Davis Street construction nears completion, 4th Ward alderman says

Paige Leskin, Reporter

Ald. Donald Wilson (4th) reassured residents Wednesday night that “disruptive” Davis Street construction is close to completion.

Weather permitting, Davis Street construction should finish by Nov. 16, projected Rajeev Dahal, the city’s senior traffic engineer.

In front of 20 constituents at the McGaw YMCA, 1000 Grove St., Wilson acknowledged the construction project has posed a pedestrian safety hazard and hurt businesses. To reverse the economic trend, he encouraged people to continue shopping and dining in the area.

“Do your best to patronize the businesses,” he said. “They’ve always been there for us.”

The second meeting of the year was conducted as a Q-and-A. Wilson let residents cut in with questions about specific initiatives as he discussed issues concerning the 4th Ward and the city in general. Besides road construction, residents asked additional questions on the city’s pedestrian safety efforts.

Resident Philip Bashook said he was particularly concerned about the inadequate enforcement of the city ordinance that prohibits riding bikes on sidewalks. The issue also came up at a recent senior citizen meeting Bashook attended, during which people called out Northwestern students for making the streets “very dangerous.”

“On campus, students can ride their bikes on the sidewalk, so the assumption is they can ride in town,” he said. “The school needs to say something about where that boundary is.”

City code calls for a $15 penalty for violating the law, but Wilson said there have been reservations in enforcing the tickets. He said people are scared to get into accidents by riding on the streets because bike-only lanes are not in place yet. He advised residents to kindly remind violators to follow the rule.

“Little steps are better than no steps,” he said.

Downtown Evanston spokesman Matt DiNello named each of the new businesses that have opened or relocated in Evanston over the past year. Wilson called the extensive list proof that the city’s economy is improving.

Throughout the meeting, Wilson stressed the importance of feedback from the Evanston community in making the best enhancements to the city.

“We’re being creative to find what seems to be working,” he said.

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