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City staff, in a memo to aldermen, say it would likely cost $900,000 to $950,000 to undo the new protected bike lanes on Dodge Avenue.

Some residents have complained about the new bike lanes since they were completed earlier this summer.

Many complaints claim the new lanes have slowed auto traffic on the street — but the staff memo says slowing down the traffic somewhat — to make travelling on the road safer — was one of the goals of the program.

The memo also says that in five years before the new lanes were installed — when Dodge had un-protected lanes for bikes adjoining the traffic lane — there were 20 accidents involving bicyclists on the street — five at the intersection of Dodge Avenue and Main Street — and that one of the accidents resulted in a fatality.

Public Works Director Dave Stoneback says cities that install protected bike lanes generally see substantial increases in bike ridership in the new lanes and that Evanston has seen a substantial increase in ridership of the new lanes on Dodge.

Stoneback says that some modifications could be made to address certain complaints raised about the lanes.

  • Bollards used in conjunction with lane striping to designate the start and end of parking areas could be removed to provide more places for drivers to pull over for emergency vehicles.
  • Visibility for motorists entering Dodge from cross streets could be improved by removing additional parking spaces on Dodge.
  • Delays caused by buses stopping in traffic lanes could be reduced by decreasing the number of bus stops, now at almost every cross street, or by expanding the size of bus-stop pulloffs — but that would require eliminating more parking.

Stoneback’s memo says that because the bike lane project was funded with a federal grant, if the city were to undo the new lanes it would likely have to pay back the grant funds as well as paying a contractor to re-stripe the street — leading to the cost estimate of $900,000 to $950,000.

The City Council is scheduled to discuss what — if any — modifications to make to the Dodge bike lanes at its meeting Monday night.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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26 Comments

  1. Costly Mistakes

    Night exiting from Dodge side streets has become much more dangerous because cars need to pull out further  to get a better angle on oncoming traffic.  Unfortunately, additional Dodge parking that appears to be wall-to-wall, will need to be removed and homeowners will be the ones to suffer to make driving and biking safer.

    I realize that the city did not plan to screwup this 900k project but there is going to be a lot of PO'd taxpayers, other than the people that live on Dodge.

    Please don't do this to another neighborhood.

    1. I like the bike lanes. Has
      I like the bike lanes. Has anyone been seeing how many people are using them? (ALOT)
      Why do we have to be all about cars?

      1. Bike lanes are fine for those
        Bike lanes are fine for those who use them,but while you are safely riding in your bike line others can’t even get into their cars because the lack of space taken by those bike lanes,we have to worry about getting hit by cars or even getting doors knocked off because they want the bikers to be safe while drivers have to park in the street,but hey at least you and your bike is safe right…

    2. I have to pull into Dodge and
      I have to pull into Dodge and these bike lanes and cars block my view. Also some cyclists are riding so quickly that I look back and have nearly hit a couple cyclists. Then they get mad at me. This really was an unwise idea for an oft used thoroughfare that is now bottle nicking. Add on someone parallel parking garage between the elastic post things is ridiculous, imho

    3. Take it to the voters

      i too am not a fan, so much so that I am willing to pay more in tax for the year to undo the BIG mistake that the city made.  Sometimes you just have to count your loss. Let the voters decide on any more bike lanes!

      1. Taxpayer

        For the taxpayers that vote yes, include stipulations on % of cost over how many years would they be taxed.  Was there a taxpayer vote to approve the Federal Grant or was it forced by a Law stating that Dodge Ave was a safe way for bikers from Wisconsin?.

          In the school zones and major arteries in Evanston, i.e. Ridge Ave, Chicago Ave., Church St., Asbury Ave., Emerson St., from McCormick to downtown Evanston, Dempster, Main and Oakton St. you might as well pull over as if to park (where there are accessible parking spaces) and let the speeders who exceed the speed limits pass. It would be just as costly to higher additional police to clock and issue $100 to $500 speeding tickets each over the limits if the lanes were eliminated. 

    4. Horrible

      This is a mess. It's visually ugly and if it weren't it would be on Hinman, Sheridan, and anywhere else where there is a little money. I wouldn't even buy a house on Dodge simply because of this. I watch emergency vehicles struggle to get to calls and it's going to hurt someone. High School traffic is like downtown Chicago south of Lake St. This could have been better constructed. Church and Dodge is already a mess with stealing the bus lane and now this. There's no respect sometimes. This isn't San Diego and 90 days of summer shouldn't constitute this type of EYE SORE…. so tacky. What happened to bicycles riding on sidewalks except for downtown? Just curious. 

      Don't get me wrong… Bike riding and being active is important, but why ruin a community with this? In Florence, Italy bike lanes were used and useful and very nice looking, but they were SEPERATE from the streets. This here is just a mess.

