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.