

"Cars speed, cars can drive recklessly - and we've seen that reinforced on a lot of our walks," said Galvez-Searle. "We want to make sure that all of those voices are taken seriously."

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