Evanston officials are asking residents to take part in a new bike survey that — among other things — asks whether bikes should be barred from several major streets in town.

The survey also asks for opinions on several possible new bike corridors and on bike parking and rental options.

The city already bans bicycles from the roadway on Ridge Avenue south of Emerson Street.

The survey asks whether such a ban should be expanded to most of Chicago Avenue as well as Green Bay Road, and Central, Dempster and Main streets.

The survey is available online, along with an array of other data on the city’s bike planning process.

City officials and a consultant working on the project expect to present the results of the survey and the rest of the bike plan project to the City Council in July.

A previous bike survey drew more than 500 responses. Most of those responding identified themselves as recreational or casujal bike riders.

They identified a shortage of bike lanes and bike lanes they considered to be unsafe as the biggest challenges to encouraging more bike riding in the city.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. First, let’s find a way to enforce what we’ve got
    More laws don’t make sense if we aren’t able to enforce the ones we have. There are frequently bikes on Ridge where they aren’t allowed.

    IMO, the signage along Ridge (or any non-bike route) needs improvement – our “no trucks” signage is significantly better, and could be used as a model – and could even be combined. As it stands, it isn’t clear whether the signage indicates no biking on the sidewalk or on the street.

    That being said, we have a larger problem with biking: while many bikers bike safely, there are many biking scofflaws who are dangerous on the road. Unfortunately, the police have a difficult job enforcing the law when there is no way to identify a bike or biker without stopping them and asking for ID…which means all scofflaws have to do is bike away. Maybe we need a state law that requires bike license plates when bicycles share the road with cars?

    1. Not enforced now

      Despite the Mayor, and Chief of Police [and NU officials saying they inform students] saying they enforce the No Bike Riding in downtown Evanston, THEY DON'T !  I've seen two police officers in cars sitting outside Burger-King supposedly to catch riders in the last year—both times actually reading and then leaving after their 1/2 hour. [Yes I wrote the Police Chief and Mayor].  I don't think I've seen an officer stopping a biker in three years.

      Bikers even speed down the west side of Orrington past the very crowded space of the hotel.

      Beside officers, the police has the digital signs they could place on several street.  I've only seen one about bikes in the last three years.

      Bikers [and those observing them] realize Evanston's laws are a joke.


      1. Bike enforcement

        There's a chart linked from the city "bikeability" page that shows how many citations have been issued for riding bikes on the sidewalk downtown.

        However there's no indication on the chart of what time period it covers.

        — Bill

    2. Good idea

      Why waste time with city stickers and license plates. We can tag every person in the USA with an enhanced RFID chip. I know this sounds extreme but just a couple of years ago the Obama administration was considering the same idea for use with identifying people for the Affordable Care Act and having a central data reserve for all medical records.

      In a like manner, the police would not need to chase a bike rider and endanger the public during a chase. They could just point their RFID gun at the offender and mail them a ticket or they could call in a drone to track them, apprehending them at a safer time.

      There are probably a thousand other things the RFID chips could be used for. One recent thing in the news is the "Cradle to Grave" project (or whatever it is called). I'm sure they can use it to plan out everybody's life.

      1. Bike Lanes & Disadvantage to Drivers

        First, if we could come up with a safe bike route from Evanston to the Lake Shore Drive Path I would be all for it and send my tax money. It is probably a City of Chicago issue because the real fear is once you go from Sheridan to N Sheridan.

        Second, why did we take away the right turn lane for cars on Davis to Ridge? This is an accident waiting to happen, one street up at Ashbury we have the right turn lane and bikes yield.

        Third, who drive East on Church at Asbury and gets shocked by the sudden change in lane pattern you can’t see? I am sure that has already caused accidents. Why not make Church a One Road and not allow bikers on Emerson?

  2. Banning to many streets makes it impossible to get places

    The ban on bikes on ridge makes total sense. Places like the stretch between emerson and church have 0 shoulder.

    But banning both central and chicago would make it pretty impossible to bike to the harley clarke mansion.

    As someone who lives at the corner of emerson and ridge it is already difficult enough to bike anywhere.

    Sadly, many people bike like idiots going the wrong lane in bike lanes, riding on sidewalks, etc. I saw a guy biking in the dark, with no helmet, no lights, the wrong way on emerson, talking on a cellphone.

    Anytime I manage to bike somewhere with out getting killed or having my bike stolen, I consider it a major victory.

  3. The Bike Plan Survey is not the Bike Plan

    One point often missed in discussions on bikes and the designed road network we have to live with is that some Evanston roads are simply not designed for people.  Both Ridge below Emerson, Dempster between McCormick and Dodge are roads that serve cars first, and every other user comes in a distant second.  For cyclist neither road has suitable shoulder space nor adequate lane width given the density and speed of car traffic.  For pedestrians both roads, while having sidewalks, offer limited opportunities for safe/protected crossing.  Green Bay shares these attribute, but has some important differences.

    In an effort to encourage more intra-city cycling and encourage less confident or inexperience riders to get out and use a bike instead of a car the Bike Plan has to consider the built environment.  Some of which is just down right unfriendly to everyone outside of a motor vehicle.

    The plan process looked at how and why and where people ride and developed eight 'comfortable corridors' to accommodate less experience riders in reaching those destinations (employers, schools, shopping and recreation areas).  The process also looked at education needs of riders and drivers, bike parking at destinations, public policy issues/enforcement, and the current bike route system.

    The current Bike Plan is considerably more than the Survey and of the Survey's 39 questions only five seek to gather public interest in closing stretches of road to cyclist.  The next nine questions ask for input on alternative bike facilities (lanes, protected lanes, etc.) for many of the same roads.

    The Survey is not the plan and banning is only a minor portion of the survey. The Plan documents are here

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