Evanston drivers will have to try to fit through a single traffic lane in the 500 block of Davis Street next month as the city tests a new compromise approach to keeping merchants, bicyclists and drivers happy.

The 500 block of Davis Street, in an image from Google Maps.

Evanston drivers will have to try to fit through a single traffic lane in the 500 block of Davis Street next month as the city tests a new compromise approach to keeping merchants, bicyclists and drivers happy.

The plan, announced at Monday’s City Council meeting, was developed at a meeting last week with merchants and residents.

They were concerned about a previous proposal from city staff that would have eliminated diagonal parking on the south side of the street to make room for a protected bike lane.

Public Works Director Suzette Robinson said evidence from other cities that have added protected bike lanes suggests that they increase bike ridership and sales for nearby merchants.

She said she has concerns about the new alternative approach — especially whether there will be enough room for drivers to pull out of the diagonal parking slots and how drivers in the remaining travel lane will react.

But she said the merchants and residents urged going ahead with the test and that because the stop signs at the Davis and Hinman intersection force traffic to slow down, the new approach may work.

She said city staff will put up temporary pavement markings for the bike path at the curb on the north side of the street, moving the car parking lane away from the curb on that side.

The test, she said, will start May 13 and run for a week or two.

She said an examination of parking restrictions on adjoining streets has turned up eight potential additional spaces, which will reduce the impact if the one-lane approach doesn’t work and the city has to opt for switching to parallel parking on the south side of the block, which would eliminate 10 existing spaces.

She said there is a tremendous amount of double-parking on the block now by customers picking up carry-out food orders from the block’s five restaurants and that she’s looking into switching some meter spaces to short-term, 20-minute parking limits to handle that.

Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, said she appreciated having the additional time to hold the community meeting on the issue, and that she’s happy to see the test conducted. But she said she thinks the city will probably end up with parallel parking on the block with two traffic lanes.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Killing one traffic lane

    Killing one traffic lane seems like a drastic approach for a permanent fix.  Could not that alley just to the west of 500 Davis be configured somehow to accommodate parking for those picking up take-out orders?

    1. alley parking

      I'm sure that my taxpaying neighbors who shell out good money for condo parking would be really happy about people blocking access to their alley even more.

  2. What is fueling

    What is fueling this crazy rush into protected bike lanes everywhere? This is madness driven by a fad of the moment. So their studies say bike lanes increase retail activity? Practical experience and common sense shows when parking becomes more difficult, shoppers go elsewhere. So how is someone going to haul away a 20 lb. bag of rock salt or fertilizer from Lemoi's Hardware on a bike? Green is great but the kind of green that produces retail sales, jobs and profits is better. Wake Up Evanston! This Dictatorship Of The Bikers won't aid anyone.

    1. I’m a local biker who now avoids Church St. lanes

      Dictatorship of the bikers . . . as if! My guess is that "green" gubment funds must be up for the grabbin', and Evanston needs something for all of those city workers to do. Who cares if the bikers want/need it? The city employees have something to do for a few months and Evanston gets the gubment funds, it must be the next big thing.

  3. Bad Idea

    Terrible idea. Why do they keep giving in to the bikes when they don't even follow any rules what so ever. Take up every road and cut in and out of everyone. Was on church and a bike was on the road in and out of traffic opposite a completely empty bike lane!

  4. Davis St, diagonal parking and bike lanes

    The bike lane should go on Lake St not Davis St.  There are many students who use this street to get back and forth to NU, ETHS, and Nichols middle school.  And plenty more that would use it if it was a safer route. 

    Davis St. diagonal parking is hard to pull out of because of blocked sight lines.  You cant see the oncoming traffic when there is a car parked right next to your car to the east.  If there is going to be a bike lane on this street, there can not be diagonal parking.  That would make a bad situation worse.

  5. Are there bikers in the Old Orchard parking lots?

    My observation is that bikers are more athletic than some of the older people who drive cars.  Since downtown Evanston is a commercial district couldn't the city have bike parking lots on the outskirts (north, south,  east and west) of  downtown Evanston where the bikers could then walk the two or three blocks to their shopping/entertainment destinations?

    If the bikers are just trying to get from western evanston to the lakefront, couldn't the city use any number of east/west streets that are either north or south of the downtown business district?

    1. exile cyclists from downtown?

      Let me get this straight… the premise of your argument is that bikers are all athletic, in juxtaposition to those who drive (who are all old, or fat and lazy?) and should therefore have to exert even more effort and walk and bike extra blocks?

      What about the healthy young people who drive cars? Should we tell them that they have to bike? Or park in garages? Street parking for elderly only? What about old bikers? And cyclists with children in tow? Yeah… how in shape somone is is irrelevant to this debate.

      Oh, and don't say that cyclists don't pay usage fees and therefore shouldn't get to use the infrastructure – there are many many many studies that disprove that. In short: vehicle use fees don't cover transportation infrastructure costs so non-vehicle users (e.g. bikers, walkers, public transit users) pay more than their fair share since the rest of the money to maintain infrastructure comes from the general fund (sales tax!). Cyclists? Are subsidizing drivers.

      So. Now that we've established that cyclists have a right to the road, and that athleticism is irrelevant… why should those who don't have an engine and are subject to the elements have to bike on the outskirts, and park further from their destination than those in motorized vehicles?

  6. No more bike lanes!

    What Evanston really needs is someone who can look at the city as a whole and determine what it needs.  The gridlock in this city is only getting worse.  If you take away parking and restrict traffic to one lane then it is only going to get worse.  We need vehicle traffic solutions in Evanston, not more bike lanes and less parking. 

    When it's cold out am I going to park on the third floor of a parking garage and walk three blocks to get my nails done?  No.  I can drive to Wilmette or Skokie, and pull right up to the door and parking for free. I would love to be able to spend my money in Evanston, but it keeps getting more and more dififcult. 

  7. Lanes reserved for bikes—really ?

    Note the number of trucks parked on Church across from EPL.  Saturday there were three each of which were there for at least 1/2 hour.

    There is a large loading dock behind the old Borders on Orrington.  What about requiring those restaurants on that block to rent access to trucks to unload there ?

    So far the bike lane on Church is a joke—paint fading,  trucks [and cars I assume for the medical offices], and car driving on it make it pretty useless.

Leave a comment
The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *