speed-limit-25

Evanston aldermen voted Monday to have ordinances drafted cutting the speed limit on three major streets to 25 miles per hour.

They also asked staff to research the possibility of setting the same limit for the rest of the city’s through streets.

Evanston already has a 25 mile per hour speed limit on side streets throughout the city and on certain sections of major roads.

The aldermen plan to vote next Monday on measures that would reduce the speed limits to 25 miles per hour on:

  • Chicago Avenue from Dempster Street to South Boulevard.
  • Central Street from McDaniel Avenue to Central Park Avenue.
  • Oakton Street for its entire length.

That would leave portions of 14 streets with 30 mile per hour limits, and two — Golf Road and McCormick Boulevard — with 35 mile per hour limits.

But those could vanish as well if aldermen decide to move ahead with the broader speed limit reduction next month.

A city staff report says major streets in corridors with high pedestrian activity and retail shops for the most part already have 25 mile per hour limits.

The report says that officials in Peoria considered a uniform speed reduction to 25 mile per hour, but were told by Federal Highway Administration officials that a uniform speed reduction wouldn’t be enforceable.

And it said Columbia, Mo., found that just installing lower speed limit signs cut average speeds on different streets by between one and six miles per hour.

The staff report says reducing traffic speeds dramatically reduces the severity of pedestrian accidents.

Setting a 25 mph limit on all Evanston streets …

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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19 Comments

  1. Slow down

    I agree.  Another woman was hit this morning at Greenbay and Central. When cars turn off of Greenbay Road to Central and go under the viaduct, they speed up. If it is morning, the sun hits you and can blind you temporarily.

  2. Chicago Avenue is the worst

    I've stopped taking Chicago Avenue. It's much faster on the side streets, even with all the speed bumps.

  3. Make no small plans

    We live in a car centric society, and like all things that are in excess, we are paying the price for allowing our car obsession to grow out of hand.

    Look at most vehicles on the road today: 4,000 pounds of metal and oil and gas pushing one person on trips averaging less than five miles. This is insane.

    We rail against the cost of fuel, the political price of oil, and the painful environmental cost we have to suffer. Yet we do next to nothing to change this.

    Removing two little car parking spaces in front of EAC creates an uproar. God forbid we go beyond that.

    Burnham was right – make no small plans. Instead of tinkering here and there, why not have Evanston step up to the plate and become a global leader in next generational transportation. Return intercity transportation with subsidised small bus systems, incentivise NEV vehicles (no city sticker needed, free unlimited meter parking, free city garage parking). Become radical and start closing some side steets to motorized traffic, streets where homeowners can use alleys.

    A small step here and there will never get us accross the proverbial street. We need to radically rethink intracity transportation options. Make using a gas powered car inconvenient or even costly. Look at the radical steps London had to take.

    Change is never easy – but it is even harder when it is forced upon us. I wonder how many people are beginning to feel the inevitability of change?

  4. Solution in search of a problem?

    Is there really a problem?

     I don't recall seeing any statistics lately about the growing menace of traffic accidents. All of these continuing attempts to over-regulate and impede the flow of traffic strike me as overkill (so to speak). 

    No doubt this new wave of reduced speed limits, combined with too many annoying speed bumps and those ridiculous (and apparently confusing to most drivers, because they have to come to a stop to decipher the signage) crosswalks-with-the-embedded-stop-signs-that-you-don't-actually-have-to-stop-for-unless-there's-someone-crossing-the-street (the intent of which is no different than any other crosswalk) will lead to MORE accidents (rear-enders, anyway) than there have been in the past. 

    When I was a kid, I was taught that safety was my responsibility and that I should look both ways before crossing.  That practice has served me well. I would opt for education and reminders instead of installing yet more obstacles.

