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Dear Secretary Osman, 

On Jan. 7, 2024, Chicago’s first media-reported traffic fatality of 2024 occurred in my Senate district. Jason Kardish was hit and killed by a driver of a car while crossing Ashland Avenue and Diversey Parkway. 

Following this crash, I reached out to surrounding elected officials and local transit experts to advise on this matter. 

We reviewed Chicago traffic crash data and learned that there have been 19,955 traffic crashes on Ashland Avenue between Irving Park Road and 95th Street since 2015. Of these crashes, 27 resulted in fatalities. Additionally, we discovered that there have been 21 traffic fatalities in Senate District 20 since Sept. 1, 2017.

In response to the Jan. 7, 2024 crash, we are compelled to refer to Public Act 102-0333, which states that the Illinois Department of Transportation “shall conduct a traffic study following the occurrence of any accident involving a pedestrian fatality that occurs at an intersection of a state highway.”

I began a conversation with surrounding elected officials and reached out to the Chicago Department of Transportation regarding Public Act 102-0333, and we were informed the Ashland/Diversey location does not fall under the public act because it applies only to intersections on state highways. 

I was surprised to hear CDOT’s response, which I find inadequate for families coping with such a tragedy. This policy deserves another look and potential revision. 

The public deserves answers when traffic tragedies occur, regardless of what agency has purview over the roads. Recently I learned that the city and the state collaborated effectively, to execute a historic Memorandum of Understanding for the sake of expedient pedestrian safety solutions. This MOU was the culmination of a collaboration between aldermen, legislators, CDOT and IDOT in response to a fatal accident along Irving Park.  

It is my hope we can meet to discuss this as soon as possible with surrounding elected officials whose districts are similarly impacted by pedestrian safety challenges.


Natalie Toro

State Senator | 20th