The City of Chicago is working to improve pedestrian safety and accessibility throughout the city. In support of this goal, Civiltech has provided design and construction engineering expertise through a number of overarching contracts.

The Chicago Department of Transportation’s (CDOT) Arterial Street Resurfacing (AR) program delivers over 50 miles of Arterial Street paving annually.  This work includes spatial analysis and priority scoring to aid in selection of priority locations. Under the Arterial Resurfacing contracts, Civiltech provides project programming, phase I design, construction engineering services, and extensive Phase II Design Engineering with a robust focus on pedestrian and bike facility design.

Pedestrian facility design associated with CDOT’s AR street resurfacing project usually includes improving sidewalks and bringing them to ADA compliance with safe and accessible curb ramps and surface detection treatments. But another significant component of pedestrian safety is creating safer pedestrian crossings at wide multi-laned and busy streets. The two primary design features that increase safety, accessibility, and comfort at pedestrian crossings are Curb Extensions and Pedestrian Refuge Islands.

Curb Extensions are designed to decrease the length of the pedestrian crossing and to calm traffic approaching that crossing.  The curb is extended into the intersection at the location of the crosswalk reducing the distance of the crosswalk.  Also, while the traffic lane width may remain the same, the visual narrowing of the street helps to slow traffic and draw attention to the crosswalk.

Pedestrian Refuge Islands are designed to give pedestrians a resting point in the middle of the road they are crossing and bifurcating their crossing.  Pedestrian Refuge Islands prevent pedestrians from needing to cross the entire roadway in one traffic signal cycle if at a signalized intersection, and they allow pedestrians to navigate the crossing one direction of traffic at a time when placed mid-block or at non-signalized intersections.

Since 2018 as part of CDOT’s annual Arterial Resurfacing projects, Civiltech has designed almost 1200 curb extensions and almost 100 pedestrian refuge islands in corridors throughout the city.  The CDOT AR Program is one of the leading groups at CDOT installing pedestrian infrastructure throughout the City of Chicago. Civiltech is grateful to be a part of this project.

Civiltech also works extensively with CDOT’s Complete Streets group providing phase I design engineering services for pedestrian facilities. Under that contract, Civiltech has completed another 48 curb extensions and 20 pedestrian refuge islands as spot improvements throughout the city. Many of these pedestrian designs have been constructed through CDOT’s AR program.

Civiltech has also worked with the Complete Streets group in providing “rapid delivery” solutions. Rapid delivery involves designing paint and post bump-outs to create curb extensions or pedestrian refuge islands. A paint and post bump-out is designed with paint and flexible delineators (a type of flexible bollard or post) which make them inexpensive and allow for quick installation.

The project is considered “rapid delivery” due to the ability to install them quickly after design. These bump-outs are intended as an intermediate solution to improve pedestrian safety at an intersection until a more permanent installation can be completed. Since 2018, Civiltech has provided over 100 rapid delivery intersection improvements and has begun providing a similar design approach in the City of Milwaukee.