New all-way crossing at Jackson and State

The “pedestrian scramble” has made its way to the Loop. A new all-way pedestrian crossing set-up is being tested at State Street and Jackson Boulevard on DePaul’s Loop Campus as part of a pilot program to improve traffic safety.

The new crosswalks allow pedestrians to cross the intersection diagonally for 35 seconds while all vehicular and bike traffic is stopped and prohibited from turning, according to the Chicago Department of Transportation.

“This new all-way crossing will improve the pedestrian environment and vehicular timing at this very busy downtown intersection,” Department of Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein said. “This is part of our strategy to eliminate as many conflicts as possible for everyone’s safety and enhanced vehicle throughput as well.”

The new crossing pattern hit some students as a surprise.

“I was actually a little confused when I first saw the new crossing set-up,” DePaul sophomore Sam Wasserman said. “I didn’t know they were putting the new crossings in. I think that it is a good idea though.”

The intersection also features voice recordings that instruct pedestrians when it is safe for all sides to cross, Wasserman said.

The State and Jackson intersection is busy with commuters channeling to and from Union Station and CTA trains. The intersection sees about 41,600 pedestrians crossing the intersection on a typical weekday – about twice the number of vehicles that pass through the intersection, according to the department of transportation.

“Due to businesses and schools nearby, this intersection is always busy and this pilot may help in rescuing congestions and conflicts,” Alderman Brendan Reilly said.

More than 3,000 people are hit by vehicles in Chicago each year, and this program is an effort to increase safety for pedestrians and drivers. The pilot program will continue for several months with the potential for permanent changes based on the success of the program, according to the Department of Transportation.

The new crosswalks are part of a broader citywide safety campaign called “Be Safe, Be Alert” that encourages drivers, pedestrians and cyclists to pay attention and obey traffic laws. The campaign will continue this summer with CTA advertisements, sidewalk stickers and signage inside taxis.