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City Holds Pedestrian Safety Workshop

Evanston residents are invited to come out to a workshop Tuesday night at the Civic Center.

Two months after in a crosswalk by a driver speeding near Oakton School, city officials will convene a discussion of pedestrian safety.

The city will host a workshop on the subject from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 24, in room 2200 of the . Residents are invited to stop by at any time during the workshop to share their thoughts with city staff, police and members of a traffic consulting firm who will be on hand.

"Pedestrian safety is a growing issue in many communities especially during summer months and as we approach the beginning of the next school year,” Public Works Director Suzette Robinson said in a press release. “It is our hope to bring a diverse group of community members together in conjunction with city staff to discuss pedestrian safety and strategies.”

Organizers are seeking feedback on pedestrian crossings, school route safety and education and speed reduction strategies, according to the release.

While car accidents involving a pedestrian have declined over the past three years in Evanston, Robinson has said her department is focusing its efforts on even further.

Excluding car accidents that happened on private property and in alleys, there were 52 accidents involving pedestrians in 2011, down from 55 in 2010 and 67 in 2009, according to Robinson.

In 2011, some of the were Green Bay Road and Central Street, Davis Street and Ridge Avenue, and several intersections along Chicago Avenue.

The city is already planning improvements at some of those intersections, including work to improve pedestrian visibility at Davis and Ridge, where seven pedestrian accidents occurred last year. Public works crews have also installed countdown walk signals in several locations.

To improve safety at school crossings, engineers hired by the city will begin a study of school walk routes this fall, and Robinson said that the city hopes to implement their recommendations by 2013. The city is also working with District 65 schools and PTAs to develop the best routes for students who walk, and to make that information public.

