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City to spend extra for fancy traffic lights

fancy-signal-base-090914.jpg

fancy-signal-base-090914.jpgEvanston aldermen voted Monday to stick with plans to install ornamental traffic signal standards — despite a $60,000 extra cost.

City Council approved spending $486,000 to install the replacement signals on Central Street at its intersections with Ridge Avenue and Girard Avenue.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz said that because of controversy about installing modern-looking signals through historic districts on Ridge Avenue the council had directed the staff several years ago to use the ornamental style signals on this project.

Because Central Street is under the control of the state transportation department, which requires the use of mast-arm signals that hang over the roadway, using only the post-style signals favored by local historic preservationists isn’t an option there, he added.


fancy-signal-base-090914.jpgEvanston aldermen voted Monday to stick with plans to install ornamental traffic signal standards — despite a $60,000 extra cost.

City Council approved spending $486,000 to install the replacement signals on Central Street at its intersections with Ridge Avenue and Girard Avenue.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz said that because of controversy about installing modern-looking signals through historic districts on Ridge Avenue the council had directed the staff several years ago to use the ornamental style signals on this project.

Because Central Street is under the control of the state transportation department, which requires the use of mast-arm signals that hang over the roadway, using only the post-style signals favored by local historic preservationists isn’t an option there, he added.

Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, said despite her support for historic preservation, she didn’t favor the ornamental signal bases — saying they don’t match the design of the city’s nearly century-old Tallmadge street lights.

City traffic engineer Rajeev Dahal said the ornamental design matches one used recently on new signals at the intersection of Ridge Avenue and Isabella Street with Sheridan Road and further north on Sheridan Road in Wilmette.

The Central Street signal project has been in the works several years and city officials say its needed to provide emergency vehicles at Fire Station #3 just west of Girard the ability to control the signals.

Northshore University HealthSystem is picking up $200,000 of the project’s cost.

Above: An image from a city memo of the proposed ornamental mast-arm traffic signal base.

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