Two accidents at same light take toll on Evanston drivers

Liz Raap

If Evanston motorists weren’t already inconvenienced by the winter weather, ice and irresponsible driving have added more woes at a congested intersection.

Within the last two weeks, traffic signals at Green Bay Road and Emerson Street have gone out twice after being struck by motorists, said Public Works Director David Jennings.

Jennings said that if one of the lights at the three-way intersection goes out, none of the lights will work.

In that case, the intersection becomes a four-way stop with a flashing red light or a fold-down stop sign.

After the first incident two weeks ago, the signals were down for 24 hours, Jennings said. Following the second accident, occurring shortly after the signals’ repair, the signals did not work for about 12 hours, from 2 a.m. to the next afternoon.

Jennings said he did not know the details of the accidents.

Jennings said the already long repair was made increasing difficult because of snow. He estimated each repair cost the city from $2,000 to $2,500.

“The dollars add up,” he said.

Ald. Dennis Drummer (2nd) said he has received many complaints over the years about the intersection. He said the intersection was dangerous and confusing, but placed responsibility on drivers.

“I think the real problem is … everyone drives too fast,” Drummer said. “It’s ‘me first’ on everything.”

Drummer said the city’s traffic engineering department is currently studying ways to make the intersection safer for motorists.

Jennings said the city is open to suggestions but did not feel the two accidents warranted much concern.

“The critical (accidents) are the ones that reduce (the intersection) to a single light visible in any direction,” he said. “We don’t view this as any crisis or need for major investigation.”