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Traffic and Parking

Evanston needs a ground-up overhaul to fix traffic and parking congestion.

Evanston has spent untold millions on traffic and parking controls, concrete and asphalt, in  disconnected fashion. Although Evanston has the grid system favored by modern planners over choking cul-de-sac subdivisions, the placement of controls and barriers, and the over-regulation of parking, has more often than not been driven by politics or grant opportunity rather than by a master plan that designates arteries and integrates secondary routes.

The result is an Evanston where it now takes longer to get around by car, in an area that has less public bus and rail service than it did a few decades ago. This is frustrating and unhealthy. Drivers spend inordinate time in traffic, losing valuable time while emitting greenhouse gas as exhaust, waiting for intersections to clear, or circling looking for parking. Slow, stop-and-go traffic is the second most dangerous condition after highways, and crashes have increased in Evanston.

Meanwhile, residents complain of interference with their own neighborhood parking, a plethora of signs amounts to the equivalent of a city that screams at drivers IN ALL CAPS, and Evanston is as famous for its parking tickets as for its restaurants, levying a hidden (and regressive) tax on its own residents (and visitors) on a nickel-and-dime (or $35 and $50) basis. Moreover, while claiming to be "the city that killed the car," millions are spent on major makeovers, to thoroughfares such as Green Bay Road or McCormick Boulevard, that do nothing for bicyclists or, by eliminating a lane, make it even more difficult to bike.

This should not be in a city that hosts one of the preeminent traffic planning schools in the US. Our streets need more planning and less politics.

As mayor I will convene a commission to look at the equity and structure of our parking and traffic fee and fine structure, while urging the Council to begin the process of re-envisioning a smoother-flowing citywide traffic system from the ground up.

On Feb. 28, make a difference and vote for Jeff Smith.

©2017 Jeff Smith. Paid for by in-kind contribution to Jeff Smith for Evanston. A copy of our report is or will be on file with, and available for purchase from, the Illinois State Board of Elections.
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