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Some bollards — those plastic posts designed to guide traffic as part of the Dodge Avenue bike lane project — are about to disappear.

Evanston aldermen agreed Monday night to have the ones that mark the start of no parking zones at the edge of the traffic lane pulled out to make it easier for drivers to pull over for emergency vehicles.

Faced with conflicting pressures from bike riders who say the new protected bike lanes make the roadway much safer and from neighbors complaining about traffic tie ups and other issues, that was the only change aldermen agreed to make immediately.

Lara Biggs, bureau chief of capital planning in the Public Works Agency, said other modifications neighbors asked for — like bigger bus stops and better sight lines from cross streets — would require removing more parking spaces.

Aldermen asked for more study of those options before making changes like that — since the bike lane project has already reduced on-street parking on Dodge — another source of complaints from neighbors.

Biggs said the CTA would like the city to reduce the number of bus stops on Dodge as a way of speeding up bus service, but Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, said that would inconvenience older residents with mobility issues who rely on the the buses.

City staff estimates that undoing the bike lane project completely — as some neighbors suggested — would end up costing nearly $1 million — a prospect that held little appeal for the aldermen.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz said that the staff would do further research on the other options and return to the City Council with an update on Oct. 24.


Update 2 p.m.: Bobkiewicz says Public Works crews removed 101 bollards from Dodge Avenue this morning.


Related story

Undoing Dodge bike lanes would cost nearly $1 million (9/10/16)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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19 Comments

  1. Remove parking spaces

    This is a question of convenience vs safety — so it's no question at all. Remove parking spaces to improve sight lines and bus access. Those spaces along Dodge aren't metered anyway, so it's no loss of revenue.

    1. Parking

      Where do the people who have homes on Dodge park. Many sections of Dodge have wall to wall parking certain times of the day.

      The bike lane should have been run parallel to dodge on side streets for as much of distance to Church. Having protected bike lanes on main street where it makes sense. This did not make sense and it will make it more dangerous on Dodge for both Bikes and Cars. Somebody's head should roll.

      This should be knicknamed the "desaster on Dodge".

       

      1. Socialized parking

        Why would the city prioritize individual drivers of single cars over the thousands of users of Dodge? Why should Evanston socialize parking of all things? Certainly, people may wish to store their vehicles in front of their homes, but they don't have a right to do so, and taxpayers shouldn't be required to foot the bill for their convenience.

        1. That sounds mean

          How about making the protected bike lanes even safer. Let;s put a bike stop sign at every sign at every side street corner that is intersects the bike lane. It will be annoying to the bikers but it will make them safer, Afterall it is primarily for safetynot conenvience.

          1. Unnecessary

            It would be a wasteful expenditure. Motorists are already required to stop clear of the bike lane and yield right-of-way. There would be no additional safety, just added cost.

          2. We’ll have to lower the speed limit

            Entering Dodge cars must stop short of of the bike lanes at the stop sign but to make a safe turn or cross Dodge. they must creep forward to get a better line of site to safely proceed. To do this, car will block the bike lanes until it is safe to enter Dodge. This will normally take about 15seconds to a minute and a half which allow an increased chance of bikes colliding with the side of a car. 

            Skokie saw this problem before they built their 3 mile bike lane on Main St.. Why couldn't Evanston see the problem they created. Skokie did this on a wider street and lowered the speed limit from 30 to 25 MPH (It was 35 MPH about 35 years ago).

            To make Dodge as safe as Main in Skokie, Evanston will need to drop the speed limit to at least 20 MPH for the entire length of Dodge 24/7 and with buses often driving on the center line.

            I guess that the Evanston administration thought that protected bike lanes would work anywhere since they work most of the time downtown but they forgot that every corner downtown has either a traffic signal or a stop sign.

            Oops……

  2. Accommodating Automobiles

    Keep of the good work… of accommodating drivers! Is it really too much to ask for a protected bike lane… on a street that is predominately a residential neighborhood and the primary route for two of the most popular parks in Evanston as well as The high school, a junior high school and two elementary schools? Shame on you City Council! And while we're on the subject, Why is the posted speed limit on Dodge 30 MPH? Absolutely ridiculous!

    1. Bicyclists pay no gas tax, no

      Bicyclists pay no gas tax, no wheel tax and no registration/license fees. In fact you don't even have to have an operator's license. It is high time we start charging cyclists and licensing them as well as holding them to the rules of the road. 

