Traffic Safety in Skokie
The Village of Skokie’s main priority when it comes to transportation is safety. Over the years, the Village has built infrastructure and provided services to improve safety and mobility for all users. The vision and intent of the Village is to improve the quality of life for everyone by enhancing and expanding the multi-modal transportation network. Below are some of the practices we employ to help keep our residents and visitors safe.
RRFB Pedestrian Crossings
RRFB or Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons are pedestrian-activated, high-intensity warning lights that notify drivers when a pedestrian is entering the marked crosswalk. RRFBs are activated by pushing an accessible pedestrian button on each side of the road. Studies by the Federal Highway Administration has shown that RRFBs can reduce crashes up to 47% for pedestrian related accidents. Yielding rates can also increase up to 98%. Currently within the Village there are 3 existing RRFB installations. On Howard street at the Skokie Valley Trail crossing just east of Skokie Boulevard, on Oakton Street near the Skokie Public Library, and on Howard Street at East Prairie Road.
With every transportation project, the Engineering Division uses this opportunity to implement the Village’s Complete Streets Policy. Complete Streets are roads or intersections that are designed to provide accessibility, mobility, and safety to all users of the road regardless of age and abilities. These users include motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians, and public transportation. For more information please visit the Skokie Complete Streets page.
On a yearly basis, the Village identifies sidewalk for replacement that is considered a safety concern. The Village is split into six zones and the program is deployed within one zone annually. The program therefore cycles through the whole Village every six years. For more information on the program please visit the Sidewalks and Curbs page.
Thermoplastic Pavement Marking Maintenance Program
Every year, the Engineering Division conducts thermoplastic pavement marking maintenance. The same material is used to mark crosswalks, stop bars, parking lanes, etc. Traffic Engineering also uses this program to mark new crosswalk locations where a crosswalk is warranted.
PACE and CTA Services
Public Transportation is available throughout the Village and more information on the services can be found using this link.
Bike Routes, Bike Lanes and Multi-Use Paths
Finally, the Village contains many bike routes and bike lanes for bicyclists and multi-use paths for pedestrians, bicyclists and other non-motorized transportation.
The Sculpture Park Trail
The Sculpture Park Trail is a paved multi-use path that connects the Village with both Lincolnwood and Evanston. It runs between McCormick Boulevard and the North Shore Channel and the surrounding area is filled with beautiful native plants and sculptures. The trail serves bicyclists, pedestrians, and a variety of non-motorized users.
The Skokie Valley Trail
The Skokie Valley Trail is a paved multi-use path that stretches from the Village’s southern boundary at Lincoln Avenue north to Dempster Street as well as from Golf Road north to Old Orchard Road. The trail serves pedestrians, bicyclists, and other non-motorized users. The trail also provides easy access to the Skokie Swift Stations at Dempster and Oakton Streets. The Village is currently working towards completion of the Trail between Dempster Street and Golf Road as well as north of Old Orchard Road. The Trail connects with the Old Orchard Multi-Use Path.
Old Orchard Multi-Use Path
The Old Orchard multi-use path is a paved multi-use path that runs along the south side of Old Orchard Road and, when complete, will run between the Cook County Harms Woods Forest Preserve west of Harms Road and Gross Point Road. The segment between Woods Drive and Skokie Boulevard will be completed during the upcoming Old Orchard Road Roadway and Bridge Reconstruction project. The new bridge includes new path over the expressway. The path connects with the Skokie Valley Trail.
Main Street and Howard Street Bike Lanes
On Main Street between Lincoln Avenue and McCormick Boulevard there are marked bike lanes. The bike lanes are a designated portion of the roadway that is identified by signage and pavement markings which separate bicyclists from vehicle traffic. These bike lanes give easy access to The Sculpture Park Trail and the Skokie Valley Trail. The Main Street bike lanes also connect with existing bike routes throughout the village. There are also dedicated bike lanes on Howard Street between Niles Center Road and Hamlin Avenue. East of Hamlin Avenue, the bike lanes become an off-street multi-use path. Like the Main Street bike lanes, the Howard Street bike lanes provide access to the Skokie Valley Trail, Sculpture Park Trail, and other bike routes within the Village. For more information on the Bikeway System Plan and future improvements, please visit the Bicycle Plan page.
