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The City of Evanston has received a $792,000 Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) Grant for traffic signal modernization along Dempster Street. The grant is part of $411 million in federal transportation programs granted to the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) to support the GO TO 2040 comprehensive regional plan’s goals for reducing congestion and improving air quality in the metropolitan area.

GO TO 2040 is the comprehensive regional plan to help the seven counties and 284 communities plan together for sustainable prosperity through mid-century and beyond. Allocated by CMAP, these funds are made available through the federal CMAQ Improvement Program. Projects were selected and reviewed publicly by CMAP committees made up of transportation experts and stakeholders. The FY2012-16 CMAQ program became official on October 12, 2011 after the CMAP Board and MPO (Metropolitan Planning Organization) Policy Committee voted to approve the projects in a joint meeting.

In Evanston, traffic lights located at Fowler Ave., Hartrey Ave., Shopping Plaza Drive, Dodge Ave., Asbury Ave. and Ridge Ave. will be modernized with this funding. The new signals will improve traffic flow; quicken Pace 250 Arterial Rapid Transit service (From Davis St. to O’Hare), improve pedestrian safety all while reducing car emissions and energy consumption. The total project cost is $990,000 with the CMAQ grant covering 80%. Click here for project map>>>

The Dempster St. corridor, within the project limits, is severely congested and is used by buses, trucks, pedestrians, and bicyclists. The closely spaced intersections cause queuing problems during the morning and evening peak periods. Due to the developments within the corridor, additional right-of-ways are not available and therefore more lanes cannot be added. Capacity analyses show a need for the proposed signal interconnection and optimization of the signal timings.

The project involves signal modernization and interconnection of six signals along Dempster St. with the project including the replacement of outdated controllers, new mast arm poles to provide one traffic signal head per lane, traffic signal equipment, installation of loop detectors and fiber optic interconnect system, and LED lights. Pedestrian countdown signals will also be added at the intersections within the project limits to improve the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists.

Upon the completion of the project it will be ready to provide Transit Signal Priority service to Pace Bus #250. The existing on-street parking will be maintained along all the roads. The interconnection and coordination of the signals will improve the traffic flow and reduce delay within the corridor. The improved traffic flow along the Dempster Street corridor will minimize the stops per vehicle and reduce emissions and increase fuel efficiency. The closely spaced intersections will benefit from signal coordination.

Additionally, the LED traffic signal heads will reduce energy consumption. The installation of pedestrian push buttons will make the intersection operations efficient and reduce delays and will improve pedestrian safety. The installation of traffic signal preemption devices will provide faster access to incidences by emergency response vehicles.

Phase I and II Engineering Design parts of the project are tentatively scheduled to be completed in 2013 and Phase III construction will be in 2014.

The Evanston CMAQ Application can be viewed here>>>