Bicycle riders have a new resource to help them get around Evanston. The City of Evanston recently completed an update of the Evanston Bicycle Route and Parking Map that identifies the city’s riding routes, as well as provides a guide to finding secure bicycle parking throughout Evanston.

The map is designed to help promote healthier transportation and publicize the city’s bicycle racks, which can hold more than 900 bicycles.

A downloadable version of the bike map is available on the city’s website.. Printed copies are available at the Recreation Office in the Lorraine H. Morton Civic Center, 2100 Ridge Ave.

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 prohibition on Ridge is absurd.

    When is the city going to drop the prohibirion of bikes on Ridge and do the engineering needed to calm the car and make it a multi-modal corridor?

    1. Ridge and bikes

      Bikes on Ridge?  

      Simple, cut 5 to 10 feet off each side of the street to widen the road. Homeowners should not object to donating frontage for such a "good" cause.

      Maybe the City could also instruct bicyclists on obeying Rules of the Road — but that would be a bigger challenge. Maybe they could pay for the widening by collecting fines for all the traffic violations that the bikers commit.

      1. Marx Brothers

        "Maybe the City could also instruct bicyclists on obeying Rules of the Road — but that would be a bigger challenge. Maybe they could pay for the widening by collecting fines for all the traffic violations that the bikers commit."

        And stay off my lawn!

      2. Bikes on Downtown sidewalks

        I hope they put out a version with big enough warnings about bikes on downtown sidewalks with big enough font and simple enough language ETHS and NU students can understand.  A few police by B-K and EPL and Sherman from Clark to Church stopping them from time to time would help !

        As it is when they are told, they continue on if not swear.  Of course they have been taught they are the princes and princesses of the world and laws don't apply to them [I guess bars are another example]. 

        1. Bikes on sidewalks is another case of bad design

          Actually the cops have been issuing tickets to bikers on the sidewalks.

          There are two problems which contribute to this behavior:

          One problem is that the one-way streets were engineered that way ONLY to deal with automotive traffic.  They make no sense from a cycling standpoint.  If you want to have true multi-modal access  you either put in protected cycle tracks so bikes can use the streets as two-way thoroughfares OR you change the streets back to two-way.

          The second problem is that the bike parking is on the sidewalk.  Alderman Fiske who has been the biggest complainer about cyclng on the downtown sidewalks actually led the effort to kill a proposal last year for a demonstration project to put bike parking on the street.  

          Both cycle tracks and on-street bike parking are regluar features of cities throughout the country.  Unfortunately the city council and staff are so provincial that they can't figure out ways of incorporating succesful models here and we continue to have a less-than-functional transportation system.

          Even if you don't ride a bike, investing in cycling infrastructure can benefit the community big time.

          When the infrastructure exists people use it.  Instead of taking their car, they take their bike.  This reduces congestion, improves air quality, and is a more efficient use of public space.  And bike infrastructure is cheap.

          Last year the city paid $2.5 million just for maintenance on the downtown garages.  The city's own studies indicate that those garages only average around 60% capacity.  You could outfit downtown with cycle-tracks and on-street bike parking for a third of that.

          More about cycle tracks can be found here:

          On-street bike parking can be found here:


        2. Bikes Downtown–Police and NU action

          The police have been spotted giving tickets to bikers riding on downtown sidewalks—good job !  Still bikers race down the sidewalks.

          Obviously the police have other things to do, but [at least] periodic ticketing and maybe some temporary large signs on the sidewalks would help.  As it is some of the signs [e.g. outside Burger King] are 10(?) feet off the ground.

          Today May 3 an article in the Daily Northwestern is about the prohibition of riding bikes on sidewalks downtown.  Aldermen and the police have previously stated they warn students at the beginning of each year but observation is they don't listen/read or care.  Who knows if they even read the Daily Norhtwestern.

          BTW I'm a biker who got rid of my car 20 years ago, so I support bike—but they must use common sense.

