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An Evanston Now reader spotted signs of protest over traffic on Asbury Avenue in north Evanston this afternoon.

Anna Renee Ross says she saw a host of the yellow protest signs planted in the parkway along Asbury from Isabella Street south almost to Central Street.

The signs, with slogans including “Do you drive this fast down your street?” and “Your mother says to slow down,” carry a web address of AsburySafetyZone.com, a non-functioning site. Another sign cautions drivers that “20 children under the age of 10” live on the block.

One carries the name Ed Walsh. We left a message this afternoon for an Ed Walsh who lives just off Asbury at 1317 Jenks St., but haven’t heard back from him yet.

We certainly hope Mr. Walsh and his neighbors won’t run afoul of Evanston’s restrictive sign ordinance, which prohibits placing signs in the parkway.

Ross says she was intrigued by the signs, but found they kept distracting her from paying attention to traffic as she drove down the street.

(Anna Renee Ross photo.)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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41 Comments

  1. Sign of the times
    Love this idea. We live on Asbury a few blocks south of Dempster and would love to get a hold of some of these signs. I especially like the ‘Do you drive this fast down your street?’ message.

    Unfortunately the answer is probably ‘Yes!’

    Drivers need to understand that 98% of Evanston streets are in a residential setting, not commercial.

    If Mr Walsh is reading or someone knows where to get these signs, please let me know!

    1. Asbury-Greenleaf
      No kidding. Cars rarely stop or look for cross traffic at Asbury and Greenleaf.

      1. preaching to the choir
        I know this is not unique to the area in which we live, but I always say that if the City wants to raise some much needed revenue, have the cops spend some time on Asbury between Dempster and Oakton. The City coffers will be overflowing with fines from people ticketed for speeding and not stopping at stop signs.

        Again, not unique to this area but this is my neighborhood.

  2. Street Signs
    The street signs have been an interesting topic and have been well received but have had little impact on the folks who drive 45 mph down our
    street (Asbury Avenue) while jiving to the radio or talking on their cell phones, oblivous to the dozens of young children that live on our block. We have very, very attentive parents watching their kids but we’re on a path towards a tragic accident. I’m sorry the City refuses to put out even
    temporary speed bumps (those could be removed later)

  3. Asbury Avenue Speeders Issue
    Does anyone know anybody who works at Evanston Hospital ? I wish someone
    would tell the guys who drive those white vans that transport employees
    around to kindly slow down driving down Asbury. These are professional
    drivers and among the worst offenders, routinely driving 40 mph down
    Asbury at peak hours, when kids, teenagers, pets are moving about. Again,
    a very dangerous situation that the City refuses to address.

  4. Asbury speed patrol
    I drove down this street at 25 mph the other day and was glared at by a resident as I drove past their home. I can only assume they thought I was going much faster.
    I’ll admit that the only reason I drove down the street was to see the signs and I would’ve stopped and snapped some photos, but feared the resident would come yell at me for driving down “their” street. While I applaud the effort and found the signs funny and creative, I think their vigilante style tactics might need a bit of refining.

    25mph is plenty fast and if people really are going 45mph down that street they need to be ticketed, but this type of lawn-sign campaign is both unwelcoming and likely ineffective. Mostly, it seems like they’re trying to say the only people who have a right to drive on that street are the people that live there. (Certainly that is the impression I got from the woman staring me down as I drove past her at the posted speed limit)

    I would think that complaints about speeders to the alderman and police would be a more effective tactic (and one they may already be employing). I happen to agree with Ms. Ross that the signs themselves are a little distracting to motorists who will likely be reading them instead of watching the road.

    1. beats no patrol at all…
      Before assuming that residents of Asbury want exclusive rights to ‘their’ street, try spending some time living along Asbury. I can assure you that the reason that citizens are taking to trying to find a remedy on their own is born out of frustration and a lack of response from City officials.

      Try a little empathy before making comments based off of a 1 minute drive down the street. We all share in this problem.

      A problem that is not unique to Asbury residents, but that’s the topic of this discussion.

    2. Asbury
      You were “glared at?” As a resident of Asbury, I take offense at the supposed bloggers who are making suggestions based on “being glared at.”
      Maybe you drove at 25 mph, good for you, Asbury’s issue is not that people are driving the speed limit, it’s clueless drivers who are going 40 mph plus. Other bloggers suggest Asbury residents consider this “our street” which is hogwash. We live along a public street, and only ask some City of Evanston help in slowing down the speeders. To suggest that we “start with talking to the City or our Alderman” is BS, we’ve been doing that for three years.

