The new protected bike lane on Dodge Avenue is proving to be unpopular in the community and with some aldermen.                       RoundTable photo

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The protected bike lane on Dodge Avenue between Church and Howard streets drew criticism from about a dozen residents at the July 25 City Council meeting, resulting in a promise from Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl to make things better.

During the citizen comment portion of the Council meeting, it became immediately apparent that the bike lane was a major source of complaints in the neighborhood. “There isn’t one person that’s happy” with the new configuration, said speaker Sheila Brand.

The protected bike lane allows bicyclists to ride between parked cars and the curb, with white posts separating cars from the bike lane. The City has added these protected lanes at several places in Evanston, most visibly on Church and Davis streets in the heart of downtown. The addition of such lanes farther west stirred controversy when plans were introduced in 2014.

At that time, in September 2014, Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, proposed more traditional bike lanes, in part to preserve parking spaces lost in the protected bike lane plan. Council voted narrowly, 5-4, to reject traditional lanes, then 6-3 to accept the protected bike lanes.

Now that the protected bike lanes have been completed, the neighbors have come out in force against them. Ms. Brand recounted a time when a fire truck could not get down Dodge Avenue because parked cars blocked the way. There is just not enough room for emergency vehicles, she said.

One resident said, “We are at risk. … And feel marginalized and disrespected. You have put us at risk. … Do something.”

Another speaker called the bike lanes a “menace to traffic, to drivers, to pedestrians, to emergency vehicles.”

“Don’t curse another neighborhood with protected bike lanes on arterial streets,” said resident Leo Sherman. Others called the bike lanes “an accident waiting to happen,” with several recounting near misses particularly at the intersection of Kirk Street and Dodge Avenue, across from the Levy Center and James Park.

Alderman Ann Rainey, whose 8th Ward includes the Kirk-Dodge intersection and who voted against the protected bike lane in 2014, said at call of the wards, “The bike lanes on Dodge are definitely a mistake. It’s just horrendous. I agree with every single comment made [by residents at citizen comment].”

She called for the lanes to be undone. “I realize that to undo it is going to cost a lot of money, but it’s worth it,” she said.

Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl agreed, saying that something needed to be done “before school starts.” The safety of kids walking to school was mentioned by several speakers.

Ironically, in 2014, the safety of kids biking to Evanston Township High School was cited as a major reason for the protected lanes. Sometimes, said Ald. Rainey, the City does not realize the true impact of a decision until after the project has been completed.

 

Community Members Invited to Participate in Dodge Avenue Protected Bike Lane Ride July 28

Submitted by the City of Evanston

 Evanston bicyclists of all ages are invited to join Wheel & Sprocket and Bucephalus Bikes for a tour of the City’s new Dodge Avenue Protected Bike Lane on Thursday, July 28.

The free, 4-mile guided ride will begin at 6:45 p.m. at the Church Street and Dodge Avenue Divvy Bike station, traveling south on Dodge Avenue to the Levy Senior Center before returning north to the starting point. Bicyclists will get to experience the City’s newest bike infrastructure while also receiving tips for safe riding.

Participants should meet at the Church Street and Dodge Avenue Divvy Bike Station at 6:45 p.m., or at 6:30 p.m. at Wheel & Sprocket, 1027 Davis St. Prior to 6 p.m., Bucephalus Bikes, at 1424 Lake St., and Wheel & Sprocket will be providing free bike safety checks and tire pump-ups at their respective locations.

All participants must provide their own bicycle, or may rent one from the Divvy Station. Divvy pricing information can be found atdivvybikes.com/pricing. All riders are strongly encouraged to wear a helmet; helmets are required for those under the age of 18.

Community members can learn more about the Divvy Bike Share program and receive a special summer discount code for a $75 Divvy annual membership by stopping by the Church Street and Dodge Avenue Divvy station this afternoon, Wednesday, July 27, between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.

For more information, please call/text 847-448-4311. For convenience, residents may simply dial 3-1-1 in Evanston.

 

Submitted by the City of Evanston

 Evanston bicyclists of all ages are invited to join Wheel & Sprocket and Bucephalus Bikes for a tour of the City’s new Dodge Avenue Protected Bike Lane on Thursday, July 28.

The free, 4-mile guided ride will begin at 6:45 p.m. at the Church Street and Dodge Avenue Divvy Bike station, traveling south on Dodge Avenue to the Levy Senior Center before returning north to the starting point. Bicyclists will get to experience the City’s newest bike infrastructure while also receiving tips for safe riding.

Participants should meet at the Church Street and Dodge Avenue Divvy Bike Station at 6:45 p.m., or at 6:30 p.m. at Wheel & Sprocket, 1027 Davis St. Prior to 6 p.m., Bucephalus Bikes, at 1424 Lake St., and Wheel & Sprocket will be providing free bike safety checks and tire pump-ups at their respective locations.

All participants must provide their own bicycle, or may rent one from the Divvy Station. Divvy pricing information can be found atdivvybikes.com/pricing. All riders are strongly encouraged to wear a helmet; helmets are required for those under the age of 18.

Community members can learn more about the Divvy Bike Share program and receive a special summer discount code for a $75 Divvy annual membership by stopping by the Church Street and Dodge Avenue Divvy station this afternoon, Wednesday, July 27, between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.

For more information, please call/text 847-448-4311. For convenience, residents may simply dial 3-1-1 in Evanston.

Submitted by the City of Evanston

 Evanston bicyclists of all ages are invited to join Wheel & Sprocket and Bucephalus Bikes for a tour of the City’s new Dodge Avenue Protected Bike Lane on Thursday, July 28.

The free, 4-mile guided ride will begin at 6:45 p.m. at the Church Street and Dodge Avenue Divvy Bike station, traveling south on Dodge Avenue to the Levy Senior Center before returning north to the starting point. Bicyclists will get to experience the City’s newest bike infrastructure while also receiving tips for safe riding.

Participants should meet at the Church Street and Dodge Avenue Divvy Bike Station at 6:45 p.m., or at 6:30 p.m. at Wheel & Sprocket, 1027 Davis St. Prior to 6 p.m., Bucephalus Bikes, at 1424 Lake St., and Wheel & Sprocket will be providing free bike safety checks and tire pump-ups at their respective locations.

All participants must provide their own bicycle, or may rent one from the Divvy Station. Divvy pricing information can be found atdivvybikes.com/pricing. All riders are strongly encouraged to wear a helmet; helmets are required for those under the age of 18.

Community members can learn more about the Divvy Bike Share program and receive a special summer discount code for a $75 Divvy annual membership by stopping by the Church Street and Dodge Avenue Divvy station this afternoon, Wednesday, July 27, between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.

For more information, please call/text 847-448-4311. For convenience, residents may simply dial 3-1-1 in Evanston.