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Sheridan signal gets green light

Neighbors living on the lake side of Evanston’s lakefront thoroughfare disagreed with their inland neighbors at City Council Monday night about the need to add a traffic signal to help pedestrians cross Sheridan Road at Church Street.

And, though the aldermen still must take another vote on the issue two weeks from now, it appears the inland neighbors won the debate.

Frank Cicero of 222 Lake St. was one of the shoreline folks arguing against the light.

He said a light would only aggravate traffic problems that he already observes to the south at the light at Forest Avenue and Dempster Street. He argued commuters from suburbs further to the north would engage in a game of “beat the light” if another light were added.


Neighbors living on the lake side of Evanston’s lakefront thoroughfare disagreed with their inland neighbors at City Council Monday night about the need to add a traffic signal to help pedestrians cross Sheridan Road at Church Street.

And, though the aldermen still must take another vote on the issue two weeks from now, it appears the inland neighbors won the debate.

Frank Cicero of 222 Lake St. was one of the shoreline folks arguing against the light.

He said a light would only aggravate traffic problems that he already observes to the south at the light at Forest Avenue and Dempster Street. He argued commuters from suburbs further to the north would engage in a game of “beat the light” if another light were added.

David Reynolds of 204 Davis St. said adding a light would just encourage drivers to use residential streets to avoid the signals. He also suggested that pedestrians wouldn’t wait for the push-button-activated light to change, and when it did change, traffic would be held up for pedestrians who had already crossed the street.

But two people who live on the other side of the roadway said the light is needed.

Arlene Haas of 412 Clark St. said she takes her dog across Sheridan at Church to use the dog beach and that existing pavement markings are insufficient to get drivers to yield.

Laura Tucker of 1741 Hinman Ave. said she favors the signal, because her children can’t safely cross Sheridan Road to the lakefront without it.

Another lakefront resident, Tom Conley, of 1632 Forest Place, suggested that instead of installing a traffic light, the city could create a traffic island in the middle of Sheridan.

But City Traffic Engineer Paul Schneider said the island Conley and others proposed would be only about four feet wide. Because of the need for groups of people with strollers and pets to cross the street together, Schneider said, a median would need to be at least 16 feet wide to provide sufficient safety.

And, he said, the roadway isn’t wide enough to permit that.

In addition, Streets and Sanitation Superintendent Suzette Eggleston said, a median would greatly complicate the city’s snow removal efforts.

Schneider said that even with the traffic signal added, that stretch of Sheridan would have very little traffic congestion.

Aldermen voted unanimously to introduce the ordinance that would establish the Sheridan at Church traffic signal.

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