Evanston’s Main Street would get a new traffic signal at the Food 4 Less gas station under plans for upgrading the street discussed at a 2nd Ward meeting Thursday night.

City planners and residents at the meeting agreed that traffic conditions around the uncontrolled entrances to the gas station now are somewhat chaotic with drivers trying to enter and leave the station creating unsafe conditions for pedestrians and other motorists.

The signal would be located at the easterly entrance to the station at midblock between Fowler and Pitner avenues.

There was less agreement about other aspects of the Main Street corridor proposal, though, with residents split about whether adding a shared bike lane to the roadway — at the cost of eliminating parking on one side of the street — as proposed in one alternative design — would be a good idea.

One design alternative shown at the meeting would include 14-foot wide shared lanes for bikes and cars.

And while some residents said they favored adding conventional five-foot wide sidewalks along stretches of the road from Pitner to Dodge Avenue that now have only three-foot wide concrete strips at the curb, others objected that the relocated and widened sidewalks would require cutting down trees or would shrink their front yards.

City officials said they’d consider residents’ feedback as they develop revised plans for the road over the next couple of months.

City Engineer Lara Biggs said the City Council has set aside funding for improvements to the western portion of the stretch of road, from Hartrey to McDaniel avenues, so that would could be done next year.

The planning for the eastern part, from Dodge to Hartrey, is being done now, Biggs said, in hopes that having a plan ready could help the city qualify for state or federal funds to do the work at some point in the future.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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1 Comment

  1. Coordination with New Robert Crown Center

    The intersection of Main and Dodge, while heavily trafficked now, will become even more trafficked (cars, bikes, pedestrians) by the time the new Robert Crown Center is developed.  I hope this has been considered while discussing the upgrades to Main Street.  I’d imagine that bike lanes in both directions along Main would be beneficial for patrons of the new Center.

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