Evanston, IL

Level: gold
Population: 74,500
Population Density: 9,430/sq. mi.
Pedestrian Plan
Program Website
Contact: Jessica Hyink

Community Highlights

Evanston is designated as a Gold-level community due to its outstanding planning policies, excellent walking mode share, education and encouragement programs, sidewalk coverage, and maintenance practices. Community highlights include:

  • A full-time Transportation and Mobility Coordinator supports projects across the City and ensures that pedestrian needs are captured in ongoing work by the City.
  • Neighborhood plans that do a great job prioritizing pedestrian safety and comfort; and a multi-modal transportation plan that includes solid baseline data, a project prioritization method, and recommendations that focus on infrastructure as well as programs. The city’s Complete Streets policy and ADA transition plan and self-evaluation help ensure that Evanston’s streets are designed for all users. The city has an advisory board that regularly reviews the transition plan and has the chance to update it every three years.
  • Evanston’s Complete and Green Streets Policy commits the City to address the needs of all road users and meet its environmental stewardship goals with its transportation projects. The policy was updated in 2017 to incorporate reporting metrics and a checklist for internal capital improvement projects and private development. Staff use a formalized checklist to ensure that ensure right-of-way projects incorporate pedestrian improvements.
  • The City renewed and re-launched an encouragement program, We’re Out Walking (WOW), a 12-week walking and health education campaign designed to encourage and educate participants on the benefits walking can have for one’s overall health. WOW is a summer long initiative with events targeting all neighborhoods in Evanston.
  • Evanston Streets Alive! is an Open Streets initiative of Citizen’s Greener Evanston. The City of Evanston supported events have two main goals: increase overall levels of active transportation and collectively reimagine and repurpose public spaces.
  • Evanston’s land use policies include lots of tools to promote and maintain pedestrian friendly development. Downtown and business districts clearly require commercial use on the ground-floor and density bonuses reward the installation of numerous public benefits, including below-grade parking and plazas for public use.
  • In addition to excellent sidewalk coverage, the city has detailed inventories for sidewalks and curb ramps; and has made great progress repairing these elements to ADA standards.