How does the Village Respond to Safety Concerns?
When the Village notices or is made aware of a safety concern, Traffic Engineering uses traffic engineering analysis to determine whether there is a speeding, intersection, or other traffic related concern. Signage and existing road conditions can only be changed if warranted after an engineering analysis. Traffic Engineering also coordinates with the Police Department for monitoring and enforcement.
Of course, streets are only as safe as the motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists using them. Here are some best practices to help you stay safe.
- Always wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. The helmet should cover the top of the forehead and should be about 2 inches above the eyebrows. The chin strap should be tight enough to fit one to two fingers between your chin and the strap.
- Wear bright colored clothing, especially at night. Wearing reflective clothing is preferred.
- Obey all traffic signals, signs, and laws. Bicyclists share the same responsibilities as motorists. The State of Illinois Vehicle Code states “Traffic laws apply to persons riding bicycles.”
- Always ride in the same direction as traffic.
- Stay focused, keep your eyes ahead and check your surroundings. Avoid using your phone while bicycling to avoid accidents. Alert pedestrians before passing them on a multi-use path or on sidewalk (where permitted).
- Signal all turns using hand signals. Right turns are signaled by extending your right arm or turning your left arm up in a 90-degree angle. To signal left turns, fully extend your left arm out to your side. To signal you’re stopping, turn your left arm down in a 90-degree angle.
- Use bike lanes where available to separate pedestrian, motorist and bicyclist traffic.
- Do not ride more than two abreast, where appropriate, and ride single file if necessary based on conditions.
- Be alert while riding next to parked cars. If you see a car parking in front of you be ready for the driver to open the door in your path.
- Always wear your seatbelt and ensure everyone in the vehicle has their seatbelts on. Studies have shown that wearing a seatbelt reduces fatal accidents by 60 percent. Car seats and boosters are recommended for children ages 1-13.
- Never drive impaired.
- Stay focused and avoid all distractions. Silence your phone and keep it in your pocket or bag while driving. You must pull over to the side of the road (if permitted) before making a call or sending a text. Even when making a hands-free call, it can still be a distraction and dangerous while driving.
- Yield to pedestrians or bicyclists at marked crosswalks, stop-controlled intersections and signalized intersections. Motorists must always yield to pedestrians. Never pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk. The vehicle may be stopped to allow a user to cross the street.
- Obey all traffic signals, rules and signs. Drive the posted speed limit and drive attentively.
- Be extra observant in school zones and pay special attention to the posted signs. On school days when children are present, speed limits should not exceed 20 mph.
- Per the Illinois Vehicle Code, drivers must stop when a school bus is traveling on a two-lane roadway and is stopped to pick up or drop off kids. The vehicles in all lanes of traffic must stop. Vehicles should stop at least 20 feet from the school bus to allow kids to cross the roadway safely. When a school bus is stopped on a four-lane road with two lanes of the road traveling in the opposite direction, the two lanes traveling in the same direction as the school bus must stop. When a school bus is stopped on a multi-lane one-way road, all vehicles must stop regardless of the number of lanes.
- Share the road. Pay attention where bike lanes are present. When passing a bicyclist, at least three (3) feet of clearance is needed. Otherwise, drivers must wait to pass until they can do so safely.
- Do not honk at pedestrians or bicyclists as it may cause confusion or create an unsafe situation.
- “Drive like your kids live here.”
- Pull over and stop when emergency vehicles are passing you and if passing a stopped emergency vehicle, slow down and give them as much space as you can.
- When using on street parking, use your right hand to open the driver door while also checking behind you for bicyclists or motorists that may be coming from behind you.
Questions? Please contact the Traffic Engineering Division at 847/933-8232.