The Chicago Pedway: Liability Beneath the Surface
The Chicago Pedway provides a great way for pedestrians to get around the Loop during inclement weather, but there are some dangers with it that could lead to accidents. Some areas of the Pedway have large cracks in the floor or are sunken, which could cause people to slip and fall. People who are in wheelchairs may have a difficult time safely navigating through the Pedway because of the cracks, sunken areas, debris, heavy doors and malfunctioning elevators. The city may be liable to people who are seriously injured when they slip and fall in the Pedway because of hazards about which the city knows or should reasonably know.
Problems With the Pedway
The city started building the Pedway in 1951, and it underwent a major expansion in 1989. It runs underground with a system of tunnels that cover 40 city blocks and five miles of the Loop. The Pedway provides a great way for pedestrians to avoid the cold during the winters and the heat during the summers. It also allows them to avoid sharing the roads with vehicles. However, sections of the Pedway are in disrepair. Some areas that are not heavily trafficked have not been properly maintained and have debris that can cause people to trip. There are areas where there are cracks in the floors that are large enough to catch wheelchair wheels or shoes, potentially causing people to fall. Areas that are not as traveled also do not have adequate security, leaving people who pass through them more vulnerable.
The city Department of Transportation is responsible for the management of the Pedway. It is assessing the Pedway for needed improvements and has been notified about the safety issues by CBS 2. If the city fails to repair the cracks, sunken areas and other potential hazards in the Pedway and someone is seriously injured because of them, the city may potentially be liable to pay the injured victim damages for his or her losses.
The Pedway offers a great alternative to walking in the Loop outside during the winter, but it needs to be repaired before someone gets hurt. The city should do the work that is needed to update it so that it is safer and more accessible.