City officials say this summers paving project on Church Street downtown will be a bit of a grind for Evanston’s sidewalk cafes.

Suzette Robinson, the city’s public works director, told Downtown Evanston‘s annual meeting Thursday that the project will require pavement grinding in two-block stretches at a time through the downtown area.

“At some point there will be dust, and that won’t be conducive to outdoor dining,” Robinson said.

But she said the city will have a worker from the engineering staff on scene throughout the paving project, and showed off a photo of engineer Jon Nero in his florescent yellow vest — to show the assembled merchants how to spot him in the field.

“He can help with your needs during the project,” Robinson said.

The Church Street project will include a protected bike lane — separated from the rest of the roadway by plastic markers that can be removed during the winter months to clear the way for snow plows.

After someone in the audience noted that the bike path is designed only to provide one-way traffic — into downtown from the west, Robinson said the outbound bike lane, using Davis Street, is on the city’s construcion roadmap for 2013.

The road work is scheduled to run from August 1 to mid-October, and Downtown Evanston has rescheduled its “It’s Thursday, Let’s Dance” concert series to start earlier in the season to avoid the construction work, the group’s executive director, Carolyn Dellutri, said.

Top: Downtown merchants and residents get the pitch about summer paving work. Above: Food from local restraunts helped draw people to the meeting, held in the vacant former Pier One store at 1612 Sherman Ave.

The project will also replace the increasingly uneven brick sidewalks along Church with concrete and add new street furniture, including pedestrian-level lighting and a covered bike rack between Sherman and Orrington Avenues.

Looking further ahead, Dellutri said that this year the holiday tree lighting ceremony, typically held on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, will be moved to the preceding Friday, Nov. 16, and combined with a holiday shopping promotion that will see downtown stores open longer hours with entertainment in the shops and carolers on the street.

Related story

Church Street to get protected bike lane

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Evanston sidewalks

    The sidewalks in downtown evanston are horrendous.

    I've fallen several times and have helped others off the ground.  Lots of money wasted!

    1. Horrendous, and now worse

      They *are* terrible, and getting worse!   I'm not sure which I dislike more, the uneven portions, or the asphalt 'patching' that they're doing now to try to even it out cheaply and quickly.

  2. Terrible sidewalks

    I wish we could sue the organization that pushed the 'brick' sidewalks.  Residents will remember how businesses were effected for the much longer than stated time—and on Benson actually forced out of business.

    The to top it off they thought they would put 'artsy' designs in some of the walks—given the way the Council likes to spend money, probably for $$$.

    The real problem is safety.  Only recently the walk around Burger King was fixed after many years of bricks coming out—and up to trip pedestrians.  The walk from the northside of the library to Clark still is bad with bricks sticking up and buckeling.

    As is so common, very poor planning and I guess a committee/organization that wanted art over safety and economics of long/safe life.

    1. It’s not the brick sidewalks

      It's not the fact that the City installed brick sidewalks; it's the lack of proper maintenance.  Anything and I mean anything that looks good takes maintenance – and lots of it!  Yes, you could cover everything with concrete and for that matter, we could have no landscaping either.  Landscaping costs money.  Sure, it would be a lot cheaper and easier if we had no trees either.  All of that tree trimming costs a lot of money…. And forget about anything "artsy". It is a real waste of money that artsy stuff.   It must have cost a lot of $ to think of those sidewalk patterns…

      All sarcasm aside, I like the fact that we have the brick sidewalks.  And that they include some creativity in places.  The real shame is that the City doesn't fund enough money to maintain what it builds.  That is the real problem – not the fact of the brick sidewalks themselves.

      Additionally, the downtown is a special service district, so they pay extra for those sidewalks. It makes one wonder just what happens to that money. If it is not enough money to do the proper job, then it needs to be adjusted, not just let it go for years, which seems to be the trend in government (think of how long it took to get the Civic Center roof repaired – something like 10 years).

      That was neglect and totally inexcusable. I feel the same way about the brick sidewalks – it is absolute irresponsibility on the part of the City government.  In the last several years, the City has hired "budget analysts" – many of them.

      Whoever is determining the budget for maintenance, they aren't doing their job or else the City Council maybe at fault for cutting the maintenance budget.  Either way, the fact that the problem has existed for so many years and continues is clearly the fault of the City Council for not recognizing that it is their responsibility to maintain our sidewalks.

  3. Unnecessary sidewalk “Improvements”

    For the life of me I just can't understand why the City has narrowed roadway on the stretch of Chicago Ave. between Kedzie and South Boulevard by installing a new sidewalk and a tiny parkway of (presumably) dirt for trees/shrubs (that will require regular maintenance) on the West side of the street abutting the Elevated embankment.

