After hitting a bump in the road two weeks ago, plans for rebuilding Evanston’s lakefront bike path got back into gear this week.

The plan to spend $143,706 to hire consultants to design the new pedestrian and bicycle path system that would run from Lee Street to Clark Street was held up temporarily by objections from Alderman Edmund Moran, 6th Ward.

Moran said the design of the paths would also tend to lock the city into an expensive design for new lakefront restroom facilities.

But other aldermen denied that the paths would commit the city to the restroom project.

Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, said, “We have money from the state” for the bike path. “Let’s just get this done.”

Alderman Elizabeth Tisdahl, 7th Ward, said she agreed with Moran that given the slumping economy “million-dollar bathrooms are no longer appropriate.” But she said that decision was separate from the bike path project, which she said she supports.

Two members of the city’s recreation board also spoke in favor of approving the bike path project.

The aldermen voted 8-1 to approve the design contract. More than two-thirds of the money will come from the state grant, with the rest provided by the city’s capital improvement fund.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Save $143,706, Hold a Contest Instead
    Rather than waste $143,706 on the design of the bike path, why not hold a contest among architectural students?

    Some of these students are headed for great careers. We can get them while they’re still free. In return, they’ll be able to put “I designed Evanston’s bike path” on their resumes.

  2. A good idea, but…
    …isn’t there a certain level of expertise and/or licensure required? I don’t know what the requirements are for obtaining a city construction/design contract, but I’ll bet if you float it by the legal departmant, they could give you the straight dope.

    BTW: I’m all for farming out jobs to the local talent, especially for public art projects.

  3. A student contest?
    No thanks. Our lakefront parks are important enough that we should hire professionally licensed landscape architects and engineers to design them.
    Debate all you want about the merits of “million dollar restrooms” and if the design contract is too much money to spend right now, but please don’t insult an entire profession by insinuating that a bunch of “architecture students” can do the same job for free.

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