Evanston aldermen tonight are expected to approve seeking more than $1.3 million in state grants to create a protected bike lane on Davis Street and rebuild the bike and pedestrian trail through the Ladd Arboretum.

The vote will come just two weeks after the City Council approved plans to build a protected bike lane on Church Street this year.

The Davis Street protected bike lane would provide a westbound companion to the eastbound lane planned for Church Street.

The Davis Street project funding request asks for $776,000 from the state, which would have to be matched with $194,000 in city funds.

It would construct the bike lane from Judson Avenue to Dodge Avenue, and then, after a break for the Evanston Township High School campus, the lane would resume from Pitner Avenue to the North Shore Channel.

The project would also provide for streetscape improvements on Davis in the portion of downtown from Ridge to Benson.

The $2.3 million Church Street project is being paid for from a combination of tax increment financing district and city capital improvement funds.

The Ladd Arboretum project seeks $580,000 from the state, which would be matched with $145,000 in city capital improvement funds.

It calls for rebuilding the trails through the arboretum which city officials say have had little work done on them since the were first constructed in the early 1960s.

In a memo to the aldermen, Parks Director Doug Gaynor says poor drainage conditions along the trails now make them frequently unusable in inclement weather.

The trails are used by students walking to and from Haven and Kingsley schools, who, Gaynor says, are often forced in bad weather to walk on McCormick Boulevard, which has no sidewalks, because of the poor condition of the trails.

Update 11:10 a.m. 4/11/12: The City Council approved submitting both grant requests on its consent agenda Tuesday night.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. How much !!

    Only in Evanston and only with a government like the Council could anyone dream of having to pay even a fraction of $1.3 million for a bike lane.  They have to be kidding !

    Beside the high cost, Church is a very busy and fast street.  Lake would seem a better choice.  Seeing how poorly cars/buses obey the bike lanes in the downtown area and how the markings are fading anyway, I doubt even lanes with a barrier other than two foot high concrete would help—and those would probably lead to car accidents or at least damage to the sides of cars that hit them.

    The city has missed its targets on where bike lanes are more needed—like on busy streets where there are few alternatives—esp. Lincoln at the bridge, and streets around NU. If the city wanted safer streets they would have certainly not allowed both sides of Noyes—at least to Sherman on the northside—to prohibit bikes. If they want foot traffic safe and allow a few residents on Noyes [similar on Foster] to call in Council favors and prohibit bikes, then prohibit car parking on Foster and Noyes—at least from Sherman to Sheridan—so bikes can be safe to ride.

    The city always seems to take a problem and find the expensive way to resolve it instead of using some common sense.

    1. Bike infrastructure is waaaay cheaper than car infrastructure

      This is a strange comment. If the city is going to be most judicious about taxpayer funds it should be investing much more in bike infrastructure. The car requires extremely expensive infrastructure–from space wasted for parking to the environmental problems associated with excessive auto use. Any trip where a bike is substituted for a car is a big win for all taxpayers. Prohibiting bikes on any streets is a bad idea. The safety "problems" are the result of cars–not bikes. There are examples from around the world that show when cities build cheap bike infrastructure, more people use it and it increases safety for all vehicles while simultaneously reducing public expenditure on transport.

  2. Love the Bike Trail Projects!

    I am thrilled to see this project and all the bike trail projects! Everyone needs to be riding bikes more while drivers need to stay aware  there are many bikes in the Evanston area; I hope they continue to drive safely.

    Biking will increase the health benifits for all, while saving the earth!


  3. Fantastic!

    Church and Davis are absolutely the right streets to use for protected bike lanes, as they are the main downtown streets. Sooner or later drivers are going to have to get used to bikes and pedestrians in urban areas. The streets of our cities are our public places, and not merely thruways for fast-moving traffic.

    You know what would be even cooler than protected bike lanes downtown? Pedestrian streets! Look at what Copenhagen is doing.

    1. Bike friendly two way streets

      If we really want to be serious about bike friendly infrastructure, then we need to recognize that one way streets serve car traffic,  but not bicycle traffic. Making Church and Davis really bike friendly would mean both streets would have have east bound and west bound bike lanes. Once downtown evanston's surfeit of one-way streets is eliminated or reduced,  bicyclists won't be tempted to ride on sidewalks, and our streets will look much more like Copenhagen's and Amsterdam's!


  4. Biker responsibility

    I'm afraid that until bikers show respect for pedestrians and even the existence of cars, residents will have a diminished sense of the need for bike lanes or other adjustments.

    We constantly see bikers riding on the sidewalks downtown where they are not permitted and other places where they are(?) permitted but riding much too fast and without concern for pedestrians.  Most of the bikers downtown seem to be college age though there are teens and younger.  I've yet to see the police stop any of them.

    We also see the groups of pseudo-pro [at least they seem to think so] riding down various streets in Evanston [Sherman seems a big one] and not even looking at intersections. Somehow they must think their nylon outfits will protect them from getting hit or damaged by cars.  They even have no respect for 'ordinary' bikers who stop at signs and give signals.  Nor do they [or the 'downtown' bikers] consider how many car accidents they cause by cars having to avoid them nor harm to pederstrians or other 'common sense' bikers. The police could certainly build the city coffers with fines from these future [near] Darwin Prize winners.

    BTW I got rid of my car 20 years ago and bike almost everywhere [else walk, take CTA outside to outside the city, etc.] almost 365 days a year.  Yet I get just as mad as those bikers with no commonsense as most people with cars do.

    1. The curious creatures in your third paragraph…

      … are lovingly referred to as MAMILs in some quarters – Middle-Aged Men In Lycra.  Given the cash blown to acquire the hardware a lot of them are sporting, I'm not sure the City could expect there to be too much left to pay fines, though.  (Or, in a more classist take on the situation, they're precisely the sort of folk the City could count on as a limitless supply of revenue…)

      1. MAMILS

        I've never heard of this before, but it made me laugh out loud.

        Speaking as a MIddle aged Woman in Lycra, I think you guys should get out on a bike more often!  

        Riding fast is one of the great joys of life.  And yes, some of us spend big bucks on hardware.  Like old ladies wearing big rhinestones, I'll admit that the older we get, the more bling we need to make us feel fast. So what! 

        I actually was rollerblading the other day on the street, for precisely the reasons you all list about people going fast on the sidewalks.   A cop pulled me over and told me it is illegal to rollerblade on the street.    I went back to the sidewalk, and got yelled at by an elderly lady to slow down.  Went to the bike path and found it too crowded to get any faster than a crawl- Well dang.    This MAWIL was POed 🙂    

        BIke lanes would keep us speed junkies satisfied, and keep the rest of ya'll safe on the sidewalks.

        On a sidenote, what ever happened to that friendly brain-injured man who used to walk around downtown telling everyone to "wear a helmet?"     I still think of him whenever I go out on my bike. 

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