        3. Bikes on downtown sidewalks

          I confess I told my kids to ride on the sidewalks downtown because the streets there, even with the bike lanes (especiallly with the bike lanes?), just are not safe for them.  They started this when they were about 12 years old and wanted to go to the library or the movie theater or the book store on their own, or to get to the beach (which required traversing the downtown area).  They were taught to use the sidewalks only when no pedestrians, in which case they were to walk their bikes; and if riding, to do so slowly and cautiously.  I do believe they followed these guidelines.  The bike lanes are not safe for kids.  Too many car doors, drivers not looking for kids on bikes, and too much traffic.  I realize the sidewalks are not a good option. Maybe bike lanes on the sidewalk? They seem plenty wide enough in a lot of places.  Or protected bike lanes on the streets.    

  2. Ridge Too Narrow for Bikes

    Speaking as a longterm bicyclist who has peddled all over Evanston, there are many ways to easily navigate our community without having to use the traffic heavy and very narrow Ridge Ave. 

    1. Ridge isn’t too narrow–the problem is the road design

      I'm not sure how you can say that the road is too narrow-.  It is just as wide as many of the bike routes on the city map (e.g. Dodge).

      The problem is that it is designed only for cars.

      All you would need to do is redesign the lanes.  Change it from four car lanes to three lanes (two directional and a middle left-turn lane) and put protected bike lanes on each side.

      You don't need to widen the road or any of that other nonsense that folks have posted about.

      1. Or you could just take

        Or you could just take Chicago, Asbury, or Dodge. What's the problem with having one cars-only thoroughfare?

        1. The problem with a car-only infrastructure is cost and fairness

          Maintaining an infrastructure for cars is EXTREMELY expensive. 

          If the city wants to help reduce road maintenance costs and help deal with other social problems like air pollution, obesity, economic development they need to have a transportation system that is truly multi-modal and offers incentives for low-impact mobility.

          By having a major street that actively prohibits cheap and socially-beneficial transportation, you are wasting money.

          Making Ridge accessible to bikes and cars–as mentioned above–is quite simple and cost-effective.

          Also let's remember the private costs incurred to take advantage of using the government-subsidized automobile infrastructure.  AAA does a study every year to estimate the average costs for owning and operating an automobile.  For 2011 the cost was around $7600–or about 76 cents a mile.  That does not include car loans or leasing so it is probably an under-estimate.

          According to census data 15% of Evanston's households don't have access to cars.  Some of this may be by choice but it is likely that economic conditions are also a factor.  Owning a car is expensive.

          You can buy a decent used bike for about $100; pay around $60 bucks to get fixed up.

          By investing in an infrastructure that more people can use, the entire community benefits.

          1. I agree with you that the

            I agree with you that the city should encourage biking as a real means of transportation and invest in bike routes that can actually be used for that purpose. I just don't see the need to convert a very high-traffic road into one of those bike routes, with the inevitable increase in traffic delays and the construction costs that would entail, when one could go 3 blocks east or 1 block west and ride on a much more appropriate road (with an existing bike lane in the case of Asbury).

  3. Map size!

    I would have thought they could have at least made it a .pdf where people have some experience with changing size.

    As is it is unreadable unless you know about how to get to 'Zoom' on the brower, which I suspect fewer people do.

    1. Map size & file format

      The link in the article leads to the unwieldy .png format file.  There are 2 .pdf versions available on the Evanston map website here:


      The full color 24" x 24" .pdf here (with bike rack locations):


      A smaller black/blue & white .pdf file that prints on a 8.5" x 11" standard sheet of printer paper:

  4. I disagree with the need to

    I disagree with the need to modify Ridge. I would hate to see a widening of the road. The wide setback that separates the sidewalk from the road is what makes Ridge walkable. Decreasing that natural buffer would ruin how pedestrian friendly Ridge feels even though it is a 4 lane road. Neither Asbury in the south nor Chicago are as scenic or walkable.

    As a biker, I just take the neighborhood streets to the East of ridge. Yes, there are lots of stop signs, but the traffic is practically nil.

    1. Agreed

      Agreed – there is no reason to change Ridge for bicyclists.   I often choose the streets to the east of Ridge for short trips.  For longer trips, I turn to Asbury.

      Asbury is a very bike-friendly alternative to Ridge.  The lanes are wide enough that you don't feel pressure from cars, it is not terribly busy, and there are fewer stop signs that the neighbourhood on the east side of Ridge.  The extra block to get there is a matter of seconds on a bike.



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