The City of Evanston will showcase upcoming plans for the complete rebuilding of a 1.9-mile stretch of Sheridan Road during the Evanston City Council meeting on Monday, October 17. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Lorraine H. Morton Civic Center, 2100 Ridge Avenue, Evanston.
On Chicago Avenue, bike lanes will be added from Davis Street to Sheridan Road, connecting the entire project to the bike lanes on Davis Street and Church Street. Sheridan Road will be rebuilt from the south end of Northwestern University’s campus at Chicago Avenue north to Lincoln Street in 2017, including the addition of a two-way protected bike lane on the east side of the street. The portion of Sheridan Road north of Lincoln Street will be rebuilt in 2018.
The estimated cost of the project is approximately $13.3 million, with most of the funding coming from the City and the State of Illinois. Last year, $500,000 of Northwestern University’s $1 million “Good Neighbor Fund” contribution to the City was earmarked to help pay for the project. The University’s second of five annual $1 million contributions to the City has not been allocated, but a portion may be directed towards the Sheridan Road project, University officials said.
“Thousands of residents, students, workers and visitors travel on Sheridan Road every day, as it is one of only two north-south thoroughfares connecting Chicago and the North Shore,” said Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl. “The City’s goal is to go well beyond making surface improvements. We will be finalizing plans for infrastructure improvements that will make the road safer and more efficient for many years.”
The council also will consider a request by 1st Ward Alderman Judy Fiske and 7th Ward Alderman Eleanor Revelle to lower the speed limit on Sheridan Road to 25 miles per hour from the current 30 miles per hour. Addressing safety concerns, Alderman Fiske said, “Immediately lowering and enforcing the speed limit at 25 miles per hour is one positive way to improve safety on Sheridan Road, but there are others, for example, creating a bike ‘safe route’ via Emerson to Orrington, reprogramming traffic signals to reduce conflicts between vehicles, bikes and pedestrians, and establishing ‘pedestrian islands’ when Sheridan is reconstructed next year. I encourage NU students to join with us for this important discussion.”
In 2016, Sheridan Road improvements included the rehabilitation of the water main from Chicago Avenue to Lincoln Street to facilitate a shorter construction schedule in 2017. The next phase includes widening Sheridan Road between Chicago Avenue and Northwestern Place to accommodate a two-way, protected bike lane that will be located on the east side of Sheridan the entire length of Northwestern’s campus from Chicago Avenue to Lincoln Street. The eight-foot-wide bike lane will be separated from vehicle traffic by a one-foot-wide pavement buffer and three-foot-wide concrete median. This area includes the location where a Northwestern student riding her bicycle was killed last month when she turned onto Sheridan Road and collided with a truck. North of Lincoln Street, bike lanes will be continuing north to the Ridge Avenue/Sheridan Road intersection near the Wilmette border.
In addition to the bike lanes, Sheridan Road will continue to have four lanes for vehicle traffic, two in each direction, between the intersection with Chicago Avenue at the south end of campus to Northwestern Place, which is a main entrance to campus located north of Foster Street. From Northwestern Place north to Central Street, Sheridan will have one lane of vehicle traffic in each direction with a turning lane in the middle.
The project also includes bus loading/unloading areas on Sheridan to enable Northwestern shuttle buses and CTA buses to pull in at designated stops without blocking traffic. For added safety, the bike lanes will be routed east of the pull-in areas and will have their own dedicated traffic signals.
“We’re very pleased that the City is undertaking this important project, which will help make the Northwestern campus safer for bicyclists and pedestrians, as well as help improve traffic flow,” said Alan Anderson, Northwestern’s executive director of neighborhood and community relations. “Literally thousands of our students ride their bikes or walk along Sheridan Road every day, so this will be a great improvement in terms of student safety.”
The project is slated to begin in April 2017 along Chicago Avenue and in mid-June 2017 on Sheridan Road, with work south of Lincoln Street expected to be complete next fall.
In addition to the portion of Sheridan Road through the Northwestern campus, the project will include:
- Extension of the two-way bike lane south from the Northwestern campus on Chicago Avenue to Davis Street. The bike lanes will link the campus with downtown Evanston, including the protected bike lanes on Church Street and Davis Street.
- Rebuilding Sheridan from Central Street north to Isabella with bike lanes to connect with bike lanes on Sheridan Road in Wilmette.
- Updated traffic signals with separate bike signals at major intersections.
For more information, please call/text 847-448-4311. For convenience, you may dial 311 directly while in Evanston.