Evanston aldermen Monday are scheduled to act on a proposal to reduce the speed limit on Ridge Avenue from Emerson to Howard streets from 30 to 25 miles per hour.

The proposal is a response by city staff to concerns about the high number of traffic accidents on the Ridge Avenue corridor.

The staff proposal also calls for having police provide targeted enforcement of traffic regulations on Ridge and for testing split phasing of traffic signals at the intersection of Ridge Avenue with Lake Street.

In a memo to aldermen, Public Works Director Dave Stoneback says a leading cause of accidents at Lake and Ridge is northbound cars on Ridge colliding with southbound cars when they try to turn left onto westbound Lake Street.

Stoneback says creating separate green cycles for northbound and southbound traffic has been effective in reducing such left turn accidents at Ridge and Main Street and Ridge and Oakton Street.

But, Stoneback says, the interruption to the flow of traffic may lead to “significant traffic back-ups” at rush hour.

Adjusting the signals to permit the split-phase operation is expected to cost about $10,000 with the work being done this spring and the test continuing through December.

Traffic signals on Ridge are now timed to allow for better traffic flow when drivers travel at 26 miles per hour. Stoneback says the staff is not recommending a change in signal timing at this time.

Stoneback says city staff will request funding next year to conduct a comprehensive study of the Ridge corridor that would consider:

  • Adding left turn arrows on major side streets and for northbound traffic turning into Davis Street.
  • Additional “walk” time for pedestrians.
  • Removing push buttons for pedestrian signal operation.
  • Retiming the signals.

He says that study might also consider adding mast arm traffic signals and making other lane modifications to the roadway.

Related stories

Cops to keep targeting Ridge traffic violations (2/6/18)

How to cut wrecks on Ridge by 25 percent (1/20/18)

The most dangerous intersection in town (12/20/17)

22 wrecks this year at Ridge and Lake (12/19/17)

Ridge targeted for safety improvements (10/26/17)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Almost right….

    1. Emphatic YES to the Ridge / Lake traffic light changes. North / South split with arrows. 2. NO to changing the speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph. During rush hour you’re lucky if you hit 25 mph. Other times, 30 seems to be a safe speed; which many do not pay attention to anyway. 3. Can’t staff and council figure out the other options without a consultant? Signals timed for 26 mph? I wonder when all the traffic is nicely going that speed. And as an aside…. Many violations are seen (and some enforced) by traffic on Ridge. Things such as distracted driving (phones), speed, etc. Finally, according to the agenda for Monday’s meeting, the staff is requesting both introduction and action at this meeting instead of the usual introduction at one meeting and action at the following.

  2. traffic
    At this rate maybe we can install gates and just prohibit anyone from driving through town. Every change in the roads recently seems to be designed to frustrate anyone trying to get around town. Ugh.

    1. Yes

      That’s probably why there are accidents Evanston drivers are frustrated all the roads tore up for bike likes. And slow speed limits cause traffic James even on Sundays.  MYbe they should figure out how to move traffic.

    2. So get up earlier
      As I have learned from the crossing guard at Lake and Ridge. People just need to be more patient.

      Allow yourself more time to drive down Ridge, and maybe you will not put everyone else at risk. And your blood pressure may also come down.

  3. Thumbs up on both ideas

    Love the left turn capacity from Ridge to Lake. And, the speed reduction means drivers will slow down from 40 to 35 in practice.

  4. An excellent start

    An excellent start of improvements to make Ridge safer for both pedestrians and motorists.

  5.  This is a self created

     This is a self created problem. Evanston had an opportunity to remedy this and didn’t widen Ridge Avenue when the major renovation was done several years ago. Another example of poor planning in Evansto’s recent history. 

    1. Wider streets are more
      Wider streets are more dangerous. In fact, many places are making their streets narrower to prevent crashes. Lowering the speed limit is a step in the right direction.

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