Connecting With The New Greenway

by John Fervoy

A Go Evanston member recently wrote:

"I heard CDOT is building a greenway through Rodger's Park, extending an existing greenway in Edgewater. The northern end of this greenway is at Juneway/Chicago. Even though Chicago Ave has some bike lanes on this stretch, it is still what I would consider a high stress corridor. I would like to see some improvements on this stretch of Chicago Ave, to make it easier for Evanston residents to get to the greenway in Rodgers Park and destinations in Chicago like the Lakefront Trail. Thoughts?”

Go Evanson has been interested in this development south of our border as well.  According to Bob Fuller, Aide to Rogers Park/49th Ward Alderman Joe Moore, 

"Chicago's Department of Transportation anticipates a start to construction in the coming weeks with an estimated conclusion in September or October. The final construction meeting hasn't happened yet so that is all subject to change. They completed the 48th Ward section of the greenway a couple weeks ago, linking a great deal of the far north side with a lower-stress route that includes a number of improvements to make getting around safer for cyclists, pedestrians and drivers. The route will connect to Evanston at Juneway and Chicago Avenue.”

For more information on the greenway designed to improve the connection from Lakefront Trail to Evanston border, see:

https://www.ward49.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/49th-Ward-Greenway_FINAL-POSTERS_2016-0114.pdf

The big question is where should those bikers turn entering Evanston, or how can Evanston bikers access the Rogers Park Greenway?  Should we advocate for changes to Chicago Avenue to accommodate bikes?  Other routes could be considered.  Recyclery volunteer and Northwestern student, Matt Ford, recommends crossing Chicago Avenue and then taking the Mulford St. railroad underpass to Custer St. for a relatively calm and clear ride up to Main St.  This route would benefit from a controlled crossing at Chicago Ave for safe access to the underpass.

These and other options should be thoroughly evaluated and resolved soon as the greenway is coming this year.  What if Evanston were to extend the greenway concept through the center of town from southern border all the way to the start of the Green Bay Trail? Visitors would have safe and easy access to our restaurants, attractions and institutions. Prospective residents would be attracted to the enhanced active transit and quality of life. Evanston residents would gain from improved regional connectivity fostering more biking, improved health and reduced traffic congestion.

The greenway can be seen as yet another example of our neighboring communities building bridges to the Evanston border.  Skokie has bike lanes on Howard, Main and Old Orchard, with plans for Church St.  Lincolnwood has developed its section of the Weber Spur and Chicago plans to extend that southwest to Bryn Mawr and the Interstate.  Wilmette has the Green Bay Trail and Sheridan Rd. and is investigating ways to extend the Channel Trail to Wilmette Harbor.  Chicago has the crown jewel, the Lakefront Trail, and the dream of extending it to Evanston’s border (see Last Four Miles campaign).  It's almost as if Evanston has become a road block to regional transit.  What can we do to improve that situation?  Who’s up for advocating for change?