      1. Please acquaint yourself with how municipal financing works
        The VAST MAJORITY of city money that goes to road maintenance and construction comes from the general fund or bonds that are paid off by every taxpayer.

        In this year’s budget there is expected $1.7 million in revenue coming from the Motor Vehicle Tax Fund, $700,000 from the city’s gas tax, and $2.8 million from the wheel tax.

        That comes to $5.2 million.

        The Emerson/Green Bay/Ridge modernization project — which contains no bike lanes, by the way–is a $5.3 million project.

        That’s just one project.

        If you add up the litany of street and parking lot resurfacing costs, alley paving, personnel who work in the police traffic division, traffic signal modernization, etc….the amount spent each year to maintain the auto infrastructure significantly exceeds the amount of money brought in by drivers.

        Anyone who pays property tax, sales tax, etc…is subsidizing the car infrastructure.

        1. Logic missing

          So, by your logic, the people that drive cars are paying more than their share. They pay property tax, etc… like everybody else plus gas tax, wheel tax, income tax (federal and state), sales tax, and state license plate, and bikers pay nothing toward road building and maintenance or bike lanes.

          I don't know how The city or county could enforce the taxing of bikes and other non-motorized vehicles unless it was at the state level.

          Evanston doesn't enforce bike laws on a regular basis. I have never seen anybody ticketed for riding Ridge Ave,, riding the wrong way in a bike lane or a one way street, running a stop sign or red light, failing to yeild rightof way, or speeding (it happens).

          I don't see making people pay to bike but I can see bikers pay for violating traffic laws, if they are enforced.

          1. No, they are not paying more than their fair share

            First, if car and truck drivers were paying their fair share, funding for road maintenance would come 100% out of taxes on gasoline and registration of cars. Their weight damages roads (something you cannot clai of a bike) and they cause polution, to boot. Second, most cyclists are also drivers, so they pay those taxes, too. Whether you chose to consume gasoline or burn your breakfast instead, is a personal choice. Each cyclist commuting is one car less on the road. 

          2. Full Cost of Cars

            Studies show just to cover the pollution costs of cars, the gas tax would have to be over $4 per gallon.

            Take into account road repairs not covered by taxes, lost time in traffic, medical costs for accidents and more—drivers pay only a fraction of the real costs.

    2. 30 mph on Dodge

      You're correct: 30 mph on Dodge is criminally irresponsible. It would never be safe for any driver to travel at this speed on that stretch, but clearly some drivers feel justified in racing down the street simply because the city has permitted it. It's obviously the city places little value on safety, because they should know better than anyone that: 

      At 40 mph a struck pedestrian is 90% likely to be killed.

      At 30 mph they are 50% likely to be killed.

      At 20 mph they are 10% likely to be killed.

      Reducing the limit from 30 to 20 along this stretch would add a mere 2 minutes to the Howard-to-Emerson traversal, and massively improve safety.

      1. Lower Speed Limits
        ALL of our artery streets are handled irresponsibly. The majority of them are residential, and yet there are no engineering devices implemented to slow down the large number of speeders. Oakton residents fought for almost FIVE years to get our speed limit lowered to 20 MPH. We have James Park, Dawes Elementary, Chute playfield, Chute Middle School, Oakton Elementary playfield and Oakton Elementary School running almost back to back down our street and Coleen Burrus literally had to embarrass our alderman into lowering the limit…. and that only after they were getting ready to approve a decrease in the speed on Chicago Avenue to protect the businesses.

        Anne Rainey mentioned the long lines of traffic on Dodge and on Oakton during Monday night’s meeting… “I’ve been in traffic backups that are three and four blocks long!” she said. These backups are the new normal on Dodge and Oakton. If they don’t deal with them here, the traffic creep is going to move up and over to Main, Dempster and Asbury. We need to make our streets less of a good deal for the residents that live along them so we don’t have so much cut-through traffic. This is going to require our traffic engineers to implement a holistic approach on all of our streets. I’m sure our side-street residents are not enjoying sitting in traffic that is headed into Chicago as they attempt to get to their Evanston home. Lower speed limits to bring back safety as well as quality of life to the residents with homes along these streets would be a great start! Additional crosswalks so our elderly can ride CTA and SAFELY cross the street would be another great start.

