Inadequate road maintenance is another cause of increased traffic crashes

Chicago seems to have fallen badly behind in lane marking, making it difficult for drivers to maintain proper positions. The city also makes no effort to maintain some of its traffic signage and needs to fix potholes.

SHARE Inadequate road maintenance is another cause of increased traffic crashes
Traffic flows along Interstate 90 highway as a Metra suburban commuter train moves along an elevated track in Chicago on March 31, 2021. 

Traffic flows along I-90 as a Metra suburban commuter train moves along an elevated track in Chicago on March 31, 2021.

AP

There is no doubt that increasingly dangerous driving in the last year is a major cause of increased accidents and fatalities. In my life, I have never been in so many near-miss incidents, caused by drivers who speed — often weaving through traffic — cut off other motorists and blatantly ignore stop signs and traffic signals.

However, our state and local authorities also bear some blame. Their actions and inactions have created problems that impact driver safety.

The never-ending roadwork on major expressways (e.g., the west-bound Kennedy past the Harlem exit, the Tri-State Tollway and the Kennedy-Ryan around the Byrne Interchange) involve never-ending lane reconfigurations that are never clearly marked. Currently, the first overhead sign noting the upcoming exit towards O’Hare Airport (via reconfigured lanes and ramps) no longer also indicates that it is the exit to Indiana via the southbound Tri-State.

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com. We want to hear from our readers. To be considered for publication, letters must include your full name, your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes. Letters should be a maximum of approximately 350 words maximum.

It is thus easy to miss this exit, especially when drivers are now faced with traffic coming onto the Kennedy at that moment from the right of the reconfigured lanes. Our “traffic engineers” seem to have no sense of the dangerous criss-cross lanes they are creating.

Chicago seems to have fallen badly behind in lane marking, making it difficult for drivers to maintain proper positions. The city also makes no effort to maintain some of its traffic signage. For instance, the overhead electronic “No-Left-Turn” signs on northbound Nagle at Gregory — a dangerous intersection involving traffic exiting from the eastbound Kennedy — are at least partially out for months at a time even after being reported, as I have done.

The right lane on that route has suddenly developed a deep pothole, and the city seems to not be aware of the bad potholes on many city streets and even expressways. Chicago has now installed new signs to note the renaming of “Lake Shore Drive” as “DuSable Lake Shore Drive”; it would be nice if they would now repair the roadway itself, which has some major “bumps.” Since bad potholes can damage tires, drivers often swerve to avoid them.

Alleviation of some of these problems should create safer driving conditions, which might help reduce the increased accidents and fatalities.

Charles Berg, Hyde Park/Kenwood

Parents, know about your children

With shootings and other mayhem in downtown Chicago often perpetrated lately by groups of young people, Mayor Lori Lightfoot has called upon parents to find out where their dependent children are going when they leave home at night, especially on weekends.

What parents should also be concerned about is who those children really are; that is, are they growing up wanting to get the most out of school, with a view toward a line of work they picture as interesting and rewarding, accepting disappointments as well as success in everyday life without resorting to violence when things don’t go their way, as they might best learn from examples set at home?

It’s not just where they are, but who they are that’s really going to count in taking advantage of the opportunities they might find in the future.

J.L. Stern, Highland Park

The Latest
The 29-year-old was taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, police said.
Cubs catcher Yan Gomes, who is opposed to an automated strike zone, says the “best thing in baseball” is the human element.
Jackson, a federal judge since 2013, on Thursday became the first Black woman elevated to the nation’s highest court. Mayor Lori Lightfoot tweeted that her “ascension to the bench now tells the world that the seemingly impossible is possible. So proud!”
Joseph Guardia, 27, has been charged with the attack. He has offered no motive to police other than he is an “angry person,” according to prosecutors.
R. Kelly’s legal saga has been an unnecessarily drawn out debacle fueled by denial, greed and the willingness to ignore the cries of mostly Black girls and women.