Friday, August 22, 2014

Traffic In Edgewater revisited

[Reply to a post in Streetsblog]

Traffic in Edgewater must be considered as a whole community. Treating traffic only on Ridge will raise the hackles of community members along the other routes. It means dealing with traffic on Sheridan, Broadway, Ridge, Hollywood, Peterson and north bound Ridge.

There are only two grand solutions to traffic in Edgewater and the second forces the issue on the first.
The best solution likely is extending LSD north to Evanston. My preferred solution is the Proppe & Green version. . The standard cynical reply is that the lakefront owners will not approve. First I don't believe that and second it is not their decision to make. The lakefront is a City/State/National/Planetary treasure. Many more people have a stake in its use than a few people that live there along Sheridan Road.

The second solution is to just do it. All of the roads mentioned above, except possibly northbound Ridge are candidates for road diets. And here's the little known reality about all the non-Edgewater traffic that uses those roads. The corner of Sheridan and Hollyoood, the entry/exit of LSD, is a bottleneck. That is the limiting factor for the amount of traffic that can pass through Edgewater. Making roads wider will not increase the flow. And likewise, a lot of roads can be made narrower without decreasing the flow through Edgewater either. That is the nature of a bottle-neck.

The extra road space that exists now serves as the bottle that holds the traffic waiting to get through the neighborhood. It is merely temporary parking for folks waiting for the bottle neck to clear for their turn to get through. Why not have them wait in another neighborhood, like their own? You know the lights on ramps onto expressways that make you wait your turn during high traffic? Well in essence narrowing the Edgewater roads would serve the same function.

But even squeezing out the excess cars during rush hour still will not reduce traffic enough for returning the neighborhood to a reasonably pedestrian friendly one. For that we need to just say NO. For that the neighborhood needs to size the streets to appropriate sizes needed for a typical Chicago city neighborhood. If there are screams from the through riding outsiders , especially the north shore sub-urbanites, then they can go find the money to fund the win-win solution for us all, the two-lane each way LSD extension in the lake.