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A 5-year-old child heading to Dewey School and his father were struck by a car about 8:45 a.m. today as they crossed Ridge Avenue at Grove Street.

Evanston Fire Chief Greg Klaiber says the child was thrown onto the parkway while the adult was pinned under the front of the minivan.

Klaiber says the man suffered multiple fractures and possible internal injuries but was conscious when paramedics transported him to Evanston Hospital.

The child had a large hematoma on his head, Klaiber says, and was also rushed to the same hospital.

Update: 12:10 p.m.: Police say the father, age 39, is now listed in critical condition and the son is listed in stable condition. The minivan was driven by a 57-year-old Evanston woman. At this time, police say, no citations are expected to be issued.

Klaiber says the accident happened as the two pedestrians were crossing Ridge on the north side of Grove. The impact with the southbound car threw the child onto the parkway on the southwest corner of the intersection and the adult was dragged beneath the car for 30 or 40 feet.

Traffic on Ridge Avenue was blocked off from Church to Lake streets while police investigated the one-car accident. Police said Ridge and Grovve were expected to remained blocked until about noon today.

Top: Equipment used by firefighters to extract the victim from under the car can be seen in this image of the accident scene.

Editor’s note: Initial reports from the Evanston Fire Department said the adult was the child’s grandfather, but police now say the adult was the child’s father.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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25 Comments

  1. When will we fix Ridge? Shame on the Council

    Sad story and, unfortunately, not isolated. The two most dangerous intersections last year were Ridge/Church and Ridge/Lake. This accident took place between those two.

    The problem is that we have a four-lane superhighway going through a densely-populated, mixed-use district within a 1/4 mile of two elementary schools. Council was made aware of this problem in the summer and haven't done anything.

    Luckily, there is a very easy way to make the street safer: turn the four-lane superhighway into a two-lane road with protected bike lanes and a center left-turn lane at the intersections. Put planters in the middle of the street between the blocks to create visual diversity which will encourage drivers to act with more safety.

    This would be an inexpensive and simple design fix which would make the community safer. The fact that the Council ignores these problems is pathetic.

    1. Ridge lanes

      Must say I like the above suggestions to reduce Ridge to a 2-lane road, with planter dividers and turn lanes.   Among other reasons, it's just too darn narrow for 4 lanes.  

       

    2. Agreed

      These are all great ideas.. I like the idea of a planter break in the street…bike lane is not a bad idea either! Hope the victims recover quickly, God willing

    3. Change the setup of Ridge

      As a transplant to Evanston I can't believe that a street this fast and congested isn't consistantly having the traffic laws enforced.  I completely agree with the idea of a center lane broken up by planters (and a protected north-south bike lane would be amazing for the cycling community.) I live on the southwest corner of Emerson and Ridge, where Green Bay road joins Ridge, and it is like living on the merging lane of a highway. You cannot cross the intersection safely no matter what the traffic signals say, and crossing at Church is no better. My husband and I often comment about how even though we live a block from downtown Evanston it may as well be miles because it just doesn't feel safe to cross Ridge as a pedestrian in the daylight (and I wouldn't dare cross in the dark). Making Ridge more bike and pedestrian friendly seems like something the Evanstonian community would want to be a priority, especially since people actually live on Ridge and kids and pets are always out and about.  Let's let this be the last accident in this particularly dangerous traffic area. 

    4. I agree with the idea of

      I agree with the idea of converting Ridge to a 2 lane road, with a center turning lane and bike lanes.

      I love driving through Wilmette down Sheridan Rd– the traffic seems so much calmer than in the short 4 lane stretch of Sheridan in Evanston (as soon as the road turns into 4 lanes, there is a noticeable acceleration as cars literally race for position). The bike lanes in Wilmette are great, too. I see plenty of bike commuters.

      If traffic laws were actually enforced in Evanston for a year, the city would not have  a budget problem. Drivers are outrageously aggressive. If you try to drive the speed limit anywhere in the city, but particularly along Ridge, you are frequently tailgated and passed in unsafe ways. Try the same alng Church by the high school and you will see that the speed limit is a joke. Cars will pass you on the right.

      I hope the injured father and son recover quickly. How could the driver drag someone 30-40 feet and not get a citation? She was probably speeding if she could not stop faster.

       

  2. Another Grove/Ridge accident

    I saw this on foot from Oak Ave, where traffic was divereted to. A mess of emergency vehicles, and the extent of the accident shows how necessary they were.

    This is the second time someone has been struck RIGHT THERE in recent memory. There was a woman who was pinned beneath a bus! More recently than that an SUV went off the road and far up into the bushes by the church practically hitting the building. I seem to remeber many other 'routine' car collisions at this intersection as well.

