Northwestern University business school employees are mourning the loss of one of their own, after learning today that Mavis Sotnick, who was struck by a car less than three weeks ago, died Wednesday night.

Northwestern University business school employees are mourning the loss of one of their own, after learning today that Mavis Sotnick, who was struck by a car less than three weeks ago, died Wednesday night.

Sotnick was hit on Oct. 27 while crossing Sheridan Road near Foster Street on her way home. Evanston Police Cmdr. Tom Guenther confirmed that Sotnick died at Evanston Hospital. The police have not release name of the driver of the car involved in the collision.

Police did not issue Sotnick or the driver a citation. “No law was broken with the driver, and the officers had the option to give a citation or not,” Guenther said.

The Cook County Medical Examiner is continuing to investigate the accident.

Sotnick, who had worked at the Kellogg School of Management since 1995, acted as a concierge at the Jacobs Center. Kellogg Interim Dean Sunil Chopra informed students and staff of her death.

Carole Cahill, associate dean of facilities and human resources, said Sotnick was an essential part of Kellogg. Cahill described her as a vibrant person who championed the school.

“She told me the night of the accident ‘Can you believe I’ve been here for years and I love it more everyday,’” Cahill said.

Within two days after the accident the school received about 200 sympathy cards for Sotnick. Once Sotnick’s family contacts the school, Cahill said staff would then decide on how to celebrate her life.

She was admired at home as well. Neighbor Ethan Lewis said many people in the apartment complex knew Sotnick and her beagle Mason.

Sotnick’s accident sparked heightened concern for pedestrian safety in Evanston.

Alderman Mark Tendam called the situation tragic. He said the city is working to improve pedestrian safety; he’s already met with people to look at safety measures.

“Unfortunately this happened before those were put in place,” he said.

Reporter Liz Cazares is a student in the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

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10 Comments

  1. Time for action
    As an NU student, I can tell you that this is not the first tragedy to take place on that stretch of Sheridan Road, and it won’t be the last. How many more accidents need to happen until something is done?

    City officials say they are working on increasing safety on Sheridan. Isn’t it time they started working faster?

    1. What action would’ve prevented this?
      This terrible accident happened at the intersection of Sheridan and Foster. There is a stoplight at this intersection, as well as overhead lighting. The driver wasn’t breaking any laws, according to police and no citations were issued.
      I’m not sure I see any possible action that the city could, or should be taking that would’ve prevented this particular tragedy.

      Certainly there are dangerous sections of Sheridan Road that need additional stoplights, crosswalks, etc. This is not one of them.

      1. Re What action would’ve prevented this?
        The overhead lighting is very poor and the speed limit is too high given pedestrian traffic in the area. More light would help drivers, a lower speed limit (20mph) would help everyone, “smart” traffic lights (with motion sensors so that pedestrians can request a signal change when car traffic is non existent or very light instead of waiting in the rain) would be nice everywhere in Evanston. Additional traffic lights are needed, too. There are only three traffic lights between the crossing with Chicago and Lincoln, if I remember correctly. That a 9 block stretch.

        Northwestern does not allow faculty, students or staff within a certain area around the campus to hold parking decals. Hence, a lot of people walk and ride a bike, instead of driving.

        In terms of traffic (cars, pedestrians, bikes), this stretch of Sheridan is no worse than Sherman between Clark and Davis. Yet that area is well lit, there are traffic lights in every corner, and the cars don’t speed by at 30mph (or more), probably out of fear of crashing with cars pulling in and out of parking spots, but the lower speed makes pedestrian safer anyway.

