Dodge bike lane project may be delayed


While one bike lane project is moving forward in Evanston, another one may be stalled by higher than expected costs.

Work is starting today on an extension of the Church Street bike lane through the Evanston Township High School campus, but nothing's happening yet on a project to convert the bike lanes on Dodge Avenue, now exposed to vehicle traffic, to a protected bike lane model like the one used on Church Street.

The protected bike lane on Church Street downtown.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz says bids for the Dodge Avenue project came in much higher than expected, and it's one of many current-year capital improvement projects that are up for review by the City Council at a meeting Monday night.

With millions of dollars in state aid to the city thrown into question by the budget impasse in Springfield, and with a relatively booming construction industry leading to higher costs for many projects, city officials are trying to keep a tight rein on spending for the remainder of this year.

The Dodge bike lane project could be especially vulnerable, because even though the city has received a $480,000 federal grant to help fund it, aldermen only approved it last fall by a 6-3 vote amid concerns about how many parking spaces would be lost with the new design.

The bike lane is planned to run from Howard Street to Church Street and provide a major access route for students going to and from Evanston Township High School.

Meanwhile some residents in the area are complaining that while the city talks about the new project, the pavement markings for the existing bike lane on Dodge have faded so much that they're nearly invisible.

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