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Go Evanston, a new grassroots group aiming to improve all forms of transportation, held its kick-off event on April 6 with a promise to push for streets that work for walkers, bicyclists, transit users, and motorists.
“We want Evanston’s streets to be safe and efficient for all, regardless of age, ability, or mode,” said Vickie Jacobsen, spokesperson for Go Evanston. “However you choose to get around, you should be safe.”
The group will take a broad approach to its work. Go Evanston plans to work with City Council members to build support for infrastructure improvements and to expand public transit options. The group also plans to work with the public on how to use streets safely and to encourage people who would love to start biking, walking, and using public transit more, but who are not sure how to start.
“My family walks, bikes, skateboards, and uses a car,” said John Hennelly, one of Go Evanston’s lead organizers. “So we understand the real need to make our streets work better for everyone, and to reduce on-the-road frictions.”
Evanston has a multimodal transportation plan and a bike plan. Both plans aim to reduce congestion, cut carbon emissions, and improve safety. As more families move in, and high-rises go up, the City will be under pressure to put these plans into action.
“We want people to feel comfortable biking and walking,” said Ms. Jacobsen. “If we can encourage people to make more trips by walking, biking and using public transit, it helps everyone – including drivers.”
“I live on Dempster, and in the past few years traffic has backed up in both directions at Dodge and Asbury,” said Me. Hennelly. “It’s clear we need new solutions to traffic.”
Go Evanston is formulating plans to teach children about bicycle and pedestrian safety and to remove barriers to public transit use, especially for older adults and individuals with disabilities.
The group conducted a survey before the kick-off event, and found strong support for infrastructure improvements that emphasize safety, such as protected bike lanes and better intersections. More than 500 people responded to the survey, and over 1,000 people signed a recent petition supporting the Dodge Avenue corridor bike lanes. Hundreds have already joined Go Evanston.
“Evanston is a great place to live. We want it to be even greater,” said Ms. Jacobsen. “By supporting streets that work for everyone, we can keep Evanston on the right track and improve everyone’s quality of life.”