On Tuesday morning October 24, there was another car crash at the corner of Ridge and Greenleaf. This was the 20th accident at this corner this year, a sharp increase compared to past years. This number does not reflect the many near misses that occur daily nor the aggressive, distracted, or reckless behavior that we have all witnessed.
Anyone who waits for a bus at this corner, walks their children to school, or rides through this intersection on their daily bike commute knows how dangerous it is to get across Ridge. Even before this latest crash, city officials reported that there had been an increase in neighbors’ concerns and citizen complaints about aggressive and distracted driving in the area.
On the day after the October 24 crash, the Evanston Police Department reported that they conducted an enforcement watch at the intersection. The targeted efforts resulted in 80 citations, the majority of which were for distracted driving and speeding.
We appreciate Alderman Wilson’s, whose 4th Ward includes the Ridge-Greenleaf intersection, quick action following the crash as well as his efforts to bring attention to the serious safety concerns on Ridge. At a recent city budget meeting, Wilson stated that the City is addressing engineering and enforcement issues on Ridge. He has contacted the principals at Nichols and Washington schools to include them in safety and enforcement conversations, and he wants to continue to hear from citizens regarding how Ridge can be made safer.
City officials say they're looking for additional ways to reduce crashes along the entire stretch of Ridge from Greenleaf to Davis streets. Additionally, the Evanston Police Department is planning for continued enhanced enforcement and public safety notifications, including "high visibility" targeted enforcement efforts on Ridge to remind drivers to abide by the speed limit, respect traffic signals, and to refrain from distracted driving. A sign has been placed on the west side of Ridge just south of Dempster.
Go Evanston will continue to follow the City’s efforts. Ridge is a major thoroughfare and should be safe for all users—kids walking to schools, bike commuters on their way to their jobs, transit users getting on and off buses. We agree that much still needs to be done to change Evanston’s “car-centric culture” that the conditions on Ridge epitomize. We will look for ways to work with the City on better enforcement, engineering, and education that support all users of our streets.