Evanston police say four cars collided on Ridge Avenue near Monroe about 9:00 this morning.

No injuries were reported, but Ridge was closed between Main and Oakton streets for about a half hour.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. The speed limit is not the problem
    Ridge is too narrow to have two lanes in each direction. Busses and wide cars regularly take up more than one lane forcing the car in the other lane either into the oncoming traffic lane or toward the curb where there are often pedestrian’s standing. One day a morning accident is going to kill a bunch of kids waiting for the bus. Its a ticking time bomb. Ridge needs to have one lane in each direction and a center turn lane.

    1. Speed limit is not the problem
      Just wait until the City of Evanston installs bike lanes on Ridge Avenue. Cars are being driven out of the city (pun intended). No one on the North Shore drives through Evanston unless there is no other direct route. Poorly timed (on on purpose?) traffic lights ensure stopping at every intersection, narrow roads, bike lanes, 25 MPH on RIDGE AVENUE , and the horrible Emerson/Ridge/Green Bay traffic nightmare are only the beginning.

      1. No plans for bicycle lanes on Ridge.

        The city of Evanston has no proposals for bike lanes on Ridge. For faster traveling from south to north, please use McCormick which has a 35 mph or Edens (I-94) which has a 55 mph. Please avoid Evanston if speed is your objective.

        1. I agree.
          I agree.

          These commuters between the North shore suburbs and Chicago need to use some other road to get to work. Or better yet, ride the Metra.

          Stop using Evanston streets as your roller derby/road rage path to destruction. Too many kids walk and bike around Ridge.

      2. You must never drive if you
        You must never drive if you think posted speed limits have any relation to the speed traffic moves. It’s a 2.25mi section of road with stoplights, slowing down a little bit won’t make much a difference in travel times. But it could be the difference between life and death for someone else.

    2. One lane not the answer
      Making all the streets in Evanston down to one lane is not the answer. That is just ridiculous. It’s not the speed limit. It’s an accident someone just didn’t judge correctly, or they were distracted, or frustrated. You can’t make every street in Evanston one lane in each direction, that just causes a lot of grid lock which leads to frustrated drivers, who then go speeding down the side street in order to keep moving. I wish someone with a brain in the Evanston Traffic Dept. would pay attention!

      1. Then you have to widen Ridge.
        Then you have to widen Ridge. It is not wide enough to be 4 lanes – the busses are wider than the lanes. so there are two choices: don’t have it be 4 lanes, or widen it so it can safely be 4 lanes. Just pretending its not a problem is not working.

      2. One lane in each direction
        Ridge in Chicago north of Pratt has one 12 foot lane in each direction with supposedly little congestion. Yet Evanston has two 9-foot lanes in each direction with allegedly more congestion. Both have a 25 mph speed limit. Evanston should imitate Chicago.

        1. Exactly. Spot-on.
          Exactly. Spot-on.

          Also note that we could do even better than Chicago because we could have a center two-way turn lane, which Chicago doesn’t currently have because of the parking lane on each side of the street.

      3. @caroling: I’m sorry, but you
        @caroling: I’m sorry, but you completely miss the point here. No one is suggesting that “every street in Evanston” should be one lane in each direction. It is not the number of the lanes that is the problem–it is the width of the lanes. They are way too narrow–period. I honestly cannot think of any other main thoroughfare that I have ever seen that has lanes this narrow. Cars routinely fail to stay in their designated lanes, and it is not solely sue to distracted driving, etc–it is because in order to stay centered in the right-hand lane a car needs to ride almost against the curb. Add in the fact that this is not a straight-line road and you are asking for trouble (just look at how many spots along the curb have crumbling cement–cars hit it all the time).

        This road is one lane in each direction in the city, and also north of Emerson. It can maintain that configuration (and even improve upon it with a 2-way turn lane) between Howard and Emerson as well–it will certainly save lives.

        1. A Vote for Two Lanes Please!
          Vote in favor of two lanes! There is a cry over the traffic levels, but what some people are only just learning is that those traffic levels are due to traffic apps that direct motorists to the fastest or most convenient route on the way to their destination. Much of the traffic we have in Evanston is coming out of Chicago and heading through our town without stopping. All of our streets are being backed up with traffic and the side-street residents have already begun complaining about cut-through traffic. Side streets are also being sourced by traffic apps as viable alternatives to avoid heavy backups. A recent article on this topic suggests adding engineering so those apps direct traffic to other areas…. in this instance, McCormick, which was designed to be faster and handle heavier traffic. If you are interested in understanding the issues caused by traffic apps, an interesting article can be found in Wired Magazine here: https://www.wired.com/2016/07/better-ways-kill-traffic-lying-waze/

          To that end, even if residents decided to try to limit congestion by expanding some of our artery streets to four lanes (as had been suggested by someone at a Ward meeting in the past), the traffic apps would send more traffic and we’d have the exact issue we currently have, but with four lanes instead of two. Just try to imagine the Ridge situation on Asbury/Dodge/Oakton/Dempster/Lake/Church/Sheridan/Forest, etc. I believe I can safely say none of us wants to breathe that much auto exhaust. If you research this topic, you will see that the way to address high traffic levels is to actually implement a street diet. Skinny down streets instead of expand them. Add STOP signs and/or traffic circles/speed bumps/bump-outs/bike lanes. When engineering devices are implemented, traffic apps send traffic elsewhere. If we don’t address this issue, it isn’t going to go away. It will only get worse.

    3. This comment is absolutely
      This comment is absolutely spot-on, and I have thought the same thing for a long time. How many more people have to be injured or killed before we acknowledge that these lanes are too narrow for safe operation as a major thoroughfare? I wonder what the possible objection is to a lane reduction? Why have I never heard of anything close to this type of plan from any city officials? The inaction is absolutely staggering and infuriating.

      You know what’s going to happen? One day a motorist will inadvertently mow down a group of pedestrians, and this high-profile news event will finally cause the city to complete the obvious and inevitable lane reduction. Only in this scenario we will have failed to prevent needless suffering and death.

      Let’s be forward-thinking for once and get this done. Please.

      1. one traffic lane each direction, turn lanes on Ridge
        Let’s submit this proposal to the appropriate City Council committee right now!

      1. One wide lane in each
        One wide lane in each direction with turn lanes at intersections…..way to go!

    4. Another vote for keeping two lanes each way
      I agree that the lanes are narrow, but one lane each direction would be absolutely ridiculous to anybody that drives this route during rush hour. Absolute and utter gridlock more than it already is.

      Ask Wilmette how it went on Green Bay Rd when they did that 10+ years ago, and that pales into comparison what would happen with Ridge. The consequence was that many more cars go fast on side streets and drivers are simply frustrated. Ridge traffic in Evanston cannot handle one lane. No street can be totally safe. Evanston has already taken a lot of precautions. If buses are too wide, then buses should be re-routed to avoid Ridge. That’s a better solution than not allowing normal cars on the road.

      I seriously hope nobody in charge thinks one lane each way is a good idea. If so, they need to drive it during rush hour for two weeks straight as punishment.

      1. buses
        I agree regarding the bus issue. It’s impossible to drive next to a bus (without holding your breath or having an anxiety attack in the process), or to go a normal speed. Most buses drive with their right wheels on or over the yellow line, which is not only scary, but frustrating if you want a have an enjoyable drive.

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