      1. You’re not all wrong
        First, I completely disagree with your assertion that the bike lanes are a mess. People who never ride a bike are mad because they’re being inconvenienced a little. Sorry, bikers have been inconvenienced since cars became common. Dodge is now dramatically safer for bikers and the increased number of people taking advantage of that is apparent.
        Church and dodge is a mess, but that’s because the city couldn’t figure out what to do there and instead of keeping the bike lanes in the street they did some kind of half-assed bike lanes on the sidewalk (and you have to go up over a curb to get onto the sidewalk!) and screwed the whole thing up.
        Bikes can’t be on sidewalks. It isn’t safe for pedestrians at all. I’m often walking with my kids and we have to dodge out of the way because someone is riding on the sidewalk.
        Your idea about the bike lanes being separate is the key. The divided lanes and bollards are better (read safer) than the way things used to be but separate lanes is what should be done. There should be a curb and a separate lane. Somehow, though, I imagine that would elicit as much or more protest than this version has.

  2. Undoing this project and
    Undoing this project and paying for it would be worth every penny.
    All lives matters bikers and drivers but the way it is now it seems way more dangerous to drive than to bike.
    Visibility is just bad!.. Bring back the old dodge avenue.

    1. The people biking Dodge Ave.

      The people biking Dodge Ave. are your neighbors. They're people like you. If driving is now more dangeorous for you than biking, it sounds like you should get a bike! 

      1. What it really sounds like is
        What it really sounds like is bikers need to be on the side walk out of the way of cars if not get a car…

    2. I drive this route all the time

      If it is "worth every penny", then you pay to have it removed with your own money.  

      I have no problems with visibility. I drive this route every day.  I pay attention when I drive.  If you are unable to be aware of your surroundings, perhaps it is time for you to stop driving an automobile.

       

  3. Love the bike lanes, need more

    I'm visiting my son in Belgium and it's a different world. Bikes are treated equally with cars on the roads. Yes, sometimes the cars have to slow down for the bikes, sometimes the bikes slow down for the cars. They always need to be looking for the other to avoid accidents. Why is this such a problem? Cars and bikes can share the road safely. Glad Evanston is trying to make the roads safer for everyone. Thanks!

    1. Something that makes drivers

      Something that makes drivers slow down, pay attention, and take more care. This is a bad thing? 

      Something that gets people riding bikes more often and riding them more safely (including my son and his friends on their way to school) rather than clogging up the roads and the air with cars.This is a bad thing?

      1. Do the right thing

        Stop wasting time and taxpayer money. The mansion and most of its land are not part of any park, It is just like the Howard St. buildings that the city owns and like those buildings, it should return to the private sector. We don't need another EAC screwing the City of Evanston. Any social activist group will not be able to be self-sustaining and will be at the city's door step asking that the taxpayers foot the bill, like they have been doing for the last 40 years.

        The council should stop pussy footing around. Turn the liability into an asset by selling it to the private sector. Get it overwith.

      2. Keep the bike lanes
        Well said! Clear and to the point. We need more protected bike lanes. We need slower cars with more attentive drivers.

    2. Dodge bike lane
      It would help if bikers didn’t assuming we can see them while they have made there own rules and expect everyone else to know and follow them. I do not know how a biker is not killed every day in Evanston. Bikers need to be seriously fined for their hazardis riding! Can’t believe they are not afraid of being killed.

  4. I love the bike lanes. I
    I love the bike lanes. I drive dodge daily and it is great. Don’t even think about removing them because of a few complainers! Put more in.

    1. Love the Bike Lanes Too!
      I live in the neighborhood and LOVE the bike lanes too. I LOVE that Dodge sidewalks are safer because bicyclists no longer feel they need to use them for their own safety. I LOVE that our children are safer when riding their bike to ETHS. I LOVE that tightening of the street has slowed down drivers, many of whom were speeding at high levels on Dodge. I am not a frequent bicyclist, but I love the safety the bike lanes give when I am on a bicycle on Dodge. I’d LOVE more bike lanes like the Dodge/Church bike lanes on other major Evanston artery streets. As for parking on Dodge, living in SW Evanston and walking it frequently gives knowledge. Many of the people that live on Dodge have garages or parking in the rear of their home. Yes, there are a handful that do not have access to off-street parking, but residents that do have access to parking behind their home could make room for the residents who do not by utilizing their garage or parking pad in the rear. While slightly inconvenient, being a good neighbor in a community sometimes causes us all to undertake the inconvenient at times.

      1. Reconfigure the Bike Lanes Now

        I live in Southwest Evanston and am a driver and enjoy biking. I understand the desire to make our city more accessible to bikers, but this is NOT the way to do it. Because of the new protected bike lanes, traffic on this major throughfare has crawled to a standstill. There is nowhere to pull over for emergency vehicles. There is nowhere for buses to pull over to pick up passengers, so traffic frequently is forced to stop behind them. Turning onto Dodge from a side street is now dangerous and visibility is limited. You have to pull out into the bike lane to see to cross, and even then visibility is now good. For residents parking along Dodge, they risk getting hit by traffic or bikers when exiting their vehicles. The bike lanes themselves are full of leaves. How does the city plan to clean them? I think it would be well with the money to reverse this dangerous mess.

  5. Love the bike lanes
    Agree with those here who love the bike lanes, and would like to thank the City for helping make Evanston a safer and easier place to ride. Keep it up!

  6. Gun Traffic

    I'm more concerned about kids getting killed by bullets on Dodge than bike and auto traffic feuds. Are there police on bikes on these paths? Are police stationed at Church and Dodge 24/7? Is it really tougher to get police and ER vehicles through traffic?

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