A multi-year project for reconstructing Sheridan Road as it winds through Evanston is nearing its final phase, with work expected to begin next year on the portion from the Northwestern University curve at Chicago Avenue to the northern edge of the city at Isabella Street.

Even so, the project that began in 2009 is not expected to be completed until next summer, according to city engineer Nat Sagar, who outlined the options at a 7th Ward community meeting at the Ecology Center Thursday night.

The options primarily concern the accommodations for bicyclists, to protect them from cars and buses that use the heavily-trafficked road.

In recent years, he said, the number of cyclists has mushroomed, primarily near the campus of Northwestern.

Running from Chicago Avenue to Lincoln Street, the campus is long and narrow, which makes it particularly attractive to students on bicycles.

Also, the No. 201 CTA bus and Northwestern’s own shuttle buses use the road, plus commuters traversing Chicago and the North Shore.

The traffic lanes would narrow from four lanes at the Chicago Avenue curve to three lanes from the traffic light at the parking lot next to the Garrett Seminary on northward to Central Street, he said.

Still yet to be decided, Sagar said, was how to deal with cyclists.

 A split-cycle track would contain one bike lane going in opposite directions on each side of the traffic.

A split-cycle track “with meandering” would have southbound cyclists switching to the sidewalk on the west side of the street from Foster Street to Chicago Avenue.

A third option would be to have both northbound and southbound bike paths on the east side of the road, buffered from traffic, which Sagar said would be more attractive to cyclists along the campus, but would create more complex intersections and bus stops.

The final design is expected to be presented to the City Council at its second meeting in October, Sagar said.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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  1. Bike routes should follow established traffic flow

    Bicyclists are subject to the same rules of the road as all other vehicles so dedicated bike lanes should follow established traffic flow. In this case a nortbound bike lane would be on the east side of Sheridan and a southbound lane would be on the west side. Bike tracks running in both directions and weaving up on the parkways and back to the road are dangerous and do not reinforce for bicyclists that they are responsible for following all traffic laws. Plus, they are confusing to motorists who don't know where to look for cyclists. 

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