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The Great and Terrible Chicago Pedway

All across America, cities are trying to find ways to ease congestion while providing safe alternatives to get around town. In Chicago, that alternative is the Pedway, which consists of bridges and tunnels that connect at least forty city blocks of the Central Business District. Approximately five miles long, the Pedway grants speedy access to public places, private spaces, transportation platforms, and many more parts of the Windy City. In addition, the Pedway combats traffic; it decreases the number of vehicle and pedestrian accidents and improves the flow of traffic.

But the Pedway isn’t perfect. The first issue is that the Pedway is not equally accessible to everyone, because it presents some real challenges for people with disabilities and mobility issues. The elevators don’t always work, and the automatic doors are heavy; as of 2017, at least 20 of these access doors violated ADA regulations.

The second is that maintenance is an ongoing problem. The Pedway was built by the city, but it is lined by private companies: shops, hotels, restaurants, and so forth. As such, there is always a bit of a tangle over who is actually responsible for keeping it clean and safe. In 2019, Chicago’s Pedestrian and Traffic Safety committee passed an ordinance that “was designed to make it easier for the city to work out deals with private owners to contribute funding to a proposed $12.5 million federal grant package” for better maintenance and signage.

Why does this matter? Because poor maintenance can contribute to safety concerns for both visitors with disabilities and without. Whether it’s the accumulation of debris, faulty and/or broken floor tiles or lights, improper signage warning of potential hazards, or any number of other concerns, anyone could be at risk of injuries from trips, slips, falls, or being hit with objects.

Who is liable if I am injured while walking along the Pedway?

The municipal Department of Transportation manages the Pedway. Therefore, in most liability and personal injury cases involving the Chicago Pedway, the city of Chicago itself is liable. In some cases, however, the business or property you were visiting could be responsible for upkeep, meaning that entity would be liable in the event of an injury. If, say, you were bitten by a dog belonging to a fellow Pedway user, then the dog owner could be liable.

The short answer is, it’s complicated. Keep in mind, though, that time is of the essence for any premises liability claim, and government claims have a shorter statute of limitations.

What kinds of injuries can people sustain in the Pedway?

The Pedway is a great alternative mode of transportation in the city of Chicago, but it has a few flaws. If you or a loved one was injured while you were walking along the Chicago Pedway or anywhere in the greater Chicagoland area, reach out to the personal injury attorneys at Gainsberg Law. Fill out our contact form or call 312-600-9585 to schedule a free consultation.