    I don't know about the rest of Ridge, which always seemed to be treated as a 50 MPH highway for its entire length, but THIS intersection seems to be a focal point, and now a 5 YEAR OLD CHILD is thrown, a grandfather dragged 30-40 FEET??

    I don't know a great deal about traffic and how to control people's tendancy to drive insane no matter the posted speed limit. I don't know what the situation was when they attempted to cross and what they did or didn't see. I don't know what the answer is.

    All I know is a grandfather and a 5 year old were hit and sustained terrible injuries. It feels like something could be done. What is the answer to avoid this happening again?

  3. Speeding on Ridge

    I live in the area of the pedestrian accident  on Thursday, Dec. 20. First and foremost, my prayers are with the little boy and his grandfather for a speedy recovery.

     Sadly, I am surprised pedestrian accidents do not happen more frequently in the section of Ridge between Dempster and Davis. Speeders run the red light at Ridge and Davis regularly. I wait and follow the pedestrian signals, but have had near misses more times than I care to remember. 

    Wish the traffic laws were enforced more strictly in this area.

    1. Ridge

      I absolutely agree with this comment- first, that both pedestrians recover quickly, and second, that traffic enforcement is needed. I live in the neighborhood and can say that when I call the Evanston police asking for just that I'm told they lack the manpower!

      The other related neighborhood traffic issue which is needs to be addressed is the high-speed use of the north/south alley east of, and parallel to, Ridge by large volumes of rush hour traffic (including mail trucks) seeking to avoid the stop light at Ridge and Lake (this despite the fact the alley is marked for no through traffic).

  4. Horrible intersection, horrible management of it

    We live in the neighborhood and I go out of my way to avoid this intersection.  It's enough to consider moving, because Roycemore and Dewey are my closest schools, and my kid is going to kindergarden next year.  Without a traffic light, this is not a safe area for families and children — and isn't that why people move to Evanston in the first place?

    That 5 year old could have been mine, and the grandfather could have been me.  If potential loss of children's lives isn't enough for the city to put in at least a traffic light, I don't know what is.

     

  5. I work near the intersection

    I work near the intersection of Ridge and Lake, and whenever possible, I try to avoid having to turn left (east) onto Lake, and in general, Ridge all together.  On a Sunday afternoon, very little traffic, I missed, by one car length, getting hit as a northbound car on Ridge went flying through the stop light at that intersection.  They MUST address these issues.

    1. Red light runs are frequent here

      I agree. We need enforcement. And not via red light cameras.

      My daughter and I were almost struck at the intersection this summer in the same situation you experienced.

  6. When will all of these accidents garner City action?

    I concur with the prior comments and live in constant fear of that intersection (in fact, I refuse to walk down Ridge at all).  With the YMCA and two schools now in the area on Grove Street and no traffic control signal or consistent traffic law enforcement, not to mention the frequency of accidents at Ridge/Grove, it is unacceptable that this issue has not been adequately addressed by the City.  During the past few months, there have been multiple incidents with vehicles running off of Ridge onto the parkway at Grove, so this is a hazard not only for pedestrians actually crossing the street but also for those waiting on the sidewalk to cross.  Certainly pedestrians could walk out of their way to cross with the lights at Davis or Lake (still at their peril, as other commenters have noted), but not everyone will do so and that does not address the general safety concerns with Ridge and the reckless manner in which many drivers drive on it.

    How many accidents does it take for the City to address this?  Why is Ridge not 3 lanes instead of 4?  Wouldn't a center turning lane be a logical approach to help mitigate the danger?  What can we residents in the neighborhood do to try to elicit meaningful action to make this intersection safer? 

  7. Ridge and Grove

    I live at the corner of Ridge and Grove with my balcony overlooking the intersection. I have lost count of the accidents I have heard and seen at that intersection in the last year. I live less than a block away and avoid that intersection 90% of the time. I would love to know the stats on accidents there over the last 12 months.

  8. Don’t narrow ridge to 2 lanes

    This was a horrible accident, but I don't understand the reaction. Do any of the commenters who are calling for Ridge to be narrowed own cars? Have you seen the traffic jam called Green Bay Road after Wilmette did that? I avoid going to Wilmette as much as I can because of it. All those cars sitting still burn a lot of extra fossil fuels and inconvenience a lot of people. It is possible to have a safe 4-lane road, with enforcement of the speed limit.

    1. Near-death accidents are cool. “Inconvenience”, not so much

      Please go to Evanston Hospital and ask the five year old kid and his father if they have been "inconvenienced" by being pinned underneith a minivan and clinging on to life just because they wanted to walk to school.