      People can author whatever they want on blog sites, I’d just suggest you save your blog space for thoughts that are based in fact. And if you were truly “glared at,” next time, use Ridge Avenue instead.

      1. Girard and Bryant
        Enquiring minds want to know why Bryant and Girard do not extend all the way from Isabella to Central. In one of my previous postings, I discussed the evils of culs-de-sac, and how they cause traffic problems.

        With a stadium, hospital, area, and being near a giant CTA parking lot, this is a high traffic area. Asbury gets a lot of traffic that should be spread more evenly over Bryant and Girard.

      2. Yes, I was “glared at”
        Sorry you found my comments and observation so offensive. My intent in posting my comments was not to offend anyone, but rather to illustrate that not everyone driving down Asbury street is some clueless cell-phone chatting idiot going 40mph and about to run over kids at play.

        The sign campaign is interesting, but perhaps a bit aggressive for my tastes.

        1. aggressive? really?
          A example of truly aggressive behavior might be something like the residents of Asbury Ave. blocking sections of the street with burning tires and chasing down speeders with pitchforks…

          street signs?…maybe not so much….

        2. Asbury Speedway
          Duly noted, however, after three years, multiple “speed monitoring devices” being setup and documented, policemen on motorcycles hiding in the bushes with radar guns, 2 wheeled speed monitoring machines, “no through street” signs, two separate “speed bump” neighborhood initiatives, dozens of conversations with alderpersons, mayor’s office, streets and traffic department personnel, you can imagine this neighborhood’s frustation with speeding drivers who couldn’t care any less about the kids playing five feet from “harms way.”

          We’ve been told that we “need a substantial majority” of neighbors to support permanent “speed humps” and we’ve been told that “Evanston doesn’t
          do temporary speed bumps” and we’ve been told “if you do temporary speed bumps, they tend to harm the blacktop when they’re removed.”

          After all this, you can appreciate our frustration with clueless drivers going 40 mph down our street, middle finger pointing towards us.

      3. New Alderman
        Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t you have a brand-spankin’-new alderman to address your concerns to? I’m sorry if you’re efforts over the past 3 years haven’t bourne fruit, but isn’t that probably WHY you have a new alderman now? You’d be surprised how responsive our aldermen can be…

        1. …same problem?
          After years of inattentive behavior from Alderman Bernstein here in the 4th Ward I for one would be surprised at how responsive a alderman could be…

          Oh Mr. Wilson…

          1. Speeding and safety
            Yes, we do pay attention. With regard to the specific stretch of Asbury referenced in the original article, that is located outside the 4th Ward. However, I am specifically familiar with that road. I occasionally ride my bicycle down that part of Asbury and, like some of the other people posting, have had occasion to observe the aggressive drivers. And, obviously, that is not the only place in town where drivers tend to exceed the posted speed limits or choose to roll through stop signs.

            The safety of residents, children, pedestrians and cyclists is a priority throughout Evanston. As one of the postings indicated, it appears that there has been some effort put into addressing the problem in that area but there is still a problem. I, and the other aldermen, am always available to discuss these problems and work to find solutions.

            I commend that community for bringing awareness to this issue!

  5. To see idiotic driving maneuvers, live near an elementary school
    You would be shocked to see how people drive near an elementary school (huge building, playground equipment and signs saying school zone so the school’s existence is not a mystery). I have personally witnessed drivers:

    — driving through the intersection at a high rate of speed without stopping at the stop sign (about half of the drivers do this);

    — driving the wrong way on a one-way street;

    — driving BACKWARDS on a one-way street (I guess that the driver figures that if the car is pointed in the proper direction, the fact that it is moving in the wrong direction does not matter?);

    — parking directly in front of my driveway so that it is blocked for my use (if I needed to drive somewhere in an emergency, I couldn’t get my car out); and

    — honking repeatedly for their children (who show no signs of moving toward them), even though there are parking places where the driver could put his or her car and walk to get the children.

    In addition to being irritating to the neighborhood residents, many of these driving maneuers are dangerous for children and everyone else driving or walking nearby.

    When I have called the police about the dangerous maneuvers, I will see an officer show up the next day for a very brief period then I won’t see a squad car until I call and complain again. (I’ve lived here for more than 10 years and this process has been repeated many, many times.) But I’m pretty certain that the police officers don’t witness the problems that I am reporting.

    Why? The officer tends to park right next to the intersection so it’s likely that no drivers run the stop sign or turn into the one-way the wrong way or backing up halfway down the block when there is a squad car parked right there.