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Richard Schulte July 24, 2012 at 11:46 AM
It sounds like Evanston public employees don't have anything to do. I guess that Evanston will also be holding a workshop on movie-attendance safety soon.
Jim July 24, 2012 at 12:26 PM
Well the problem is that Evanston put in those stupid toy crosswalk stop signs that serve only to confuse drivers and embolden pedestrians inappropriately. They should have put up stop lights. Then the drivers would stop and the pedestrians would not assume there is not a car about to run them down. But The bureaucrats do not understand the law of unintended consequences and now have to spend more money to "educate" the folks on the dangers of the present system. Now someone will get hit and sue the city for ambiguous instructions on how to walk across the street. And some folks wonder why our society is falling apart.
lucas July 24, 2012 at 12:37 PM
YEsterday I was driving West on oakton about Noon. Students were running out from between cars,ignoring the crossing guard, walking in to street on cell phones. Perhaps jaywalking tickets of $100.00 would solve problem.
William Guth July 24, 2012 at 03:54 PM
I agree with Jim in that the system could have been implemented in a different way, that is more plainly obvious as far as the Do(s) and Don't(s); but I'm glad that the city is doing what they can to educate people. While I suspect this event will not be highly attended, I would be very interested in reading the meeting's minutes; so that I can give a few people the proper "told you so," after I nearly rear end them for stopping unnecessarily at these middle of the road signs when no pedestrians are present for miles n any direction. I become annoyed when people stop at those signs just to stop. The mid-road sign on Emerson has actually been run down and crushed, possibly replaced by now. The mid-road signs on Chicago outside of Jewel are boldly dis-obeyed by drivers and pedestrians, which is one of the few areas where this system needs to be, and needs to be effective. And on Oakton, you have to stop every 30 seconds behind people who think its just a plain old stop sign. Should I say thank you Evanston, or No Thanks. Hopefully this meeting/event will help answer that question.
Lightsleeper July 24, 2012 at 04:34 PM
This city needs to address its bizarre affection for traffic signals where cheaper, more effective four-way stops would suffice. Particularly in the downtown, its hard to understand these signals except in terms of lucrative contracts for installers and maintainers. There aren't many intersections in Evanston that actually warrant a stop light. Badly designed signaling and signage unfortunately give motorist the wrong idea: that pedestrians are intruding on their right-of-way, instead of vice-versa.
DZigns July 24, 2012 at 08:52 PM
I hope someone educates not only the drivers, but the actual pedestrians. Someone needs to tell the teenagers and young adults who walk down Emerson during rush hour, that there are sidewalks to be used. And that stepping in front of a car, to stroll across the street at a snail's pace is not a good idea. Also walking down the middle of some of the side streets, when you know a car is behind you is also not a good idea - again that's what sidewalks were made for.
millie July 24, 2012 at 11:18 PM
Perhaps a good start would be for the teachers and parents to tell the students to cross streets where their are crossing guards or wait at a light and cross when you have the "WALK" light. They also need to be told not to run out from between parked cars to cross streets
Natalie Watson July 25, 2012 at 05:01 PM
Forgive them, lord, for they know not of what they speak." I am frankly amazed at these comments, and suspect that the majority of these people are usually in the position of motorists, and seldom walk around Evanston. For if you did, you would begin to see these issues from a different perspective. Say it's a hot, airless day and you are strolling to the beach with your toddler in tow. Maybe you are trying to do something healthy, get some fresh air, and not burn any fossil fuels for a while. Then you have to pass right by a line of parked cars, which do not merely block the scenery; some are belching hot exhaust at you from noisy air conditioners. You must also walk close within mere feet of deadly fast steel machines spewing carcinogenic fumes at you and your child. I know that, while driving through streets with my windows down, ac up and radio on, I am blissfully unaware of the damage I am wreaking on my neighborhood. Please wake up, before it's too late to save ourselves, and ditch the fossil-fuel wheelchairs. They are quite literally killing us.
Jim July 25, 2012 at 06:21 PM
Oh my goodness, Natalie. In case you have not noticed, we live in a large metro area. If not cars, what? Horses? maybe you and your toddler would like stepping in horse manure everywhere. Or perhaps in Dicken's London with people throwing their excrement out of windows. Fortunately there is a solution for you. Move to a rural area, grow your own food, walk everywhere, wash your clothes on a rock in the creek. I am sure that folks there drive only when absolutely necessary unlike the natives here who drive just for fun and park to obscure your view of the scenery. Barbarians!!!
Natalie Watson July 25, 2012 at 06:32 PM
I do understand where you are coming from, Jim. I too want to live in a vibrant, diverse urban area with plenty of art and culture. It is possible to build multi-use, dense and enjoyable cities that do not require their citizens to drive for daily activities- just look at European cities like Copenhagen and Amsterdam. There are also the issues of peak oil, climate change, deteriorating public health, and the decline of community, all intimately intertwined with our over-dependence on cars. Let's keep the conversation going! How can we Evanstonians reduce our dependence on driving?
Jim July 25, 2012 at 06:49 PM
Gas at $10/Gallon would do it. trouble is that would kill off the economy and people would starve. I suspect that time is the culprit. Metro life is complex and expensive, two parents working to make a go nof it and no time to get everything done. While I was being somewhat mean spirited in my comment to you, smaller towns are more "livable". I would suggest that once any organization gets over a certain critical size, it cannot be "managed". Malthus knew it. Once population density reaches a certain point, problems accelerate and multiply, in this case, traffic and pollution. And I would bet that as we speak there is a quiet movement to rural areas. The press, of course, will miss that trend until the cities have shrunk and I doubt that people like you and me will be the ones left behind.
Natalie Watson July 25, 2012 at 07:17 PM
The world is actually urbanizing at a rapid rate: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urbanization While it is true that any situation, once it gains sufficient complexity, cannot be "managed", it is also true that as cities increase in density and walkability, efficient public transportation becomes more viable. When a variety of daily needs are near each other, and streets are pleasant, people often choose to walk. This is good for cities and people in so many ways I cannot go into them here. Read "The Death and Life of Great American Cities" by Jane Jacobs for an insightful take on these issues.
Jim July 25, 2012 at 08:03 PM
http://www.treehugger.com/economics/exurbs-are-growing-faster-everything-else.html
jkerr July 25, 2012 at 08:26 PM
My biggest gripe about pedestrian safety in Evanston is the the volume of Northwestern students dashing and darting across Sheridan Road, frequently while talking/texting or listening to music on their PDAs. For safety's sake, has the city and/or university ever considered a pedestrian overpass or tunnel?
annie July 25, 2012 at 10:32 PM
I am a pedestrian, and I am a motorist. I am not a bicyclist. As a pedestrian, I try to watch out for cars when I am walking. For example, I use the crosswalks at stoplights, I do not walk between parked cars. As a motorist, I try to watch out for pedestrians when I am driving. As for people riding their bikes, I don't know what rules they follow. In the course of 3 days, in Evanston, I counted how many bike riders (kids/young adults/people over 40) stopped their bikes at stop signs. Answer : ZERO. The state crosswalks don't bother me and if I see someone who wants to cross the street standing there, waiting for me to stop, I definitely stop. What does bother me, are the people who don't bother looking before they walk, and then there they are, sauntering along 10 feet in front of a moving car. Common sense 101? Does it exist?
annie July 25, 2012 at 10:33 PM
As far as the city holding seminars about pedestrian safety, its a great idea. If there wasn't a need, they would not have done it. Isn't more info better than less info?
annie July 25, 2012 at 10:36 PM
The comment about movie attendence safety is in very poor taste.
millie July 25, 2012 at 11:02 PM
Don't see it.
Jim July 25, 2012 at 11:39 PM
I weigh 185 pounds and walk at 3 mph. A car weighs 3500 pounds and moves at 30 mph. When walking I always yield to the car and do not press my right of way. I teach my children to do the same. Common sense, yes? My point in an earlier comment is that I figured that out all by myself and really do not need to waste city time and money to point out what is self evident.

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