    2. Narrowing Ridge

      One of the unintended consequences of narrowing Ridge will be the traffic that will be diverted to Asbury.

      Worse to the residential side streets.

      Currently large construction trucks, which cannot use Ridge, find alternatives. They find Asbury too crowded, and to avoid the traffic signals at Asbury and Dempster, they travel down the residential side streets.

      1. Diverting traffic is a good consequence

        It is a little more complicated–some traffic will stay on Ridge, some may be diverted to Asbury and some may even be diverted to Chicago.  Making it safer for peds and cyclists may also see people shift from cars to these less-intrusive modes of transportation which helps everybody.

        The dispersal to various locations/modes will hardly be discernable.

        There are multiple examples from throughout the country where four lane roads have been converted to two lane roads without dire consequences.

        Right now we incentivize speeding by the design of the road and lack of calming mechanisms.  It seems stupid to incentivize something that has such negative social consequences.

        1. Diverting traffic consequences

          More traffic on residential streets that were not designed as thoroughfares has no good consequences. The number of stop signs should make greenies ecstatic as the carbon builds up. Not to mention the thumping excitement of the constant thumps from streets not designed for heavy traffic.

          You must be a traffic engineer.

        2. Wrong

          It is the residential streets nearest Assbury and Ridge that get the traffic. There are schools on those streets. Get over the bikeophilia.

    3. You’re comparing apples and oranges

      Kurt, with all due respect, I think it's inaccurate to compare Ridge and Green Bay Road.  FIrst and foremost, the stretch of Green Bay Road in Wilmette to which you refer is flanked by railroad tracks on the east and largely commercial, not residential, development on the west.  Based solely on my observations trying to drive down that stretch, it appears that much of the congestion to which you refer is a result of stoplights at adjacent blocks and poorly timed lights/traffic "control," as well as the grade-level train stops.  Ridge does not have these variables and therefore Green Bay Road in Wilmette is an inadequate comparable. 

    4. Do you live in this neighborhood?

      Kurt, is your perspective one of someone merely passing through in his car, or do you happen to live in the vicinity of Ridge and Grove and ever try to cross Ridge on foot?

      1. Yes, I live a few blocks from

        Yes, I live a few blocks from there. I agree that crossing Ridge can be harrowing. Even standing by the side of the road waiting to cross seems risky because of high speeds and bad drivers. I try to stand back from the road a few yards. But the fact is that easy access to a main artery road is a major benefit, and one of the reasons that I moved to this neighborhood. You can't have it both ways.

  9. Ridge Traffic

    This is just awful and sad that a parent and a young child were seriously injured on their way to school… I am sure there are "no easy answers" but I hope that some come to light!

    A good start might be to agressively enforce truck traffic on Ridge I see violators every day!  Ridge is just too narrow and trucks make it very, very dangerous!

    Respectfully submitted, Brian G. Becharas

  10.  I hope that those hit in the

     I hope that those hit in the accident have a speedy recovery.  As someone who drives, rides a bike and walks around evanston, we cannot ignore the fact that there is more traffic flow in evanston than there was say 10 years ago.  The problem is not to limit lanes through major arteries within the city.

    This will cause drivers to become frustrated and they're more likely to become aggressive.  Ridge avenue has always been a problem due to very narrow lanes.  They work well for the transportation engineer drawing it on paper but as a car I find it problematic, so much so, that I don't use it for that reason.

    I live on Asbury and have noticed that during rush hour there is an increased traffic flow in the past three years.  I'm not sure why that is, but we would not be doing ourselves any favors by throwing in a bike lane and cutting it down to two lanes.  It most definitely would cause traffic to divert to the side streets.  I think that we have to accept the fact that a horrible accident happened and two people got hurt, but we cannot go a about redesigning the streets and traffic for every accident.

     

     

    1. Distracted walking

      Distracted walking is certainly a problem.  While I'm sure adults are guility of this, I see many students from Evanston schools and Northwestern walking down sidewalks [often in the center or left side] and into traffic listening to their IPods, making phone calls or texting and having no idea anyone else is on the sidewalk in front or behind them [including robbers] or that they are walking against the lights into traffic—-many times I have to yell at them lest the car hit them and even then they have a blank or annoyed look that someone is disturbing them.

      We read of students and others being robbed while 'distracted walking' but I suspect the schools keep [minor only ?] accidents from being reported and multiples of the 'almost hits.'

      The schools [public and NU] should do a better job of educating the students.

      With drivers also talking/texting while driving, I estimate a third of them are not using turn signals even when turning left off of major streets [like Sheridan] and running stop signs. Pedestrians need to take extra care.

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