        1. I agree with all of this

          I agree with all of this except maybe the crosswalk part. I fear that more and more marked crosswalks tend to make motorists ignore unmarked crosswalks. We don't want a situation where pedstrians feel they must travel down-avenue to signaled intersections or marked crosswalks just to cross safely. It's a difficult point — I admit I usually feel safer in a marked crosswalk, but I shouldn't have to think about it. Lower speed limits and harsh penalties would certainly go a long way toward making every intersection pedestian-safe. Ultimately, the goal should be to push North-South cut-through traffic west to the multilane racetrack that is McCormick.

           

          1. arterial streets

            Pushing north-south congestion to McCormick, where it is managed better, is an excellent goal. But how do all of the people who live to the east then get to their homes? Between the moat that is the North Channel and the Berlin Wall-like structure of the CTA/Metra tracks, there are only a handful of routes with a bridge and a viaduct to get people to filter through: Oakton/South, Main, Dempster, Church, Emerson.

            Those streets are east-west arteries like it or not, and they behave as such. It's beyond foolish that those streets have schols and parks on them instead of commercial and higher density housing, but that's how Evanston was made. People want to get to their homes in Evanston after a long drive from the Edens or 294. They aren't all cutting through from Chicago to Willmette.

            Longer left-turn lanes, better traffic light timing coordination, dedicated right-turn lanes, bigger intersections. These will improve traffic flow rate to keep cars moving at a safer, slower speed. Dodge & Oakton is just ridiculously small for that density of cars; that is the source of the congestion and fustration for drivers.

          2. East / West Streets and Traffic
            The issue that residents who live on these streets are aware of is the volume of traffic. If people took the closest direct route to their homes, our traffic levels would not be so high and residents would not sit in a log jamb of traffic. Unfortunately, what we are seeing in vehicle counts would amount to the entire population of Evanston driving up and down our east/west street every single day. Is that possible or is the actuality that our streets are not engineered in any way except to be such a good deal that we entice Chicago cut-through traffic? Take Dodge as an example…. traffic tie ups north of Howard during rush hour, but drive down into Chicago where STOP signs are placed every few blocks and only a handful of cars are using the street. Ridge is one lane in Chicago south of Howard and clearly marked 25 MPH. They do have backups on that street, but Chicago residents don’t have their quality of life impacted by the sound of four lanes of speeding traffic seeping into their homes. If motorists were traveling at a safe rate of speed, the residents of Ridge would be A LOT happier. Western Avenue is primarily business in Chicago and the four lanes of traffic that race down it has been steadily making its way further north into Evanston before it heads to the west. The north-bound turn lane on Asbury at the Oakton intersection used to hold 2-3 cars during a light cycle, but now it can back up to host 10-15 cars during a light cycle. I cannot be convinced that the traffic littering our streets is primarily my fellow Evanstonian heading to his/her home. It most definitely is not. We need to stop being such a good deal for the Chicago residents because it is our tax dollars that are paying for the upkeep of our infrastructure, and the massive amounts of traffic are causing a much faster rate of deterioration… and it is destroying the quality of life that Evanston residents used to enjoy – even the side street residents who are forced to sit in long lines of traffic to get home.

  3. The bigger point

    Dodge is one issue but there are many other streets that have similar issues-speed, lane size, visibility, high trafffic and as pointed out for Dodge a safe route for bikes [and pedestrians esp. at intersections].

    But the larger issue is why so many cars on the streets in Evanston.  Most suburbs would love to have our public transportation system [though we all would have changes to suggest]. 

    Have the two largest employers, NU and Evanston Hospital [EH], survied employees to find out if/why they don't use public transportation more. NU has a deal with the CTA 201 and parking in campus lots is very expensive.  I don't know if has any deals for employee parking or public transportation—I doubt so.

    What about K-12 teachers and school employees. Has a study been done how they get to schools and if they can be encouraged to use public transportation ?  The same question applies to city employees—esp. at City Hall.

    Has transportation alternatives for those in business areas been studied–why more don't use the CTA ?

    We all know people who live close to trains and buses and come/go at hours the CTA would work for them—even 2-3 blocks. {I am puzzled some of the changes to CTA routes that were made not to mention routes that were cut.

    For employees that live well outside Evanston [10+ miles], what about remote parking sites where they could park and bus ?  I'd think of around Old Orchard, downtown Skokie, Skokie Swift station, Linden station [I'm told and sometimes seen that volume in the lots has decreased dramatically over the years.]  Of course some drivers will say having a car [or having to drive it part way] means using it is cheaper than the CTA.  

    Of course walking and bikes should figure into options.

     

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