    When they first narrowed the street, I was thrilled that it looked like they were installing a bike friendly lane on that stretch of Chicago Ave… that is not to be… So now, the street is particularly narrow and very dangerous for bike riders and the large volume of motor vehicle traffic (which we can expect more of with a new Trader Joes coming to the grocery district North of there).

    The very nice wide sidewalk on the East side is more than adequate… I can't imagine why anyone would want to walk on the tiny spit of concrete they have just created with cars zooming very close by… This was not thought out well and gave no consideration to bicyclists and input from residents of SE Evanston.

    It looks to me like the funds dedicated to this project were a very poor use of money which would might have been used better elsewhere.

    Respectfully submittted, Brian G. Becharas

    1. Cyclists are scofflaws

      Cyclists are scofflaws and I'm really happy that there's no bike lane on Chicago Avenue.  If the city of Evanston was really interested in safety, they could, on any given weekend morning, put the police on any of the stop signs going north/south on Hinman, Judson, Forest and Michigan aves to stop the hords of cyclists who arrogantly blow through the stop signs.  By stopping and heavily fining them, perhaps the cyclists would realize what safety hazards they are.

      Brian mustn't live in Southeast Evanston and, also, doesn't take the 'L' nor Metra to know how many people really need the wider sidewalks on the west side of Chicago Ave.  Walking along the east side of Chicago avenue does not get one to the 'L' nor the Metra.  Since the contruction has been going on, a lot of people have been taking their lives in their hands by trying to cross Chicago ave from the east side of the  street, since drivers try to blow through Evanston without any regard for pedestrians.

      Cyclists – learn the rules of the road then you won't be so shocked that you get smashed by drivers who do obey … except for those drivers who do about 60 mph and blow through the stop signs early in the a.m. when they think no on notices.

      And another thing, cycclists, please stop riding up on the right side of a driver who you obviously are oblivious to notice their right turning signal and are turning right … one of you almost bought the ranch the other morning.

      1. Cyclists = Scofflaws?

        Dear Anon,

        I am sure there is some very good reason for your deep rooted antipathy for bicyclists (hopefully, no one will be buying a ranch from you anytime soon)… despite the fact that bicycling offers the most efficient form of transportation – bar none… and gives the rider exercise and offers other healthful benefits.

        I assume that your anger might also be about bikers that don't yield to you and the 3200 lb steel car you are driving aroun in by "blowing through" intersections on their carbon free way to their destinations.  Some actually do follow the laws, many use extreme caution and continue when safe (or they'd be severely injured)… some don't – So please be careful!  It's important to note that many drivers continue to use their cellphones despite the Citywide ban on talking & driving… (which is more crazy?)

        About walking on Chicago Ave – I care enough about my personal safety to walk across to the East side of Chicago Ave and use the double wide, shaded street protected by a swath of parked cars to walk to Walgreens or the bank just North of me… Walking on the skinny little curb they are building is IMHO, foolhardy… and I would continue to maintain a waste of scarse resources.

        Since you mentioned it… I have lived in SE Evanston almost all my life – first on Judson between Main & Kedzie, currently on Oakton just passed the So. Blvd train station… So one could say that is my "hood" – where do you live? 

        Respectfully submitted, Brian G. Becharas


      2. Myth of the scofflaw cyclist

        Cyclists are no more scofflaws than drivers*.  Drivers and cyclists both make  risk/ reward calculations, and frankly cyclists have different risks and rewards–we want to keep up momentum, we're more aware of our surroundings because we're not caged in thousands of lbs. of metal and so on.

        Too bad for us though, in a car culture the "Rules of the road" are written for cars,  not us.Too bad for us that we, the most vulnerable users of the roads, are held most responsible for protecting ourselves from road enraged drivers like you.  Anonymous, you are the one who is scary dangerous, with your implication that our behavoir deprives us of our right to the road, and that we are therefore deserving of any injury visited upon us by drivers like you.



        1. Nancy is right on

          Nancy is right on.

          A quick google search will show at least 5 fatal car accidents in Evanston over the past year involving innocent victims.  There has never been a fatality where a bike has hit a car or pedestrian. 

          Most of the bike/car conflicts can be solved with decent planning.  The Church St. segregated lane is one effort towards that  end.

  4. Paving schedules are highly weather-dependant

    Paving schedules are highly dependant on weather conditions. Pavements can be made of flagstones, which are used for things like paving gardens; tiles also. There were mosaics, which were commonly used by the Romans. 

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