    How about parking a little farther away so that drivers will do what they would normally do and then ticket when appropriate? Or maybe that’s the result that the police departments wants — gee, we sent a squad car over there and the officer didn’t see a single violation! No need to go back there, right?

    I agree that enforcement of traffic laws on residential streets should be stepped up. Do the police keep a list of residential areas with repeat reports of illegal driving maneuvers so that, if there is a slow time in the day, they can frequent one or two of those areas?

  6. What has been done?
    I’m curious …
    have the residents of this block followed the city procedure for action? Years ago when I investigated what could be done about this problem on our street (after a car came off the street and onto the sidewalk driving VERY fast in our residential neighborhood) I discovered that there is a long and detailed process including gathering signatures on a petition, holding neighborhood meetings, etc before there could be talk of speed bumps or other action. I’m ashamed to say that I never found the time to follow up and I’m wondering if your neighborhood has and if anything was done by the city.

  7. Speed Bumps??
    First, speed bumps will only hamper emergency responses to the City from police/fire/EMS….

    Second, why don’t the residents in this City start adventuring outside of this bubble you live in? Evanstonians whine about EVERYTHING! There are other, more important things in this world other than your speed bumps down a major street!

    1. fine whine…
      Asbury Ave is not considered a MAJOR artery. Check out your friendly gov. website for the pdf map of the City, conveniently keyed for easy navigation.

      McCormick, Dodge, Ridge, and Chicago are the main North/South arteries in Evanston.

      Central, Emerson, Dempster, Main, Oakton, Howard are the main East/West arteries.

      I would suspect that moving violators such as yourself would like to think every paved route accessible to a car should be considered a MAJOR street?

      I venture out of this ‘bubble’ every weekday in my travels West, and back again. I see all types of moving violations along the way. That doesn’t mean that I should accept the same in my city. Sorry.

  8. 25mph is plenty fast and if
    25mph is plenty fast and if people really are going 45mph down that street they need to be ticketed, but this type of lawn-sign campaign is both unwelcoming and likely ineffective.

    1. I don’t care if you think the signs are “Unwelcoming”
      Unwelcoming? I don’t care whether the signs are unwelcoming or not, go back to planting flowers and hugging trees if you want “welcoming.” Our concern is that Asbury has become a speedway passthrough from Central to Isabella. Niceties aren’t of concern. “Likely ineffective,” yes, that may be.

  9. Asbury – north vs. south
    In reading some of the comments, I can’t help but wonder if some folks are confusing the arterial nature of Asbury in the south end of town vs. the more residential character in the north.

    (Not that speeding is good anywhere.)

    1. North vs South
      I understand your comments meaning…but Asbury is residential until you get to Howard. This idea that the North end is more residential than the South end is unfounded and really irritating. Residents live all along the length of Asbury.

      North end or South end…follow the posted speed limit and respect the residents living in those neighborhoods.

  10. Uhm, this is stupid
    What a waste of time. Why are you all discussing this? Go for it on the signs for your neighborhood. Dissenters, get some focus on bigger issues.

  11. Crabs
    I have never in life seen so much bickering back and forth. Very few people use Asbury as a “corridor” between Central and Isabella. If people are routinely speeding call the cops and ask them to come out. Relax.

    1. Krissy’s Ill Informed Blog Post
      With all due respect, you’re just wrong. To suggest that “very few people
      use Asbury between Central and Isabella” makes you look ignorant to the facts. If you want facts, I’m glad to give you the numbers. Here’s a hint, it’s hundreds of cars per day (we have the data) and the “average speeds” exceed 25 mph quite often, sometimes up to 45-50 mph. To suggest “very few use Asbury as a corridor” is, again, ill informed.

      We’ve had the police set up speed traps (I’ll continue to thank the Evanston Police- they’re been helpful but they can’t set up speed traps here that last more than a few hours) and their electronic speed monitoring
      devices can’t be up for more than a day or two. However, we’ve “called the police” and had them involed dozens of times. To suggest that as an option leads me to suggest that you do your homework next time.

  12. As the newest resident of
    As the newest resident of this block (Asbury), I find some of the comments posted on this blog to be unbelievably depressing. We moved to this street from Chicago because of its “old school” feel and atmosphere.

    I called it my “kick the can” principle. We wanted a street where the neighbors hung out together and the children could start up a game of kick the can on the street. That’s exactly what this street could and should be.

    The people on this block have tried everything they can to bring back an atmosphere where we don’t have to worry about idiots talking on their cell phones flying down our street.

    You’d think that we’re trying to put in a strip joint based on some of the comments on this blog. We’re just trying to protect our kids. Any parent who has lost sight of their child for even ten seconds and that child has wandered into the street can sympathize with us.