    1. August 6 Article on Traffic Accident Statistics…

      Glad to see you are interested in statistics on the growing menace of traffic accidents.  The Chicago Tribune just ran this article on August 6th:

      Headline:  Traffic Deaths on Rise in 2012

      Excerpt:  Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider says she has set a goal to eliminate traffic deaths in the state, but that ambitious target is slamming into a harsh reality in 2012.

      Traffic fatalities increased 17 percent statewide from January through July, compared with the same period in 2011, Schneider told your Getting Around reporter Friday, citing 559 deaths during the first seven months of this year, up from 478 fatalities during the same period a year ago.

      "We have seen increases in fatal accidents on interstate highways, on U.S. and state routes, and on city streets," Schneider said. "It seems to be spread over the entire system, and federal officials tell us the numbers are trending up across the nation."

      You can read the full text here:  http://www.chicagotribune.com/classified/automotive/ct-met-getting-around-0806-20120806,0,5420957.column

      To the at large Evanston Now Community:

      Evanston cannot be somehow immune to irresponsible driving when the statistics show fatalities on the rise across the entire system of streets/roads/interstates.  Instead of waiting for the proverbial accident(s) to happen, we should be working to nip irresponsible driving in the bud right now.  We can be a leader here if we can see beyond the nose on our selfishly in a hurry because I'm more important than you face.  While Evanston is a suburb, it is highly populated and we have a large number of pedestrians that we as drivers can keep safe if we can just slow down a few MPHs.  If you live on a side street, you are probably going faster than the posted 30 MPH limit on our artery streets and you are causing the residents on these streets to cry out for some type of protection.  People are not policing themselves so we have to take drastic measures like lowering speed limits to 25 MPH so that when drivers break the law and speed, they are really only doing the speed that was deemed safe for our streets – 30 MPH.  

      Side street residents benefit from speed bumps and traffic circles.  What protections do artery street residents have from people doing 35 and 40 MPHs on our streets?  Please… just slow down.  We have children too.  Residents on Oakton, Asbury, Dodge, Main, Dempster and Ridge have been asking you to do just that for years now.  That no one hears and helps is why we have to take drastic steps.

       

    2. Lowering the speed limit and proposed additional “stop signage”

      Diane, I couldn't agree with you more.  If a pedestrian is truly concerned about being hit by a car take a few extra blocks and walk to a stoplight.  Mindlessness is something that only individuals can manage–not municipalities.  To inconvenience the majority (and cause unnecessary pollution) in order to "safeguard" the irresponsible is ridiculous.

  5. Lower the speed limit on the Dempster Speedway!

    No, the worst is Dempster Street, by far. Unfortunately for those of us who live on this "state road" there is no solution offered to the constant roar of traffic as it picks up speed  downhill from  Ridge  to Dodge.

     A petition and requests to make this residential neigborhood a 25 MPH zone was ignored by the city a few years back. It has gotten so bad that you cannot sit on a front porch and enjoy a quiet summer evening or open windows in your home if you want to have a conversation or sleep.

    Truck traffic, speeding cars,motorcycles and the ever present landscape vehicles bounce and zoom well over 40 miles an hour at all times of the day and night.  There have been near misses of kids playing and pedestrians walking on sidewalks at corners like Dempster and Wesley that are treacherous to cross.

    The posted speed is ignored and surpassed. The speed should be lowered to 25 MPH so folks get the idea this is a residential neighborhood with kids, families crossing to go to Penny Park, Dewey School, etc.  

    Dempster is rarely patrolled for speed by the police and the traffic just continues to be a menace for those of us who chose this lovely tree lined street, not a major speedway. to call home.

    SLOW DOWN DEMPSTER TRAFFIC TO 25 MPH!

  6. It’s not just Chicago Avenue that is bad

    It's bad all over Evanston.  There is nothing but gridlock in Evanston.  The traffic just doesn't flow.  It takes 20 minutes to get to the expressway which is only four miles from my house.  It takes less time to go 21 miles on the expressway to work.  It doesn't take much to know that something is terribly wrong with the traffic in Evanston.

