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Final Sheridan Road design meeting set

A final public meeting to review designs for the reconstruction of Sheridan Road will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 5, in the Parasol Room at the Evanston Civic Center.

The main north-south road along Evanston’s lakefront has recently been transfered from state to local control.

Construction on the project is scheduled to begin this year and be completed over the next four years.

Work includes reconstruction of the deteriorating pavement, replacement of curb and gutter, pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements, storm sewer improvements and replacement of outdated traffic signal equipment.

City transportation engineer Sat Nagar says the project will not widen Sheridan Road but will include pedestrian safety improvements at several locations including bumpouts, wider crosswalks, advance
stop bars and improved signage.

State and federal funds, as well as city money will be used for the reconstruction work.

Nagar says there have been a variety of recent refinements to the project design

Bumpouts/Pedestrian Safety

Bumpouts have been included at various locations along the project within the residential segments. These serve to provide safer, more visible crossing locations for pedestrians.

Some of the bumpouts shown at the December public meeting have been removed or modified based on concerns that narrowing the roadway would result in traffic back-ups due to left turning vehicles blocking the through traffic.

These include the bumpouts on the southeast and southwest sides of Sheridan Road at Lee and Greenleaf Streets and on the southeast and northwest sides of Sheridan Road at Hamilton Street.

Forest Avenue Improvements

Several comments concerned the roadway width along Forest Avenue between Main Street and Burnham Place. The city will be scheduling a Parking Utilization Study to review any changes to parking.

A decision will then be made on whether parking restrictions along one side would be considered.

Traffic Signal at Church Street Intersection

Three intersections (Davis, Church and Clark streets) along this section of Sheridan Road were evaluated to determine which location would be best to install a new traffic signal to aid pedestrians to cross Sheridan Road.

Church Street had the highest pedestrian volume when counted during a summer festival weekend, and meets the minimum requirements for installation of a new traffic signal based on the pedestrian warrant.

In addition, due to the location of the parking garage and various senior housing buildings, the Church Street intersection would likely attract more pedestrian volumes. Therefore, a new signal will be installed at the Church Street intersection.

Clark Street /Judson Avenue Intersection Improvements

The improvement as shown at the December Public Meeting is the preferred option. This provided a reconfiguration to eliminate the free flow split of southbound traffic between Judson Avenue and Sheridan Road and to move the stop bar for eastbound Clark Street closer to Sheridan Road.

Left turns from westbound Clark Street onto Judson Avenue will be prohibited. The configuration of the east leg of Sheridan Road at this intersection will match the Lakefront Plan recommendations.

The Lakefront Plan is considering relocation of the access road to the boat ramp from Church Street to Clark Street.

Stop Sign at Hamilton Street Intersection

The concept of installing a new stop sign on Sheridan Road at Hamilton Street has been eliminated from the proposed improvement plan.

Bicyclist Accommodation

The project will include improvements to the bicycle network. The improvements will include route signing to accommodate on-street bicycles along Sheridan Road from South Boulevard to Greenleaf Street and north of Milburn Street to Isabella Street.

Sidewalk Improvements along Northwestern University

The preferred improvement plan along Northwestern University will include providing a ten-foot wide sidewalk along the west side of Sheridan Road.

This will result in the loss of four trees which will all be replaced. Tree grates will be provided to protect three trees which are adjacent to the proposed walk.

Parking

For the majority of the project there will be no loss of on-street parking.

Two changes will be made at the Chicago Avenue/Sheridan Road intersection in order to improve the operation of that intersection.

Along the north side of Sheridan Road immediately east of Chicago Avenue there currently are peak hour parking restrictions. Ten spaces will be permanently removed as part of the improvement.

Also, along the first 200 to 250 feet of Chicago Avenue south of Sheridan Road peak hour parking restrictions will be implemented.

Transit Stops

Several of the Northwestern University shuttle bus transit stops along Sheridan Road will be relocated and consolidated with CTA bus stops. These will be located on the far side of the intersection when possible.

There were requests to provide pull-out areas for buses, taxis and other vehicles to use for pick-up/drop-off operation adjacent to the University. This was evaluated, but would have significant impacts to the existing trees and street lighting, therefore pull-out areas will not be included in the project.

Project Funding

The State of Illinois will be providing funds to rehabilitate the roadway in agreement for the City taking over the jurisdiction of the roadway.

Federal Surface Transportation Program funds have also been obtained for the improvements. An application for funding for a signal modernization project from other sources is being pursued.

Construction

Construction of the Sheridan Road improvement will be completed in multiple stages with the first segment beginning in 2009 and the final segment being completed by 2012.

The first segment will be from South Boulevard through Main Street. Construction of new main line storm sewer and water main are part of this first segment.

During construction of the storm sewers and water main, a temporary detour will be required. The detour will be signed and posted in advance of the work. The details of these detours will be developed during preparation of the construction plans and documents.

The project has been through a series of public meetings starting with stakeholder sessions last summer.

For more information call (847) 866-2967.

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