A quick look at bicycling in Evanston


The City of Evanston was recently awarded, for the first time, a Bicycle Friendly Community (Silver) designation by the League of American Bicyclists, based on its application (see the full list of awardees, .pdf). For reference, the City of Chicago has a Silver designation. Applications must be renewed with the organization every 5 years. The application asks questions like “How many government employees (including the Bicycle Program Manager), expressed in full-time equivalents, work on bicycle issues in your community?” and “What are the primary reasons your community has invested in bicycling?” It also asks about the mileage of different types of bikeways the city has as well as the mileage of roads (to calculate a density).

I wanted to know more about bicycling in Evanston, so I looked at the American Community Survey’s “Commuting Characteristics by Sex” table to see how people go to work; I looked at the 2006-2010 5-year estimate which asks different people each year for 5 years and is a representation of the data collected in that time period, and not for a single year. The population size for this table is 36,745 workers aged 16 and older and they can work in or outside Evanston (62.4% work the boundary).


  • All: 2.6% ± 0.6. In Chicago, 1.1% ± 0.1
  • Men: 4.0% ± 0.9. In Chicago, 1.6%, ±0.1
  • Women: 1.2% ± 0.6. In Chicago, 0.6% ±0.1

The shares in Evanston are significantly greater, but so are their margins of error. This is likely because the sample size in Evanston is much smaller than Chicago (1,219,311 workers aged 16 and older).

Other modes
  • Transit: 19.5% ± 1.4
  • Drive alone: 51.9% ± 1.8
  • Carpooled: 6.5% ± 1.0
  • Walked: 11.2% ± 1.4

Chicago has a higher transit share (26.6% ± 0.3), slightly lower drive alone share (50.9% ± 0.3), higher carpool share (10.0% ± 0.2), but a much lower walking share (5.8% ± 0.2)


  • Population: 73,880
  • Bike lanes: about 6.7 miles including the new Church Street cycle track
  • Lake shore path (not including every side path): about 2.2 miles*

The Active Transportation Alliance blog notes that the award will be presented to Evanston City Council on Monday, October 22, at 7 PM.

* This data comes from my personal geodatabase, which contains information I manually digitized from the Evanston city bike map (.pdf).

Update October 21, 2012: Chicago has a silver level designation, not gold. 

A ride on Evanston’s new Church Street cycle track


Looking west. A complementary bike lane going westbound will be built on Davis Street. 

Evanston built its first cycle track this year, on Church Street. It starts at Evanston Township High School, on Church Street and Dodge Avenue, and goes east until Chicago Avenue in the downtown. It’s an interesting and unique piece of infrastructure: a very short portion of the cycle track has a two-way section on the same side of the road, including a part on the sidewalk. It’s very interesting. The cycle track involves one-way, two-way, on-sidewalk, on-street, buffered, and protected designs. This photo tour starts at the high school; all photos are looking east unless otherwise noted.


Two-way sidewalk portion at the high school. It was blocked by garbage bins when I visited. This will eventually connect to a bikeway through Mason Park to a one-way, westbound bike lane on Davis Street. Continue reading A ride on Evanston’s new Church Street cycle track

Grid Shots: Community gardens


The @ward1bike #Twitterbike at a garden. Photo by John Lankford. 

After some debating with John Lankford about this, I gave in to create the Grid Shots theme of “community gardens”. He sent me the first photo to feature (above). The bottom line, that won me over, was that a lot of people bike to their community gardens. I’ve even biked to a community garden myself, with Brandon Gobel and Jana Kinsman, to deliver beehivesContinue reading Grid Shots: Community gardens

Grid Shots: Shiny and new


Post updated April 30, 2012, at 16:01 to add more photos of the new CTA station and new commentary. 

In this edition of Grid Shots, the suburbs of Skokie and Evanston are getting a bit of attention. Transit infrastructure is being built in more places than Chicago. Post updated to feature photos from opening day at Oakton-Skokie Yellow Line station. The Oakton-Skokie Yellow Line station opens on Monday, April 30, 2012. The Chicago Transit Authority will have another station opening in May, at Morgan (at Lake Street) Green and Pink Lines station. First four photos were taken by Jeff Zoline on April 30 and prior.  Continue reading Grid Shots: Shiny and new

Grid Shots: Skyline edition

It’s a mix of cold and warm views of Chicago and Evanston skylines in this edition of Grid Shots.


The Evanston skyline is seen in the background from this view over the Chicago Transit Authority’s Howard yard for Red, Yellow, and Purple Line trains. Photo by Alton Park.


A foggy (or is that haze?) vista of the CTA Green Line taken from Kedzie Avenue. Photo by Ann Fisher.


Another view of the CTA Green Line along Lake Street, but this time from Ashland Avenue. Photo by Eric Pancer.


People swim and sunbathe on the concrete beach along the Lakefront Trail, a view of good times that are just around the corner. Photo by Michelle Stenzel.

Next week’s Grid Shots theme is “Art on the street” (April 8). See the full schedule. Submit your photos for consideration to our Flickr group; tag it with “art”.

This week in CTA news: Changes to Red and Purple line stations plus faster service to airports


The Morse Red Line station would be affected by the CTA’s plan. In the two Modernization scenarios, it would become accessible. Photo by Eric Rogers. 

On Monday and Tuesday, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) held identical meetings about the Red & Purple Modernization Project it started planning (at least with the public) last year. According to the CTA’s website, the project “would help bring the existing transit line into a state of good repair, reduce travel times, improve access to job markets and destinations, and provide improved access to people with disabilities”. The project area is in two areas: on what’s called the North Side Main Line, the four tracks from Belmont to Howard, and on the Purple Line-only tracks from Howard to Linden in Wilmette, Illinois. Continue reading This week in CTA news: Changes to Red and Purple line stations plus faster service to airports