After a very busy year of crashes on Ridge Avenue, and many citizen complaints, the City Council has voted to take steps towards making Ridge safer. The Council directed the City staff to do the following:
Reduce the speed limit on Ridge Avenue, from Howard to Emerson Streets, from 30 mph to 25 mph. Signs indicating the new speed limit were installed on the last days of February.
Install a split signal at the Ridge Avenue and Lake Street intersection. A split signal provides a separate light for left-turning cars. Installation of the new signal is planned for this spring.
Continue the Evanston Police Department’s efforts to improve safety and encourage driver behavior changes through targeted enforcement. According to the City’s website, these efforts will focus on speeding, disobeying traffic regulations, distracted driving, and seat belt requirements.
An additional engineering analysis is planned for next year. The analysis would consider retiming signals along the entire corridor, left turn signals with left turn lanes on major side streets, pedestrian signal upgrades, and the installation of mast-arm signals to improve visibility.
Go Evanston believes these actions, especially reducing the speed limit to 25, are important first steps towards making the Ridge corridor safer for everyone. Managing speed is one of the most effective ways to keep people safe on our streets. The investigative news nonprofit ProPublica produced an interactive graph that clearly conveys how just a few miles per hour can make the difference between life and death when a person is struck by a motorist.
We are also hopeful that the City's recent actions represent a significant change in traffic engineering and infrastructure planning. As Evanston's Complete Streets Policy outlines, infrastructure and engineering improvements should aim to make our city's streets welcoming and safe for all road users rather than to move cars as quickly as possible with the least congestion. Go Evanston will continue to monitor and advocate for the "Complete Streets" approach. The quality of everyone's life is improved when there is less dangerous traffic, and more people can safely walk, bike, and take public transit to their destinations.