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The Chicago region’s current hub-and-spoke transit system leaves nearly half a million Cook County residents stranded in transit deserts.

Great things happening in Evanston

Recently, the League of American Bicyclists (LAB) released its report on the state of bike commuting in America, and identified Evanston as having the second largest population of bike commuters in the Midwest. 

Currently, 5.25 percent of commuters in Evanston are choosing to ride bikes — a huge leap over the national average of .6 percent or even Chicago’s 1.6 percent. (Keep in mind these numbers do not account for commutes that use more than one travel mode).

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This past Sept., Evanston held its first Shared Streets event. 

Evanston is clearly heading in the right direction given that 37.3 percent of its commuters choose some form of active transportation (biking, walking, or taking pubic transit).

The city has been working hard to get more people to be active on their commutes. To accomplish this, Evanston was the first Chicago suburb to build a protected bike lane, which is located on Church Street, running from Dodge Avenue to Chicago Avenue. The city is also in the final stages of completing its second protected bike lane — this one on Davis Street from Ridge Avenue to Hinman Avenue.

And they aren’t done yet: The city just recently snagged a grant to build their third protected bike lane. Since both the Church and Davis Avenue lanes run east-west, this new lane will go on Dodge Avenue, one of the main north-south roads in the community.

Over the years, Evanston has invested in bike signage, bike lanes, trails through parks, bike parking and linking trails in the surrounding area — all of which foster a safe and welcoming cycling environment for riders of all levels. They also have a bike club that’s been around for more than 25 years!

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Evanston's Director of Public Works Suzette Robinson (left) and Mayor Beth Tisdahl (center) accept an award from Active Trans Executive Director Ron Burke

Evanston also has exciting plans for the future. The city is currently updating its bike plan and will be considering a Complete Streets policy in coming months. In addition, it looks like Evanston will be welcoming the Divvy bike-sharing program to their community sometime in the next year.

In recognition of their hard work, last year the city was named a Silver-level Bike Friendly Community for the second year in a row by the LAB.

To acknowledge all these great achievements, Active Trans recognized the community with a Public Leadership Award at our recent 2013 Awards Reception. Evanston's Mayor Beth Tisdahl and Director of Public Works Suzette Robinson were on hand to accept the award.

Congratulations and keep up the good work, Evanston!