  2. Where was the accident ?
    I’ve heard three places the accident was suppose to have happened. Originally at 1900 Sheridan [and comment ‘near Emerson’] which I took to mean at the ‘Mini-Gate’ at Emerson, at the Foster light and yesterday a story that it was at the Sheridan and Chicago light.
    The ‘Mini gate’ is a terrible place to cross at anytime and seems to have more close calls than anywhere—esp. when traffic is backed-up from the north at night.
    Foster has cars turning in multiple directions with little concern for pedestrians and cabs in front of the Transportation Center and even worse on Sheridan letting-off/picking-up passengers.
    Sheridan and Chicago suffers esp. from drivers not understanding the three different lights cycle—esp. those coming south. Of course people trying to beat the traffic in both directions [worse from south] around the curve and people crossing without even looking because they are on the phone or IPod—-those will be “Darwin Prize” winners and won’t be with us long.

  3. Safety on Sheridan
    Three minor suggestions:
    1. Post signs and inform students, mostly Kellogg, and cab/limo drivers that cabs cannot stop on Sheridan to load/un-load passengers. They must go into the parking lot north of Kellogg.
    2. Seal-off the entrance to the separate Garrett parking-lot and open its entrance through the big parking lot to the south. Permit codes should stop NU parking there and visa versa. If feasible [probably not] seal off the entrance at Sheridan and Garrett on east side. This probably would not work since a second enterance to the parking-lot would be needed—but would allow the Garrett lot to be expanded with ‘Visitor’ space in that lot.
    3. This would not be popular at all—but close the “Mini-gate” at Emerson. I suspect that is the most dangerous spot at all esp. in the evening when cars back-up to the north and people think they can sneak between the cars and lack of sight of cars coming north around the bend.
    While a light at Hinman and Sheridan is long overdue, more lights north of University Place are probably not feasible.
    People may have forgot but remember how long it took for the city to even install a light at Lincoln and Sheridan—a real mess until done!

    1. To your points: 1. I agree
      To your points:

      1. I agree with this one, but it simply ensures that cars can speed by. The cab passengers are dropped on a side walk, so this does not put them in danger, simply slows traffic down (a good thing, in my book).

      2. You are mixing apples and oranges here. What does Garrett parking lot have to do with traffic on Sheridan?

      3. Why aren’t additional lights north of University Place possible? The level of traffic (cars, pedestrians, bikes) merits a traffic light in every corner, especially traffic lights with motion sensors (so the their length is sensitive to car traffic) and effective pedestrian signal changes. In downtown Evanston, there are traffic lights at each intersection. I’m sure the technology exists to make the timing of traffic lights useful.

      Of the suggestions I made below, reducing the speed limit to 20mph would be the cheapest… simply change a couple of signs.

      1. Garrett and big lot south of there
        Evanston.resident and NU staff member wrote:
        2. You are mixing apples and oranges here. What does Garrett parking lot have to do with traffic on Sheridan?
        ===============
        Reason is so there is one less places cars are trying to enter/exit the campus. Idea was to funnel Garrett parking through the existing entrance of much larger lot just south. Of course that still means same volume of traffic but might justify a light there.
        A right turn only exit at the big lot would help but is not really feasible given the small streets north of there could not handle the traffic—and they would have to make a left turn to get on them anyway.

  4. Pedestrian bridges?
    Perhaps NU should add pedestrian bridges and/or underpasses to protect its clients (students) and employees? This IS university property, is it not?

    Reply:
    To your last question, the university is the landowner on both sides of the street, but the road right-of-way itself and the parkway on either side belong to the government.
    — Bill

    1. Pedestrian bridges won’t work
      Pedestrian bridges won’t work (besides being an eyesore) — at most you could build one or two, but the issue is that between Chicago Ave and Lincoln there are not enough pedestrian crossings. Underpasses? No, thank you very much. I would not want be mugged in one of them at night. And they would not work for the same reason. You might argue those work in the lake front elsewhere, but the reasons you cross those underpasses to the lake front are different in motivation and frequency: recreation versus commuting to work or class, to teach, to interview students for jobs, etc.

    2. Pedestrian Bridges on Sheridan
      Maybe but anyone who remembers those at UIC may be afraid of that. They were ugly and falling apart until removed. But then UIC architecture was so bad it is hard to know where to start with the problems.

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