Evanston Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, says she favors cutting the speed limit on major streets in town to 25 miles per hour.

That’s already the speed limit on side streets, while most major streets in town have a 30 mile per hour speed limit now.

Fiske raised the idea during City Council discussion of a staff report that shows traffic accidents have dropped substantially in Evanston in recent years.

Should Evanston cut its major-street speed limit to 25 miles an hour?

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Enough already!

    This is just ridiculous. With the speed humps on every street, it takes 20 minutes to get from one side of town to the next. 

    The town is only approximately eight miles long. What are you going to do next, make everyone park their car outside of the city limits and walk in?

    1. That’s your argument?

      It takes 20 minutes to get from one side of town to the other?  By your argument, traffic going 8 miles across town is only traveling at 2.5 MPH.

      When dealing with FACT:
      443 Sheridan Road (lakefront near cemetery) to McCormick at Oakton is 2.28 miles.  In order to travel that length in 20 minutes, a car would need to go 8.7 MPH nonstop.  Add 5 minutes for the red lights a driver MAY have to wait through and the driver would still only be going 10.96 MPH to traverse the entire width of the city in 20 minutes.  

      You can do the math for heading north.  From Howard and Ridge to Green Bay and Isabella, the distance is 3.6 miles.  Again, not much of a difference in distance, but quite a number of additional red lights…. although, they are timed for a driver traveling at 30 MPH and drivers obeying the limit should only catch one red light as they traverse Ridge and then another red light on Green Bay.  

      Lowering the limit to 25 might cause you to catch one or two more red lights unless the lights are updated to accommodate the new speed limit.  That might add another 6 minutes to your travel schedule as you drive through Evanston.  

      People who live on Ridge (and other artery streets) should be afforded some protection against the drivers that zoom down their street at 40 MPH… our police force tells us that people who are ticketed end up costing us money because they take it to court where the panel ALWAYS throws the ticket out.  We would have more of a leg to stand on in court if the speed limit were only 25 MPH AND those folks who are speeding scofflaws, instead of doing 40 MPH, will only speed at 35 MPH.  THAT is a big difference in sound pollution, not to mention safety, for those who live on residential artery streets.

      So, in an effort to stand up on behalf of your neighbor who might live in a residential section of an artery street in Evanston, please do not speed and please give some consideration to lowering the speed limit because it really will not cause a whole heck of a lot of additional time in anyone's schedule.  Your residential artery street neighbors will appreciate it…. and they would also appreciate it if you just drove the posted limit instead of pushing it a handful of extra MPHs – in case you and everyone else hasn't noticed, you really are just breaking the law to get to a light that is red (because they are timed to the speed limit) where you will hurry up and wait.

  2. Think of the consequences

    To quote Homer Simpson: "Sure, it'll save a few lives, but millions will be late!"

  3. Are you serious?

    This must be a joke.  Sherman Ave. is now 25mph and it is neither observed or enforced. Maybe a digital speed sign would work better as it seem no speeding citations are ever given.

  4. Evanston traffic

    It is less than two miles from McCormick Blvd. to Sheridan Rd. down Church St., yet it can take 10 to 15 minutes simply to get through downtown Evanston on that route.

    The problem isn't the speed limit, it is the poor driving. It seems at least 50% of the drivers in Evanston are visiting tourists who have no idea where they are going, or they simply can't see more than 10 feet in front of them, requiring a 15 MPH pace, and multiple lane changes within 5 feet of the intersections.

    The powers that be have chosen to move Evanston into the 21st Century with an attempted revitalization of the downtown area, along with multiple incentives to lure more businesses, residents and customers.

    Don't then create more bottlenecks for the already horrible traffic patterns by slowing things down further.

    While they are at it, maybe they should change those "optional" cross walk stop signs to either traffic signals or regular stop signs, or simply require pedestrians to cross at the real signals, or risk their own safety.

    They seem to be more of a danger than not, with many cars stopping when there are no pedestrians, and some flying through when there are already people in the crosswalk.

    1. Cross walk stop signs

      I think most people have seen how seldom a car will stop at the cross walks with stripes and posted signs warning drivers. 

      I rarely see them stop at the Central and Polar one, which has plenty of high speed traffic—some trying to make the light.  The one on Elgin going from the NU music building across to Sherman intersection does not get as much traffic but the NU students don't pay attention to traffic [ear phones, texting] and are in more danger.

    2. Evanston traffic…

      Two comments:

      1) If you think Church is bad now, wait until the "improvements" come this summer when the bike lanes are added!

      2) does anyone know what the difference is between the "walking man" and the "red hand"? Well, not many pedestrians do either!

  5. So, three years from now…

    In three years they'll cut it to 20mph as there have been fewer accidents since it was reduced to 25mph (and an increase in traffic ticket revenue). And then citing fewer accidents again a few years after that it'll drop to 15mph…aaaaaaaand so on?

    And again everyone wonders, aren't there better things to be worried about?

  6. average speed is 22mph, regardless of posted speed

    In Evanston the average speed you acheive in a car is around 22 mph, regardless of the speed limit on any given street. I've tested this several times on different routes using GPS. This is because of the amount of traffic and the traffic lights and stop signs. It's not just Evanston but any urban area. The only way to raise it would be to take a freeway and there are none in town.

    BTW, on my bicycle my average speed (measured with GPS) is 11mph, so for the thousands of pounds of metal, plastic and glass and the hundreds of horsepower and the cost of gasoline, one can travel twice as fast and become overweight as well. Is it worth it?

    For every bike rider I see in town, there are hundreds and hundreds of cars. I can't help but wonder why.

    1. Drivers and signs

      No matter what speed limit is posted, drivers will not only not obey but not even look.

      Tuesday 6 PM a woman was trying to cross Foster/Ridge in the area clearly marked that cars are required to stop and well  off the curb but five cars sped through without even changing speed and at least two were on cell phones.

      If the police don't at least spot check [un-marked cars] some of the areas often enough so that drivers will not be sure they are 'safe' the problems/accidents will continue.

      Why the police consider spots like in the rear of the Hiton Garden hotel, parking lot at Central CTA and end of Poplar at the golf course as such high crime areas that two police cars seem to be there very often, I don't know.  I'd think there would be better uses of their time.and our protection.

  7. Enforce current laws

    Have you ever travelled on Ridge at 6:30am?  It's like the grand prix.  The posted limits are appropriate but not always obeyed.

  8. NO

    Evanston just needs to take down all the speed signs except the 20 MPH between 7AM and 4PM signs. the non-posted speed limit in Evanston is 25 MPH.

    But the slower speed limits will increase the extremely bad traffic flow to worse than extremely bad traffic flow. Then you will have a lot of angry people.

    1. Cut-Through Traffic

      Did you know that a lot of the vehicles you are sitting behind are cutting through because it is more convenient to drive from Rogers Park through Evanston than to take Howard or Touhy?  We are supporting street infrastructure for Chicago drivers on their way to other locations who find our streets to be faster than the artery streets where they live.  Chicago's speed limit on Ridge is 25 MPH, as it is on Asbury.  Their east/west streets are packed so we are getting their overflow.  If we didn't make it so darned convenient, they could stop racing through our town and use their own streets.

  9. This is a one-two punch

    This is a one-two punch. Ms. Wynn's traffic cameras and Ms. Fiske's new 25 mph speed limit.

    I am not a speeder so I am not against this for any reason except that Evanston does not need either. If the laws were enforced and police were issuing tickets, this would solve the problem. Most speeders learn quickly where not to speed.

    Records show that accidents are down, not up.

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