A consulting firm hired by the City of Evanston this week proposed that Green Bay Road be reduced from four to three lanes between McCormick Blvd. and Emerson Street.

The recommendation was part of a package of suggestions that also offered options for redesigning Green Bay’s intersection with Emerson and Ridge Avenue and for beautifying the railroad viaduct at that intersection.

How the same stretch of Green Bay Road looks now.

Joe Chiczewski of ESI Consultants Ltd. said the the one northbound and one southbound travel lane, with a center left turn lane would be sufficient to handle the traffic levels on the street.

And he said the roadway would likely become safer for vehicle traffic because the three-lane configuration typically reduces sideswipe and rear-end collisions.

A proposed design for Green Bay’s intersection with Noyes Street — showing bus stop pullouts on the far side of the intersection for north and southbound traffic.

The proposed configuration would also provide bus pullout areas at intersections. Currently people waiting for a northbound bus have to step out into traffic to see if a bus is coming because of the tight clearance against the railroad viaduct.

Chiczewski said the redesign would also make it easier for pedestrians to cross Green Bay, by narrowing the distance they are exposed to traffic and improving visibility. It would also provide room for additional green space planting areas along the street.

The plan does not yet specifically address how to make Green Bay safer for bicycle traffic, but it would provide for a wider sidewalk on the west side of the street.

The plans were discussed Wednesday night at a public meeting at the Hilton Garden Inn.

At the meeting, Public Works Director Suzette Robinson said the city plans to look at alternatives for redesigning the rest of Green Bay Road in the future, but it only has funding for the McCormick to Emerson stretch at this point.

Several communities north of Evanston, including Wilmette, have reduced Green Bay Road to a three-lane traffic pattern in recent years.

The city is accepting public comment on the Emerson-Ridge-Green Bay plans through Nov. 12 at the project website.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Please Don’t

    It will make Green Bay Road a nightmare and get backed up all the way to Central St… just look at Green Bay Road in Wilmette from Lake St to Isabella… it is a slow long mess, especially during heavy travel times… then once you get into Evanston, it opens up.  Stop listening to these "consultants" and listen to the community.  Green Bay Road needs to resurfaced and that is it… maybe get the  lights timed too, but PLEASE TO NOT CHNAGE THE LANE CONFIGURATIONS.  Thank you.

  2. Public Comment

    It appears to me anyway that most times the City wants Public Comment the decision has already been made and they are just going through the motions. They want the TAXPAYERS  to think they have a say in the new program.

  3. Bad plan. A really really bad plan

    What's the purpose of reducing the lanes on Green Bay to 3 from 4?

    A reduction in sideswipes and rear end collisions? So people can cross Green Bay easier? Provide bus pull out areas?

    Is there a high rate of sideswipes and rear end collisions on this stretch of Green Bay? Nope.

    Are pedestrians being killed along that stretch of Green Bay? Nope.

    Do we really need pull out buses on this stretch of Green Bay? Nope.

    The million dollar question not addressed in this report is how does this plan improve the currently crazy and dangerous intersection of Green Bay, Ridge and Emerson? 

    Common sense tells me that what really will happen if Green Bay is reduced to 3 lanes is there will be more traffic backup. 

    This plan sucks and is a big waste of money. Period. But I guess government bureaucrats figure if they got funding for it then they should spend the money.


    1. Parts that scared me
      Maybe it was changed since I last drove through the section–where Ridge and Greenbay divide going north–is the light being red for the turn but green going straight on Ridge. That can be confusing when you have to make a decision if to stop or not and esp. for people not use to the intersection.

  4. pedestrian crossing
    Hopefully their plan to fix the pedestrian crossing over greenbay @ emerson actually works. Right now if you cross when the sign says walk, you’ll get smooshed by cars making a right hand turn from under the bridge. I don’t blame the drivers — the whole setup leads the drivers to believe they are supposed to have the right of way and the pedestrians are jaywalking.

  5. Bizarre ideas for Green Bay,

    Bizarre ideas for Green Bay, and of course you've paid for all of this before public input.  Why don't you fire whomever is employed by the city in the name of traffic planning?  They haven't made improvements that I can think of in years.  If we have to go outside, clean up the inside first.

  6. Great ideas for Green Bay
    Reducing Green Bay to three lanes makes great sense. The Emerson-Green Bay-Ridge intersection is the most dangerous one in the city according to EPD accident statistics.

    The reason it is so dangerous is precisely because you have a four-lane speedway in the form of Green Bay that culminates in an intersection with poor sight lines due to the fact that buildings are situated right against the sidewalk on the west side and the viaduct on the east side.