    You’re a better parent than I if that has never happened to you. All that our signs ask for is what the law already requires, follow the speed limit and don’t use our street as a through route. Unfortunately, some of the postings on this blog don’t concentrate on the actual law-breakers but us residents instead.

    There is a posted Evanston city sign that prohibits through traffic-that should be the end of the story. I will gladly continue my campaign of glaring at speeders and through traffic. They’re breaking the law, not me. I just pray that one of our kids doesn’t pay the ultimate price for this ridiculous behavior.

    1. Kick the can in the street?
      Welcome to Evanston. I hope that you enjoy living here as much as we have for 15 years.

      I should caution that no one should plan on playing kick the can on any Evanston street. We specifically purchased a home on a side street near a school. Despite that location, traffic in front of our home can still travel 25 miles an hour. Everyone who lives on a public street (meaning virtually all homeowners in Evanston) must be concerned with idiots talking on cell phones flying down the street at or above the speed limit.

      I agree with your actions and your goal. Many, many more tickets for moving violations need to be written. I would personally like to see them in my neighborhood at least once a week as people run the stop sign near my house and drive backwards down our street. But each police officer can only be in one place at a time.

      Perhaps you are engaging in a bit of hyperbole about playing kick the can in the street. If not, I think that it’s too much to expect that your street will be used so little that neighborhood children can safely play kick the can on Asbury.

      Perhaps you should consider purchasing a home on a private drive or at the end of a cul de sac if you are looking for virtually no one to drive in front of your home. I’d like to have my children be able to roam in the front yard without worrying about their safety but I don’t live on a private drive or on five acres in the country.

      Is there a change that can be made that will address your concerns about safety? For example, should the City change the posted speed limit for all residential streets to 15 miles per hour?

      1. Kick the can
        Thank you for your response and for not being angry like a lot of others. I think a lot of people my age grew up in Evanston and other Chicago suburbs and really did play kick the can or other games on the street in relative safety. I did not grow up on a cul-de-sac or the like. It was a regular suburban street that went on and on. There’s no reason life cannot go back to this way, except that people now accept that a blatant disregard for your community and surroundings is just the way things are. I do think that the speed limit should be reduced to 15 or 20 miles per hour, but more importantly, I think that we as a community have to rekindle a sense of community that would make people think twice before they speed down a neighbors street. If you go to the small community of Golf, off of busy Golf road, the speed limit is 15 and strictly enforced. I understand that Evanston is very different than Golf, but the people who live in Golf decided that they wanted life to be a certain way and then they made it happen. I refuse to believe that we can’t decide that we want life to be different and then make it happen.

        And to the angry person regarding the no-through traffic sign, it has been there for quite a long time and it’s meant to discourage people from using Asbury as an alternative to the detour route. Like it or not, not every street is meant to be a heavy traffic artery. Communities from Chicago to Lake Forest limit through traffic or rush hour traffic on certain routes all the time. There’s nothing wrong with it. I still can’t figure out why people are so angry about us trying to make this street safe for our children. If people followed the law, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

    2. No through traffic on Asbury
      “There is a posted Evanston city sign that prohibits through traffic-that should be the end of the story.”

      I noticed this sign on Friday. I don’t recall seeing it before.

      Is it new? And if it is new, who authorized this? Does someone have the authority to prohibit traffic on a city street by just putting a sign up? ( There is no construction going on, or special event requiring traffic control, or no other valid reason to arbitrarily declare that through traffic is prohibited.)

      If so, shouldn’t the residents of Eastwood from Isabella to Central have one too? And how about Asbury and Jackson ( Central to Lincoln), and other streets? Can I have one for my street, too?

      If Asbury is not a through street for use of all residents, then it should be declared to be a private drive – with responsibility for maintenance falling on the residents.

      1. Mr. Who Knows
        This sign is not new, it was placed by the City to help what the city Police, Fire, traffic and the office of the Mayor all agree is a safety issue. We just wish they would all get some stones and put up the speed humps, which is the only viable soluation that will slow down traffic. Signs, good thoughts and singing camp songs wont’ do it. “Private drive?” I’m not sure where that comes from.

        Come on Evanston, let’s get the gumption together to solve this the right way. We may anger some locals who love to “express it” down Asbury and we may peev some of the (maybe two) neighbors who oppose this, stating “what about the bicylists?” and “what about the damage that speed humps do to cars”?? can you believe it? I’m all for honoring people’s opinions, but when it involes the safety of our kids, pets and fellow adults, I side with the majority!

