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Bicycling

Here are the proposed walk/bike upgrades to Chicago Avenue in Evanston

The two-way protected bike lane on Sheridan Road in Evanston. Photo: City of Evanston

Last night Evanston held a public meeting regarding proposed multi-modal changes to Chicago Avenue between Howard and Davis Streets. (Chicago Avenue becomes Clark Street in south of the Evanston-Chicago border at Howard.) This was the second public meeting regarding the potential improvements. Display boards showed public input results from the first public meeting. There were also renderings of what the changes could look like.

I previously reported that attendees at the first meeting expressed a preference for building protected bike lanes on Chicago Avenue. A display board showed that a two-way protected bike lane, similar to existing curb-and-parking-protected two-way bike lane on Chicago Avenue north of Davis to Sheridan Road was the most popular option.

The two-way protected bike lane on Chicago Avenue between Davis and Sheridan. Image: Google Maps
The two-way protected bike lane on Chicago Avenue between Davis and Sheridan. Image: Google Maps
The two-way protected bike lane on Chicago Avenue between Davis and Sheridan. Image: Google Maps

The second most popular option, with fewer than half the votes of the two way protected cycle track, was a two-way unprotected cycle track. Written comments from the first meeting seem to emphasize safety, asking for “a network that improves safety for cyclists of all abilities,” stating that “bike lanes need to run the full length of the study area [with] no gaps,” and requesting "a road diet to slow car traffic.”

Feedback from the first public meeting.
Feedback from the first public meeting.
Feedback from the first public meeting.

It was exciting to see potential changes to a stretch of road that I regularly use. Not only could the south portion of Chicago Avenue see effective cycling infrastructure in the form of barrier-protected bike lanes, public art could be coming to the concrete retaining walls and a new median.

Renderings of proposed changes to the southern portion of Chicago Avenue in Evanston.
Renderings of proposed changes to the southern portion of Chicago Avenue in Evanston.
Renderings of proposed changes to the southern portion of Chicago Avenue in Evanston.

At Chicago Avenue's intersection with South Boulevard, the first east-west street north of Howard, Evanston may expand the plaza in front of the local Purple Line station, at the northwest corner of the intersection, as part of future station improvements, which could include bike racks, benches, and public art. The concrete retaining walls may get public art panels, and the retaining wall corner may be chamfered (cut back or blunted) to improve sight lines for drivers heading east from the CTA viaduct.

Renderings of proposed changes to the intersection of South Boulevard and Chicago Avenue.
Renderings of proposed changes to the intersection of South Boulevard and Chicago Avenue.
Renderings of proposed changes to the intersection of South Boulevard and Chicago Avenue.

The Main Street Purple stop could see placemaking enhancements as well. An expanded plaza with seating, public art and greenery is on the table. 

The Main Street Purple Line station could see placemaking enhancements.
The Main Street Purple Line station could see placemaking enhancements.
The Main Street Purple Line station could see placemaking enhancements.

If you’d like to check out renderings of other portions of Chicago Avenue, you can view the meeting materials here. You can submit comments about the proposed changes on the project website.

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