    Making traffic do a dog leg via Asbury & Emerson will slow cars down. Green Bay itself doesn’t get the traffic volume necessary to merit four lanes. All it does is incentivize speeding.

    Assuming the section of Green Bay is also outfitted with bike lanes, along with the car lane reduction, it will provide a great asset to decrease traffic congestion and improve traffic safety in the community.

    1. Where to get accident reports?
      Does the EPD post traffic accident statistics? I have tried to find them on the city of Evanston website but have not found them. I would like to have a list of accidents by date, time, type and location.

      1. Accident reports

        A couple of years ago the city was trying to come up with ways to further reduce pedestrian accidents and produced reports on pedestrian-involved accident locations and freqency. We covered it here. And you can find the city report online here.

        Don't recall seeing anything similar for all types of motor vehicle accidents.

        There also is some data on traffic accidents serious enough to bring a Fire Department ambulance response in the Fire Department's annual reports.

        And, back in 2008 there was a detailed report on accidents along Sheridan Road over the preceding three years.

        — Bill

        1. Accident data

          Very helpful. Thank you Bill.  You reference to fire annul reports led me to find the poicy 2013 annual report, which points to Ridge/Emerson as the interesection with the most crashes in 2013.  They also count Green Bay/Emerson as a separate accident, and it makes the top 10.  If you consoidate the two then that intersection has the most crashes by far every year.  

          While it would be ideal to have a measure of traffic going through each intersection to pair with the crash count, Ridge/Emerson/Green Bay is such an outlyer on counts it would be reasonable to conclude that it is more dangerous than other intersections in the top 10 crash sites.  If converting GB to 3 lanes is done to make Ridge/Emerson/GB safer then it could make sense.

    2. Green Bay

      asfhe, I agree with you – reducing the lanes makes sense.  If only someone had thought of that with Ridge when it was repaved several years back.  Since Ridge joins up with Green Bay, perhaps we could see the same reduction in lanes on Ridge at some point in the future.  It doesn't make much sense that Ridge is a 2 lane, 25 MPH street in Chicago and then turns into a 4 lane speedway that continues all the way up the length of Green Bay as soon as it hits Evanston.  Lane reduction is the type of action that might help ameliorate the severe traffic accidents with vehicles ending up on easements and rolling over that we've seen so much of recently.  I would be interested in knowing where the bulk of the traffic on both Ridge and Green Bay originates from.  

  7. 4 lane roads are hazardous to your health

    Very pleased that Green Bay may become a three-lane road. This road is ugly, hostile and demeaning for pedestrians, bicyclists and bus riders. Given the average daily traffic (~15,000 vehicles), three lanes will easily accomodate the traffic without back-ups; in fact, after right-sizing, traffic may even flow more smoothly. Three lanes are safer for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists. Four lane roads are potential deathtraps:

  8. Who needs streets anyway?

    Why stop so short Evanston? This doesn't go far enough! There are too many accidents and ugly concrete streets. Let's just get rid of all of the lanes and replace them with bike lanes, trees, and flowers! Who needs smooth trafic and wide streets to drive to work on when you can ride your bike in the subzero Febuary weather and admire the beautiful trees that will litter the used-to-be streets.

  9. Good move

    I live near this stretch of Green Bay Road, and, as is, it is very dangerous to ordinary auto traffic and pedestrians.

    The cars fly along at high speeds well over the speed limit.  And trying to cross the road, with the crossing lights, is still very dangerous.

    I am relieved to hear that the city is taking action to reduce the lanes from 4 to 2 with a turn lane — very sensible.

    1. Good move

      Really?  It is rarely a good idea to reduce traffic lanes in a city that is increasing in size.  What genius came up with this plan?  I hope folks that live around the area won't mind all the cars cutting through their  residential streets to avoid the massive back up on Green Bay.  That is how a lot of folks get around in Wilmette to avoid the back up.

      Fix the problem, don't create an additional one by doing so.

  10. McCormick Boulevard and Greenbay
    I hope those making decisions will deal with this intersection. To me it is the most dangerous intersection in Evanston after Emerson/Greenbay. Trying to cross is a nightmare. Cars coming from the north assume they can turn right no matter what the ‘Walk’ light says and do so at high speed.
    Esp. being by several schools should make it a priority. I know I bike/walk through the golf course north of Noyes to avoid the intersection—even at night and Winter– and given the number of kids I see walking on the Metra tracks across the canal, I assume they do also—though I suspect smoking/drinking are also reasons, give the number of policemen scouting the area.

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