        Evanston is alleged to be a open minded, liberal thinking City. However, I’ve never seen so much anger as I’ve seen from some of the liberal thinkers on Asbury who are afraid we “might damage the undersides of cars or hamper bicycle travel.” Geeezzz!

    3. Police do not ticket for 5 miles over the speed limit
      As I recall – the police usually do not write tickets unless you are over 13 miles above the speed limit – 38 miles a hour in a 25 mile zone.

      Your street is not a private drive “don’t use our street as a through route” we can all use it. That is unless you want to close it off and pay additional assessments to maintain it.

      People on residential streets can keep on glaring – I for one will honk my horn ever time I travel over any new speeds bumps that are installed on Asbury!

      1. Glaring?
        Come now, there was only one person who claimed he/she was “glared at.” That one comment seems to have painted the sixty or so residents of Asbury Avenue as not very friendly and neighborly, which is 100% the opposite of the truth. If one person was “glared at” I personally apologize, I’m sure it was not the intent. Maybe he/she was frustrated with a child, etc.

        We don’t want to be a “private drive” we just desire to have folks passing through at speeds resembling the speed limit.

        With the issues you’ve read about here, can you blame us for requesting speed humps (remember, these are wholly different that “speed bumps”)
        Your promise to “honk every time you drive over a speed hump” I mean, come on, why contribute negatively to our issue? Where is the open minded, kind and considerate Evanston that I’ve loved all my life? Why the threats?

        1. Speed humps
          I must have missed the explanation – why can’t you have speed humps on this stretch of Asbury?

          1. Apathy & Dissention
            This two block of Asbury at its northern tip received city permission to install speed humps. But, apparently we didn’t get enough “pro” responses to the mailer asking for resident support. Because they were confidential, we are only speculating that there were many who simply didn’t respond and a few stalwarts who declined because….well, I can’t imagine why anyone would oppose this.
            –these increase property value by decreasing traffic
            –improve safety for the dozens of kids who play in our “front yard” community
            –decrease collisions against our mirrors & car sides when speeders decide to shoot the gap in the tight street with parking on both sides
            –and don’t increase property taxes

      2. Are you kidding?
        Let me get this straight – are you actually advocating driving up to 13 miles per hour over the speed limit on a residential street? You must be a very unhappy individual to show such contempt for residents that are simply trying to protect our children. Even if the police had such a policy (which they don’t), that doesn’t make speeding right.

  13. Why not direct through traffic to Ashland?
    With construction on Isabella & Sheridan, many cars look for a pass through from Isabella to Central. Using Asbury is the most illogical choice for anyone but the residents of those 2 blocks. Why doesn’t the city direct traffic to Ashland? On Ashland between Isabella and Central, there is parking only on one side of the street, making travel far smoother. There are also no houses, no children playing, and very little traffic other than the few people who park on that street. This route yields the exact same number of stop lights, exact same distance, but far quicker. Wouldn’t this be logical? Wouldn’t this make drivers and residents happy? Emergency vehicles use Ridge, Green Bay or Ashland–those routes just make sense. So why wouldn’t we install speed humps, or even stop signs at every block on Asbury between Isabella & Central to discourage traffic and encourage it on the three far more logical routes?

  14. The Ridge Avenue construction is almost over.
    That part of Asbury and Isabella is busy because of the Ridge Avenue construction. Now the Evanston and Wilmette street construction is finally coming to a end.

    I found Asbury street was the best way to get through Evanston. Thank you for your patience, remember we all have to go through street repairs.

    Have a cold drink and chill out now, the traffic will come to a slow down next month.You live one block from Ryan Field. What are you going to do when the Rolling Stones play there in July?

  15. Want your Indy sign back?
    Hey Asbury Neighbors! Your “Indy” sign is on the 1700 McDaniel just north of Church Street. Apparently Evanston has a city-wide speeding issue…not to mention coveting neighbor’s possessions…

  16. Who can get speed bumps ? Politcally Connected ?
    Several years I went to City Hall and asked about a speed bump for our alley and was directed to the person who handles them. I was told the city no longer installs speed bumps because of fear of lawsuits.
    Well why have so many been installed then ? Including bumps on Poplar north of Livingston—not exactly a main route—and replaced when broken. The houses are away from the street and thus pose little danger.
    However my alley has garages right on the alley which are almost blind spots for people trying to exit them and has many children on the block—-and esp. at that time drivers taking a short-cut going well over 20 mph.. I told him this but he did not care.
    I assume someone politally connected live on the streets [like Poplar] who can get what they want.

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