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Evanston’s Transportation and Parking Committee voted Wednesday night to make temporary traffic restrictions at Greenwood Street and Ridge Avenue permanent.

The restrictions bar drivers on Greenwood from crossing Ridge or turning left onto Ridge between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Only right turns onto Ridge are permitted.

Public Works Agency Director Dave Stoneback says that there were 26 accidents at the intersection last year. But in the five months the temporary restrictions were in place this year there were just eight accidents — and four of those involved people who were disobeying the turn restrictions.

While it’s a small sample, the test would indicate that the restrictions cut accidents at the intersection by about 25 percent.

Similar turn restrictions were imposed at Ridge Avenue and Grove Street last year.

Meanwhile, city officials say they’re looking for additional ways to reduce accidents along the entire stretch of Ridge from Greenleaf to Davis streets.

There’ve been 20 traffic accidents so far this year just at the intersection of Ridge and Greenleaf, compared to a total of 12 in 2016. And officials say there’s also been in increase in citizen complaints about aggressive and distracted driving in the area.  

The Evanston Police Traffic Unit this week launched an education and enforcement effort to address the uptick in crashes and driving complaints. So expect to see more cops pulling drivers over for violations.

Alderman Don Wilson, whose 4th Ward includes the Ridge-Greenleaf intersection, says the enforcement efforts will be combined with efforts to develop traffic engineering solutions.

Unlike the intersections at Grove and Greenwood, which only have stop signs for cross traffic, Ridge at Greenleaf has stop lights to control traffic in all directions.

Related stories

New traffic control rules planned for Ridge at Greenwood (4/21/17)

Sign, officer? What sign? (4/13/16)

New restrictions planned at accident hot spot (3/25/16)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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9 Comments

  1. Grove & Ridge

     Too many drivers are not seeing the signs where Grove intersects with Ridge. I walk across east side of Grove along Ridge nearly every day. 

    1. Ridge safety improvements

      Making the restricted turns at Ridge/Greenwood permanent (as well as the previous change at Ridge/Grove) are positive improvements.  Added enforcement would also be a positive step.  My wife and I walk by these intersections on a daily basis and during the four minutes they are in our view, it is still common to see three or four cars violating the turn restrictions.  It has every indication that these aren’t one-time drivers through this intersection, but folks who are knowingly violating the rules on a regular basis when they don’t see a marked police car nearby.

      Phil N.

    2. Ridge is too narrow for 4 lanes

      i believe Ridge is hazardous because they have 4 lanes of traffic  on a relatively narrow street and people drive too fast.  Personally I believe it should be one lane each way as it is as you enter  the City of Chicago, allow some street parking (just one side, maybe alternate per block) and give a little more lane space.   Maybe a bike lane?  We are surviving with Greenbay going to two lanes from 4, I think we can survive Ridge just as easily.

      1. Ridge Safety

        A bike lane??? Seriously? They’re trying to ADD safety to it not make it more hazardous. That road has been a nightmare for the 50 years I’ve been driving. Too narrow, too much traffic and speed. SMH…

    3. I have an idea
      Stoplights with turn arrows. How about that? I don’t mind waiting at intersections if it stops people from getting hurt. There are lights all down Ridge, what’s a few more?

      1. Ridge Safety Improvement Ideas

        Couple thoughts:

        Make all streets entering Ridge right turn only.

        Place all signs 5 or 6 feet from the ground so they can be seen and read.  

        Prune the trees more often so they can be read.

  2. Unsafe

    I daily drive through Ridge Ave (from Main St. up to where it meets Green Bay), and it is the worst/most stressful part of my commute.

    Some problems I’ve observed

    • Narrow lanes causing hazardous conditions. Buses taking up two lanes due to their size, prohibiting following vehicles from passing via the left lane–or worse, causing vehicles to pass by crossing the median
    • Vehicles trying to turn left in the left lane when there is heavy oncoming traffic, causing a backup during rush hour
    • Greenleaf St traffic lights frequently go out of service (not sure exactly why)
    • At the Green Bay/Ridge/Emerson triangular intersection, people are (understandably) confused by the traffic patterns and signals
    • People trying to turn from perpendicular streets (streets without traffic signals) during heavy traffic – additional hazard

    I am by no means a civil engineer, but this road definitely should not be a 4-lane street. Perhaps we need to convert Ridge into a one-way st with 3 lanes and use Ashbury Ave (runs parallel and in proximity to Ridge) as the opposite one-way st

    1. Urgent

      This is an urgent issue – Greenleaf and Ridge is a school crossing.  Children cross themselves frequently.

      Also – a car jumped the curb and took out a front fence of a neighbor right at this intersection.

      This is no time for bureaucracy.  This is urgent.

    2. Having 3 lanes go in the same

      Having 3 lanes go in the same direction would turn Ridge into a highway.

      Stressful isn’t necessarily a bad thing, if it prevents drivers from speeding and makes them more careful.

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