  7. Drivers, bikers and pedestrians

    If Evanston really wants to cut down on pedestrian and biker accidents, then Council, you MUST add enforcement of traffic and pedestrian laws to those riding bicycles and walking.

    The cyclists must be made to understand they are moving vehicles too (stop at red lights and stop signs) no more head down ridding across traffice that has a green light. Responsible riders are great, irresponsible ones need their bikes feed to the compactor — no bike, no injury, no foul.

    And, dare we ignore the irresponsible walking public. I am talking about the ones that cross at will against the light and dare you to hit them (I think they are hoping for a big settlement if they survive). Or, the j-walker who runs out in front of traffic from between two parked cars and again just dares the driver to hit them.

    If Evanston has laws against this type of activity, then Council has to give our Police force the green light to enforce them. If not, how about adding them to the 25 mph ordinance.

  8. Traffic will get worse

    When the grid lock occurs every morning and late afternoon, you can expect it to get much worse when this goes into effect. If 10 cars make it through a light before, you can expect it to be reduced to 7 or 8. If it took 4 lights to make it though an intersection before expect it to be at least 5, probably more.

    Cars will be cutting down the side streets and creating a more dangerous stituation. I would guess that the city will need to put no turns signs up between 7 to 9 am and 4 to 6 pm. This will make it difficult for homeowners to get home.

    I wonder if the council ever thinks about what they are doing, other than bow to the local whiners. The whiners will regret this action in the future. There are other ways to make the streets safe. Start by teaching the kids how to cross a street and making a cross violation more costly to a violator.

  9. Accidents happen

    Accidents happen more often because pedestrians are more distracted than ever!. Blame the cellphones!!! Pedestrians need to show some respect for their lifes by paying attention before crossing a street. Leave your cellphones alone before crossing the street and pay attention to your surroundings. They should also limit the speed that cyclist ride their bikes in the main avenues. They create a hazard enviroment and they don't care about others! They don't respect stop signs and they will curse at you not caring if there are kids in the car with you.

  10. Let’s get Real!

    You are talking about lowering the speed limit by five miles per hour, on main streets??  It's not like pedestrians don't know that on the main roads cars travel a bit faster than a side street.  The reason you had to put speed humps on side streets, is because the traffic was too much on the  main streets so they started cutting through to get where their going.  Let's look at this logically…how to relieve the rush hour traffic problems in our community.  Accidents are not up.  What is driving this nonsense?

    1. Accidents are on the Increase

       

      As I said to another poster yesterday and am now reposting for your edification today, I'm glad to see you are interested in statistics on the growing menace of traffic accidents.  The Chicago Tribune just ran this article on August 6th:

      Headline:  Traffic Deaths on Rise in 2012

      Excerpt:  Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider says she has set a goal to eliminate traffic deaths in the state, but that ambitious target is slamming into a harsh reality in 2012.

      Traffic fatalities increased 17 percent statewide from January through July, compared with the same period in 2011, Schneider told your Getting Around reporter Friday, citing 559 deaths during the first seven months of this year, up from 478 fatalities during the same period a year ago.

      "We have seen increases in fatal accidents on interstate highways, on U.S. and state routes, and on city streets," Schneider said. "It seems to be spread over the entire system, and federal officials tell us the numbers are trending up across the nation."

      You can read the full text here:  http://www.chicagotribune.com/classified/automotive/ct-met-getting-around-0806-20120806,0,5420957.column

      To the at large Evanston Now Community:

      This argument isn't only about pedestrians…. it is also about drivers who don't obey the law and subject other drivers to danger whenever we are all on the road.  Not a day goes by that I don't hear the screech of brakes outside of my home because someone is traveling too quickly and not paying attention to the red light and traffic queuing up.  YOU, your spouse, child, mother, or anyone could be the next person they rear-end and give a case of whiplash that needs to be dealt with for life.  

