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Evanston city officials say data from the radar speed signboards on Ridge Avenue indicates that drivers have slowed down a bit since the City Council lowered the speed limit from 30 to 25 miles per hour last year.

In response to a query from Evanston Now, Rajeev Dahal of the city’s Public Works Agency says average speeds dropped one to three miles per hour at the four signboards in the period from May through December last year, after the speed limit was cut and signal timing changes were made at Lake Street, compared to the same period in 2017.

The biggest drop occurred near Greenwood Street.

But drivers on average are still exceeding the new limit at two of the signboard locations.

Here’s the rundown of the new speed averages:

  • Northbound near Brummel Street — 27 mph.
  • Southbound near Seward Street — 29 mph.
  • Northbound near Greenwood Street — 25 mph. 
  • Southbound near Davis Street — 22 mph.

Earlier this month Evanston Police reported that traffic accidents on Ridge dropped 13 percent in 2018 from 2017.

Police have also dramatically increased traffic patrols on Ridge to enforce the new speed limit and catch distracted drivers.

Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, who pushed for the speed limit reduction and other changes in an effort to reduce accidents on the street, says that despite the improvement many drivers are still going dramatically over the limit. He said one of the signboards recorded someone going 70 miles per hour.

He also notes that some of the signboards are near traffic signals — which means many drivers, who’ve just stopped for the signal, aren’t yet back up to their cruising speed.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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