Group Says It's Time to Improve Avondale Intersection Where ‘School of Rock' Actor Was Killed

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Three years after calling a Northwest Side intersection “notoriously unsafe and hazardous,” the Active Transportation Alliance renewed calls Thursday for improvements where “School of Rock” actor Kevin Clark was fatally struck by a car while biking.

“We can only hope that we see an immediate response before another tragedy happens,” said Jim Merrell, managing director of advocacy for ATA. “This didn’t have to happen.”

Clark, 32, was riding a bicycle around 1:20 a.m. Wednesday when he was hit by a Hyundai Sonata at Western Avenue and Logan Boulevard, Chicago police said. He died at Illinois Masonic Medical Center.

A witness and the driver of the Hyundai, a 20-year-old woman, told officers that Clark ran a red light before he was hit, according to a police crash report. The driver was issued several citations, but the accident remains under investigation.

Clark was at least the second bicyclist killed at the intersection in recent years. Tyler Fabeck, 22, was struck and killed by a driver there in April 2008. Two major roads cross at the intersection, which is partly under the Kennedy Expressway.

The ATA identified the intersection as a “high-crash area” due to poor visibility and high traffic in a study released in 2018. The study included several suggestions for changes that would make the intersection safer to navigate.

Merrell said the recommendations have yet to be put in place, despite community consensus.

“It was very clear that people in the neighborhood all were very familiar with this intersection being notoriously unsafe and hazardous,” Merrell said. “We heard a lot of comments saying that it didn’t matter how people were passing through the intersection, it feels unsafe and uncomfortable for all users of the roadway.”

According to the study, “inadequate lighting” at the intersection “poses a challenge to all users in the corridor.” The study also says the “angle” of the intersection makes it difficult to see traffic lights, while fading street signs create confusion.

The study concluded that protected bike lanes should be added along the roadway in the area, and traffic lights needed to be improved. It also suggested speed bumps, bump-outs and other measures be implemented to curb speeding and distracted driving.

Merrell said its “devastating” anytime someone loses their life on Chicago’s roadways, and “even more so because we know fatal crashes like this are 100% preventable.

“We know the kinds of street design solutions that can be put into place to make crashes like this a thing of the past,” Merrell said.

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