      Evanston cannot be somehow immune to irresponsible driving when the statistics show fatalities on the rise across the entire system of city streets/roads/interstates.  No one wants to get a call that someone they knew was killed in an auto accident.  Instead of waiting for the proverbial accident(s) to happen, we should be working to nip irresponsible driving in the bud right now.  We can be a leader here if we can see beyond the nose on our selfishly in a hurry because I'm more important than you face.  While Evanston is a suburb, it is highly populated and we have a large number of other drivers AND pedestrians that we as drivers can keep safe if we can just slow down a few MPHs.  If you live on a side street, you are probably going faster than the posted 30 MPH limit on our artery streets and you are causing the residents on these streets to cry out for some type of protection.  People are not policing themselves so we have to take drastic measures like lowering speed limits to 25 MPH so that when drivers break the law and speed, they are really only doing the speed that was deemed safe for our streets – 30 MPH. 

      Side street residents benefit from speed bumps and traffic circles.  What protections do artery street residents have from people doing 35 and 40 MPHs on our streets?  Please… just slow down.  We have children too.  Residents on Oakton, Asbury, Dodge, Main, Dempster and Ridge have been asking you to do just that for years now.  That no one hears and helps is why we have to take drastic steps.

      Reply

      1. Cell phones are the real problem

        I don't disagree with you that accidents are up across the board.  I just don't think that lowering the limit is the cause for these accidents. Also, speeding may be more of an issue on the highways, but in Evanston I don't think that is our biggest problem. 

        I travel 25 miles to and from work daily, and what I see as the bigger issue is people are CONSTANTLY distracted on their cell phones.  I cannot tell you how many people on a daily basis I see driving in my lane or just sitting at a light when everyone in front of them has already gone.

        When I catch a glimpse as to what was causing their erractic driving…oh, of course, they're looking at the phone, texting or talking on it.  What Evanston really needs is strict enforcement of texting and talking on the phone.  I only wish I had a badge when I see this, because not only are they endangering everyone, but they hold up the flow of traffic. 

        Just an FYI. I live on Asbury and know just how often the police sit out there to ticket speeders.  Let's just say if I want to speed…no problem. 

  11. Speed not the only factor

    Lowering the speed limit in a few places will lower the rate of speed of motorists…who pay attention to speed limits and drive safely in the first place.  They are not typically the ones causing accidents.  

    Instead of lowering speed limits, how about engaging in a radical experiment where police actually enforce existing motor laws? 

    Tickets for:

    speeders,
    school-zone speeders,
    people talking on cell phones,
    people texting on cell phones,
    people driving with ear buds in,
    people driving young children without child seats,
    people driving in bike lanes,
    people ignoring stop signs because they have very, very important business to attend to

    There's a lot of revenue out there….
      

     

    1. Speeding Tickets Cost the City

      According to Alderman Rainey, speeding tickets cost the taxpayers money because people fight them in court and they are ALWAYS thrown out.  So our tax dollars are being spent to have our officers sit in court for $0 in revenue instead of patroling the streets.  We would actually have better luck with speed cameras because they cannot be thrown out.

      Why are the tickets thrown out you ask?  As unbelieveable as this may sound, well, it is because even though the speed limit is only 30 MPH, going 38 isn't fast enough for the court when someone shows up hat in hand and excuse on tongue.  So, if we lowered the speed limit to 25 and people were going 38, the ticket would have a much better chance of sticking…   

      Why does anyone think it is appropriate to go 38 MPHs in a 30 MPH zone?  

