Evanston residents raise concerns about students riding on sidewalks


Daily file photo by Colin Boyle

Ald. Judy Fiske (1st) at a city meeting. Fiske raised concerns about students riding bikes, skateboards and scooters on sidewalks in downtown Evanston.

Alan Perez, Campus Editor

Evanston officials and residents raised concerns about students riding bikes, skateboards and scooters on sidewalks in downtown Evanston at a Tuesday Northwestern University-City Committee meeting.

“They’re called side-walk,” said Ald. Judy Fiske (1st). “Side-drive is not okay.”

Fiske asked officials representing the University to move beyond emails and remind students about bike lanes in a way “that really speaks to the issue.” Others in the room said a congested sidewalk could be dangerous for fast-moving vehicles, such as bikes and skateboards.

The Sheridan Road bike lane was completed in 2017 after years of slow progress due to Illinois’ two-year budget crisis. The 2016 death of Weinberg freshman Chuyuan “Chu” Qiu in a biking accident led city and University officials to push for the project’s completion.

City and University officials touched on several issues, including construction, housing and parking on Emerson Street. The meeting was administrator Craig Johnson’s first, after he replaced Nim Chinniah as the head of NU’s financial operations.

City officials warned that parking tickets could be issued more often for violations near Emerson Street and Orrington Avenue.

“Sometimes the only way you can get the message across to folks is, ‘Oh by the way, they’re ticketing,’” Fiske said, adding that she hopes NU will stop requesting exceptions to allow families to use the street on move-in day.

Johnson said he will work with Compass Group, NU’s new dining provider, to ensure delivery trucks don’t make stops on the street.

Fiske also said residents have made complaints about loud noise from users of the basketball court near the Foster-Walker Complex. Fiske suggested the University consider taking down a basket at times to make a half-court.

“These are not Northwestern students. These are adults coming from a long way away,” she said. “The noise and the language and activity over there were troubling to the neighbors on the west side (of Orrington).”

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