Evanston begins ‘shared streets’ initiative for safer roadways

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EVANSTON, Ill. – A pilot program that aims to make roadways safer in Evanston for drivers, cyclists and runners hit the ground running on Monday.

Over the next month, Greenleaf Street will be a ‘shared street’ which means slower driving and access only for cars headed to their destination on the block. The blocked-off path will span the entire length of Greenleaf Street from McDaniel Avenue to Lake Shore Boulevard.

The city says the initiative comes amid an increase of bicycles and runners on the roadway, many of which are still working from home due to the pandemic.

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During the pilot program, the city will place “local access only” signs at major intersections and “slow down, share the road” signs at minor intersections, Evanston Now reports. Numerous barricades will also alert drivers.

“We’ve actually had this request for a type of program like this for the last couple of years now,” said Lara Biggs, an engineer with the City of Evanston. “The pandemic elevated that type of request. But it took some thought. We wanted to make sure what we doing was something that was going to be safe and meet the expectations of residents. It just took a while to put together.”

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The pilot program is expected to run through Monday, Aug. 16.

If deemed successful, Evanston could make several other streets shared roadways in the coming year.

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