      Also, did you know Evanston School Zone tickets can cost you up to $500 based on the change to the law that was implemented almost 2 years ago.  I live on a street that is one long school zone and I drive it regularly.  I don't want that ticket (even though I could probably fight it in court and have it thrown out), but other drivers do some really insane actions when I try to obey our traffic laws… passing in the parking lanes and sometimes running me into the other lane as they pull back in, passing over the double-yellow line and almost having head-on collisions with cars in the opposite lane, tailgating, honking and any other rude thing they can think of.  This stuff isn't occasional – it is all the time!  If you don't live on an artery street, you have no idea just how out of control A LOT of people have really gotten.  If you are driving the speed limit, you are helping the rest of us out because some of these jerks have to fall into line and follow when they have no other option.  Sure, you can sit around and just assume we who live on these streets are just complaining… that is easier than getting out and talking to us or pulling over and experiencing the situation as it truly exists.  Or maybe you just want to try obeying the actual speed limit and find out how the anonymity of our automobiles, much like the anonymity of the internet, can gives some people license to be over the top rude/crazy.

  12. Traffic safety challenge

    Before some of you start making statements that the Evanston police do not enforce traffic laws, you should really check your facts.

    Very simply, the Evanston Police Department won the State of Illinois Traffic Safety Challenge in 2011 and placed no lower than third previous to 2011.  You do not win this challenge if the entire police department does not actively enforce traffic laws.

    Additionally, Golf and part of Central are state roads, and lowering those speed limits will require more than the waving of an alderman's wand.

  13. Traffic and the Courts

    I don't know what the police priorities for traffic [in general] are but the problem really seems to be with the courts.

    I rarely see the police parked where they can see violators or paired so one [in an unmarked car] can see the violation and another go after them.  I saw the police for two days ticket bikers on Clark—then disappear and the bikers continue to speed down the sidewalks.  It would be easy to catch the pack of amature bikers racing down Sherman and Orrington through stop signs and not even pausing for responsible bikers/pedestrians to cross.

    The law is music, mufflers can't be heard for more than 75 feet.  I asked a policeman if this applied to motorcycles esp. those that try to roar as much as they can.  He said yes but the judges always throw out the noise violations and many others they could ticket for—-and use to until they saw it was not worth their time to sit in court and still have it thrown out.

    Violators [caught and just seeing others are not stopped] learn that they are 'safe' and continue to thumb their nose at the law.  As NYC found you start to take care of the small stuff [broken windows] and it effects the big stuff.  Here we ignore the 'little stuff' until someone gets hit !  Even then the courts will probably give them a minimum fine.

  14. Every interesection a 4way with speed humps

    Between the stories here about slowing down traffic passing through Evanston and commentary in the Traffic Guy's column in the RoundTable … I've realized what the solution is to the current crisis and community concerns about out-of-control speeding, lax enforcement, and rampantly deadly lack of pedestrian safety (I can't wipe these visions of cars careening down sidewalks at high rates of speed without any police in pursuit scattering pedestrians, bikers, and skateboarders while spraying cell phone parts everywhere from my mind … ) 

    Proposed:

    Equip every Evanston intersection with 4 way stop signs (even those that are comprised of one-way traffic that might more commonly be 3 way or 2 way stops – because how else to stop the skateboarders and bikers that insist upon travelling against traffic throughout town.)

    To help guard against the vehicle that might miss the stop sign – place our nifty speed humps on all 4 sides of every intersection.  These will serve multiple purposes.  One – they will slow folks down.  Two – they will enhance safety in the event a car blows through the stop sign because it will be catapulted up and over the intersection avoiding any collision with the cross traffic. Three, they'll boost the local economy as folks get to make more car repairs for busted shocks and axles should they flaunt our serious intent to slow down traffic.  A savvy city council might enact a new tax on car repairs to further augment the city coffers.

    Traffic will be slowed so much enforcement of the 25 mph speed limit will be unnecessary.  We might even be able to reduce the size of the police force since officers will have so much less to do.  Surely pedestrians, bikes, and skateboarders will find this the nirvana of safe environments they've craved.  Wear and tear on our streets will be reduced as folks passing through Evanston from Wilmette will instead find alternative routes (perhaps resurrecting the idea to build a highway on stilts out in Lake Michigan to bypass Evanston altogether)

    Perhaps we can get this passed at the next City Council meeting using the expedited process deployed against the junk men?

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