There's big news today in the South Loop. A new set of traffic lights--where none ever were before--has been installed and is working at 13th and Wabash. Fully functioning. A red light, a green light, a yellow light.
It's been in the works for years. People in the neighborhood said they constantly felt vulnerable, unseen and in great danger at that intersection. Which houses a warehouse on one corner, a small bank branch on another, The Scout (a sports bar and restaurant that formerly was the site of a Pan-Asian gem called Opera) on the third--and the southeast corner of the Roosevelt and Wabash Jewel-Osco on the fourth. At least once a week, someone told a horror story about almost getting hit while crossing the intersection east to west or vice versa--and Alderman Fioretti decided a while back to do something about it. What made the intersection so dangerous no one seemed to know. The sight lines seem ok. Nothing seems to obstruct there. Unless big trucks were hugging the corners. The stop sign was eminently visible.
So several months back, all four corners were torn apart for electrical wiring to be installed. The corners--shaped like big pie wedges--stayed sandy, gravelly and muddy for quite some time. Finally, the light poles were put in, but remained non-working for a long while. Then suddenly, they flashed red--requiring drivers for a time to adhere to the same "rule" that the stop sign formerly required them to.
And now, ta-da! It's suddenly become a real working light. Drivers in all directions have to stop. And wait.
The neighborhood will have to get used to the new era of The Light At The Corner Of 13th and Wabash. I wonder what drivers and pedestrians will think. And do. And feel. Because it's something new for the neighborhood.