Ever since “improvements” were made to the signal where northbound traffic in Evanston veers left from Ridge onto Green Bay Road, many motorists found themselves heading west on Emerson Street instead.

But installation soon of a mast arm pole on Ridge north of Clark Street may hopefully help steer motorists in the right direction.

The pole will hold overhead signs directing motorists to use the proper lanes as they approach the Emerson, Ridge, and Green Bay intersection.

The city says the installation is expected to take about two weeks, with concrete foundation work to be completed the week of Feb.12, followed by mast arm pole and sign installation the week of Feb.19.

Construction activities will create some inconveniences for the abutting businesses and residents, warns the city, but it promises that workers will attempt to minimize these issues.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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  1. I’d like to make another

    I’d like to make another point about that intersection.  The flashing lights that were recently installed are dangerous.  I get migraines, and I can’t look straight ahead when I’m traveling southbound on Green Bay when those lights are in.   For somebody with epilepsy, they could trigger a seizure.  I hope they don’t cause an accident.

    1. Suggestion from a fellow migraine sufferer
      If you can’t look straight ahead, take a different route … since you are aware of the danger, your continuing to take the same route is the danger, not the light! Endanger peoples’ lives or add a few blocks to your trip, hmmmmm.

  2. It is improved overall

    While certainly not perfect and there are perhaps some negatives to the new signals/lights/traffic flow, overall that intersection is MUCH improved. It used to be a nightmare before and very unsafe. Now, during rush hour it’s more doable although going south on Greenbay or Ridge does back up considerably since it goes down to one lane. But for all the hand-wringing, I’d say they overall did a thorough analysis to improve it and implemented it well as it’s a challenging intersection. Lighting is greatly improved and the sightlines are much much better, with better traffic flow from the adjoining intersections. The “flashing lights” I assume you’re talking about are for the pedestrian crosswalks when they have the walk signal, so I’d imagine it’s a good safety measure for pedestrians.

    The overhead signs is a good idea as this still does happen occasionally especially to motorists not used to that intersection, but doesn’t happen nearly as often as it used to since they painted the street names on the road itself to make the leftmost Emerson only. That was also a good addition. By and large, as somebody who frequents this intersection, I’d say it’s definitely a major improvement from where it was and I’m glad they sought to make massive changes (and NOT stupidly making Greenbay a one way road….).

    1. I don’t understand what you
      I don’t understand what you mean. An intersection that flowed smoothly is now in gridlock several times a day. This relatively unwalked spaghetti bowl is optimized for pedestrians

      Meanwhile, to avoid the gridlock, cars use the surrounding streets much more. I’m sure the folks who are walking neighborhood intersections like Foster/Maple are not happy to have a steady rush hour stream of people turning left to get back to Ridge.

      This is penny-wise and pound-foolish. Not just for cars, but for pedestrians as well. It nets out as a loss for walkable Evanston, and a huge loss for Evanston transportation overall.

      1. A recommendation

        We live in the building at that intersection. From the vantage of our balcony we used to see spectacular crashes at that intersection regularly. Since it has been reconfigured I have not observed one, though I have to admit there is much more horn blowing due to confused motorists. As far as pedestrian access, this intersection was a nightmare and all but uncrossable. I would always walk down to Church to cross Ridge, now you can cross safely. One recommendation that might help a bit, right now the crosswalk signs are “automatic” you don’t have to push the button to trigger a walk cycle. If they made the switches live so that the flashing lights and a walk cycle was only initiated when there was a pedestrian there it might help the flow some.

  3. An obstacle course!

    I cross that intersection quite frequently and am still anxious about being in the correct lane – especially going west or east on Emerson. Because of dedicated turn lanes in both directions, one has to weave from either the right to the left lane or the other way around, all the while, keeping an eye on traffic lights. In the winter, the lane directions on the pavement are difficult or impossible to see. An improvement I suppose, but hardly a relaxing drive!

  4. Overhead signal to help guide motorists onto Green Bay
    This intersection was not an improvement & everyday I encounter another issue, Today it was an ambulance with lights on, heading east on Emerson, this caused lights to change as they are supposed to, and then back ups occurred northbound greenbay and south bound ridge. It was obvious it would take several lights to get this back in
    sync and the new drivers approaching the scene would not understand the back up , causing frustration.
    And almost daily the southbound drivers on Greenbay who are turning east at Emerson get stuck at the ridge/emerson light during their turn signal meaning only a few cars can get through the short northbound lane, There has been NO improvement to this intersection & a major accident occurred just last week. When the city creates these big changes they should have a staffer drive through regularly at key times to track the results to the changes. Another insane change was in the downtown district at Davis. And also Sheridan road by Northwestern! Too many Lights AND crosswalks (with no flashing lights ) and turning lane for right northbound drivers only?? Everyone uses it to pass the left and dangerously try to change back into the left. What is happening!

    1. What is happening?

      What is happening? Simple. Planners who really dislike car culture, but more importantly, aren’t satisfied with slow change. They want revolution. And revolutions are ALWAYS dominated by unintended consequences.

      Evanston is not significantly changing the number of cars who need to get into, out of or through town via in the general direction of that intersection. So by tangling it up, they do two things: – force traffic onto surrounding streets that people actually like to walk – create incipient road rage, which is the likely reason for the number of minor accidents happening on Ridge southwards, as people who’ve gotten hyped up with anger by the idiocy of gridlock on the north side of a small suburb, feeling they’ve been unnecessarily delayed, make bad decisions later in their trips.

  5. Is it a joke?

    The only thing a sign should say is ‘Drivers beware – you are going to die’. This intersection is horrible and unusable. There are NO approaches that are not dangerous, confusing, unmarked and completely clogged. The timing on all the stop lights is bizarre. Can we get our money back? Who designed this intersection? Is it a joke?

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