Howard Street Improvement Project

The  Howard‐ST  Project  involves  many  complicated  design  aspects  including  roadway rehabilitation, limited ROW, a road diet, land acquisition, a shared‐use path, among others. The projects implementation targets improving the corridors design, functionality, and safety features. The inclusion of an RRFB crossing at the north branch trail is one such feature.

Background North Branch Trail:

Portions of the North Branch Trail (NBTrail) date back to the days after World War II. Over the years the trail has grown into a mostly paved trail extending for over 20 miles from south of the Caldwell Woods  in Chicago to the Chicago Botanic Gardens in Glencoe. The trail traverses the Village of Niles with at‐ grade and grade separated crossings at Harts Road, Touhy Avenue, Howard Street, and Oakton Street. The NBTrail is surrounded by beautiful native plant and animal wildlife and is a highly popular trial utilized by many cyclists and pedestrians.

Existing Conditions and Corridor Improvements:

The NBTrail at Howard Street crosses 4 lanes of traffic (two eastbound and two westbound lanes). In previous years, the Village has added crosswalk markings and crossing signage in order to highlight the crossing and improve safety. An RRFB project was also planned in previous years, but complications  with guidance and approvals halted the project until additional legislation was provided.

The Village of Niles began construction on the Howard Street Rehabilitation and Bike Path Construction Project (Howard‐ST) in the spring of 2020. The Howard‐ST Project boasts the inclusion of on‐street bike lanes and shared‐use off‐street paths from Milwaukee Avenue to Lehigh Avenue. A road diet is included in the design between approximately east of Waukegan road and west of Caldwell Avenue. The Howard‐ST Project sought to take advantage of the improvements in the area by also improving the NBTrail crossing at Howard Street.

Howard Street Improvement Highlights:

  1. Howard Water Main (and sewer) Project, 2019.
  2. Howard Street Improvement Project, 2020‐2021.
    1. Street improvements including major patching and resurfacing.
    2. Addition of a Dual Left Turn lane.
    3. Residential area road diet section (from Waukegan to west of Caldwell).
    4. Sidewalk improvements and sidewalk infill.
    5. On street and off street bicycle accommodations.
      • On street bike lanes.
      • Protected on street bike lanes (C&G, Precast Curb, Delineators).
      • Off street shared‐use path.
    6. Howard Street at North Branch Trail Crossing Safety Improvements.
      • Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon
      • Decorative High Visibility Cross Walk
      • Raised Median and Refuge Island
      • Improved Signage
    7. Major intersection safety improvements, Howard‐Waukegan.
      • Dedicated left and right turn lane additions.
      • Traffic Signal Modernization
    8. Lighting improvements form Milwaukee to west of the bridge.
    9. Wayfinding Signage.

Diagram: Howard Street at the North Branch Trail Crossing (PDF)

Diagram: Howard Street at Waukegan Road Intersection (PDF)

Click here to learn more about the Howard Street North Branch Trail Crossing with Flashing Beacons.