Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


Advertisement
Email Newsletter

Sign up to receive our email newsletter in your inbox.



Advertisement

Advertisement

Evanston Considers Ridge Avenue Renovations

By Megan CrepeauThe Daily Northwestern

The problems with Ridge Avenue – potholes, congestion, accidents – got more personal for Evanston residents Steve and Judi Friedman two weeks ago.

A car sped over the low curb of the Friedmans’ house on the 700 block of Ridge and smashed into their porch – or as Steve Friedman put it, “Our house jumped into the street and ran into a car.”

The road’s congestion and poor quality have led to several accidents on Ridge between Howard and Lyons streets over the past several years.

Now, in an effort to relieve traffic congestion, the city plans to repave areas with potholes, renovate crosswalks and install a relief sewer to prevent floods during rainstorms.

“It was a good road when it was built, but that was a long time ago,” John Burke, Evanston’s director of transportation, told about 30 Evanston residents at a meeting Tuesday night.

No construction has occurred on Ridge since 1969.

“The surface of the road stinks,” said Evanston resident Vito Brugliera, McCormick ’55.

Although Illinois handed control of the project over to the city, the construction will be financed by state and federal grants.

Last fall, Evanston hired Civiltech, a civil engineering consulting firm based in the northwest suburbs, to plan and conduct the construction effort.

The narrow lanes make the excessive congestion even worse.

Civiltech estimates that between 16,000 and 22,000 cars drive on the road between Howard and Lyons streets each day, a number that the firm said is too much for the road to handle.

The city has already started to modernize traffic signals along Ridge, an effort that will be completed by the end of the summer.

In addition, a new storm sewer will redirect water on Ridge to prevent flooding of homes located along the street.

Plans to repave sections of Ridge have been finalized by the city and are awaiting state approval.

If all goes smoothly, construction on the road will start next spring, Burke said.

Civiltech consultant Bob Andres said he hopes the new improvements will allow Ridge to serve drivers for the next 15 to 20 years.

Most Evanston residents present at the meeting supported the proposal.

“It hasn’t been paved in 40 years,” Evanston resident Bill Arndt said. “It’s full of holes. It’s a disaster.”

Past complaints about the proposals have centered mainly around the type of street lights built along the road.

Some residents also suggested turning Ridge into a three-lane street, with wider lanes for each direction and a middle turning lane.

But Civiltech’s Andres said doing so would make the street’s congestion even worse.

Meanwhile, widening the road itself would violate regulations for historical districts.

But Evanston resident Peter Kamberos said he was solidly in favor of improvements on Ridge, no matter the cost.

“My dog has a hard time going over that road,” he said. “Even if (the construction) is disruptive, it’s not going to make any difference. The road needs to be improved.”

Reach Megan Crepeau at [email protected].

More to Discover
Activate Search
Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881
Evanston Considers Ridge Avenue Renovations