Representatives of Aimco, the owner/operator of the Evanston Place apartments, say the new bike path in front of its downtown building has created a safety hazard for residents and visitors. 

Tje view of the bike lane from the building’s front entrance.

The company presented a preliminary plan for a redesign of the building’s plaza and front entranceways to Evanston’s Design and Project Review Committee Wednesday.

A rendering of the proposed redesigned plaza in front of the building entry.

The main purpose of the redesign is to deter pedestrians from walking from the front door and straight down to Chicago Avenue, because there’s no sidewalk at the curb — just the bike lanes and then the road. Before the street was redesigned to add the bike lanes, there was a narrow sidewalk just behind the curb.

Aimco wants to create an enhanced gathering space in front of the building and use shrubs and benches to block easy access to Chicago Avenue.  The proposal includes better lighting and pathways to help direct pedestrians to the crosswalks at Church and Clark Streets.

A proposed design for enhanced landscaping at the Clark Street end of the block-long building.

While DAPR committee members applauded Aimco for investing in the building and working to improve safety and aesthetics, a number of concerns were raised about the plan. 

Using the city right of way in front of the apartment building for hardscaping was the main issue, as that is the area where utilities are accessed. That means whatever is built there may have to be torn up periodically for emergency work or even maintenance.

DAPR members asked Aimco’s designers to have some discussions with city engineers and public work and safety officials to adjust the plan to minimize any impact on utility access, and then come back to the committee for another discussion.

The Aimco officials say they hope to begin the remodeling of the plazas and pedestrian walkways next spring.

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  1. Awesome bike lane!

    The new, protected bike lane looks awesome! Kudos to the City for installing this.

    As for the missing “sidewalk” (it was only a carriage walk), some pretty landscaping can change people’s habit of exiting the building and heading for the phantom sidewalk; instead walking under the arcade, as was certainly intended by the architect and City in the first place. 

    I hope that we’ll see more protected bike lanes in Evanston going forward. Safety of bicyclists is as important as that of pedestrians. 

    1. Bike Lanes

      Let us all hope we don’t any more screwed up bike lanes like the mistake on Dodge. A poor design that would cost the city almost 1M to fix if the city could afford to fix it.

      1. The Chicago Ave. and the
        The Chicago Ave. and the Dodge Ave. protected/buffered bike lanes are excellent! These bicycle facilities create Complete Streets — streets designed for all roadway users — pedestrians (of all sorts), bicyclists (of all levels of experience), and motorists who want to drive slowly, carefully and safely (as befits an area where there are lots of pedestrians and bicyclists)!! Bravo to the City of Evanston and its planning and engineering departments. They are setting a standard admired and copied around the country for multimodal transportation!

        1. Many of the streets in

          Many of the streets in Evanston are barely wide enough for two lanes of vehicle traffic and pedestrians. Due to the notoriously narrow streets and poor updated city planning, traffic is often forced to to hault on one side to accommodate the parked car, passing cyclist or vehicle. Anyone who has lived here long enough has seen this on many occasions.   There are wider parallel  streets that  have parks with bike lanes like McCormick blvd which runs through approximately 4 cities! The bottom line is Evanston didn’t widen the streets when they inserted the bike lanes, they reduced the already narrow streets creating hazards for bikers, pedestrians, and vehicles. Two prime examples of the narrowing streets are Church St at Dodge Ave and Dodge Ave at Main St.

  2. Sheridan Bike Lane—Pedestrian use
    As I expected, the lane is now used by pedestrians. At least from Sheridan/Chicago to Lincoln, I see more and more people [NU] using it for a walk, jogging path and waiting area to cross the street. Even when a bike comes through—and has to stop to get around them, they continue to walk/jog/stand.
    Not related to the path but planning. Moving the bus stop to Haven was dumb. Those getting off the south bound bus walk in front of the bus and don’t seem to even look for traffic–as if the ‘zebra’ striping will cause cars to even slow down.

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