Pilsen Street Renamed For Hit-and-Run Victim

The 1700 block of South Halsted was renamed "Martha Gonzalez Place"

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Andrew Kudelka
    The 1700 block of South Halsted was designated "Martha Gonzalez Place" on Tuesday in honor of a 2009 hit-and-run victim. The driver of the car that struck Gonzalez is still at large.

    The victim of a fatal 2009 hit-and-run in Pilsen was remembered Tuesday with a street named in her honor near where she was killed.

    Martha Gonzalez, 36, was struck Oct. 13, 2009, by a CTA bus and a car that fled the scene at 18th and Halsted streets. On Tuesday, friends and family gathered with Ald. Danny Solis to designate the 1700 block of South Halsted as "Martha Gonzalez Place."

    "It's fortuitous," said Andrew Kudelka, Gonzalez's husband. "It helps us keep the word out. It reinvigorates the message."

    The driver of the car that stuck Gonzalez is still at large. The Martha Gonzalez Memorial Committee, a group of her family and friends, is offering a $10,000 reward to anyone with information leading to the driver's conviction.

    After Gonzalez's death, the committee petitioned Solis' office to improve the intersection and prevent further crashes near 18th and Halsted. Since then, crosswalks were repainted, "Yield to Pedestrian" signs were posted and a three-second delay was added to crosswalks.

    The intersection was the subject of controversy for several years when an Express Grill applied to open a late-night food stand there.

    Some residents didn't want the all-night Polish sausage stand in their neighborhood, citing increased late-night traffic. Ald. Danny Solis agreed with residents and put a hold on Express Grill's business license application.

    Cook County Judge Nancy Arnold ruled last month that business owner Alex Lazarevski secured proper building permits and approved it to open.

    Kudelka says the Martha Gonzalez Memorial Committee will continue raising community awareness with plans to host a second walkability assessment later this year. Those with information on the driver that stuck Gonzalez are asked to call 312-203-4986.