Evanston aldermen tonight will be asked to approve a staff plan to seek $10.6 million in federal funding to redesign two major streets on the city’s west side.

The plan would also require spending $4 million of city funds to complete the project which would rebuild much of Church Street and Dodge Avenue.

An illustration of a redesign concept for the Church and Dodge intersection from the 2007 West Evanston Master Plan.

The project is centered around Evanston Township High School, which has agreed to join the city in the grant application.

It would create new bump-out curbs and enhanced pedestrian crosswalks to allow students and neighborhood resident to cross the streets with more easily and would provide improved bus stops.

Work would extend on Church Street from McDaniel to Ashland avenues and on Dodge Avenue from Main to Lyons streets.

A staff memo describing the project says it would feature sustainable design elements including rain gardens and alternative paving choices, like recycled pavement. It may also incorporate bioswale technology to treat and filter storm water before it’s released into the sewer system.

The project is based on concepts developed in the West Evanston Master Plan, which was approved by the City Council in May 2007 with the goal of encouraging new economic development in the neighborhood.

In the staff memo, Public Works Director Suzette Robinson says the project should become a model for future street development across the region.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Waste

    Instead of wasting the money to use aesthetics to cover up a problem area, use the money to help the police fight crime on that god-awful corner.

  2. 4 million of City money?

    Plus another 10 mil of grant money? When the school is losing quality teachers? When the city cannot keep vital support services manned to standards?

    And for what? Some fancy concrete work,  and plants that will be destroyed within a month of school opening.

    Make it look nice, who gives a rat’s butt about the real needs of the community? Certainly not the crooks posing as aldermen.

    Bread and circuses. Make it pretty and no one will notice the crumbling infrastructure hiding behind the facade.

    More tax dollars down the tubes. I’d say flush the idea down the toilet, but with water rate increases, we can barely afford to flush.

  3. In theory this seems like a

    In theory this seems like a nice plan, but from a practical viewpoint it really doesn’t make sense… First of all, what exactly are bump-out curbs? From what I’ve learned they’re an extension of the existing sidewalk onto and towards the street, thus limiting street space. I have teenagers at ETHS and I know how difficult drop-off and pick-up times are. From the illustration I see close to no space available for cars to be able to stop and wait, not to mention the lack of street parking which is so important to a school of this size and to the neighborhood. During afternoon and evening events at the high school these street parking spaces help greatly, the nearby school lots frequently fill to capacity. The traffic congestion in this area is difficult as it is, cutting the extra space to one lane and a medium seems like a viable option but the traffic would increase and if you think that the students will walk to the crosswalks and not over the planted medium while crossing Dodge, just take a look at the back ot the building where there is a long row of bushes, the kids just walk through and over the bushes. 

    Then of course, there’s the money issue………….

  4. Lipstick on a pig

    Seriously? What a colossal waste of money. This corner and the one just north of it, Dodge and Emerson, are possibly the most problematic in the city. And this has nothing to do with aesthetics.  The groups that continually congregate in these areas are not going to disappear or even begin to curb their aggressive behavior simply because the city plants trees, install benches, and lay decorative bricks. Brilliant idea! Make the sidewalks wider and put in benches, allowing for larger crowds to congregate and create more problems. See Custer and Howard for more information… 

  5. Does anyone get it?

    We have no money.

    The U.S. Government is broke, yet Obama spends.

    Evanston is broke, yet this project for $4M?

    Wake up! 

  6. This is a good idea

    Give the contract to an Evanston business with Evanston employees and it is not a waste, it is a stimulus to the local economy.  

    Yes, fight crime.  The most effective ways are to clean up blight, improve education and provide job opportunities for at risk youth.  We can do that too.  


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