Discover Central Street

This will be the home for facts, history, useful links, and other resources relating to Central Street, Evanston.

About Central Street

Central Street, at 2.1 miles end to end, is the longest continuous east-west road in Evanston, Illinois, an important transportation route to the city. Except for a few blocks just east of Westmoreland Country Club, it is a busy thoroughfare from Gross Point Rd. on the west end to Sheridan Road at its eastern terminus, near the historic Grosse Point Lighthouse.

A state highway, Central Street was originally the main road through the Village of North Evanston before that municipality was annexed by Evanston shortly after the Civil War. That explains the name, which otherwise wouldn't make sense for a street so far north in Evanston.

Central Street is the principal route into Evanston for many visitors and employees of the city's two largest employers, Northwestern University and Evanston Hospital. It houses three distinct low-rise business districts. Nevertheless, it is surrounded almost entirely by residential neighborhoods, home to approximately a third of Evanston's population.

Post Office & Shipping

All of the Central Street Neighborhood is in the 60201 ZIP code. We have our own post office, the North Branch of the Evanston Post Office, plus two private shipping depots. All three will rent you a post box or sell you shipping materials. U.S. Postal Service: 1929 Central Street Evanston 60201-2287 Phone: 847-328-6288 Hours: M-F: 9 am-5:30 pm; Sat.: 9 am-2 pm Last pickup: 5:00 on weekdays; 4:30 pm Sat. The UPS Store 2859 Central Street Evanston, IL 60201-1234 Phone: (847) 475-5200 Fax: (847) 475-5226 Hours: M-F: 8:30 am-6 pm; Sat.: 10 am-5 pm Last pickup: 5:30 on weekdays for ground/air; 2 pm Sat. (air only) FedEx/Kinko's 2518 Green Bay Rd Evanston, IL 60201 Phone: (847) 475-8650 Fax: (847) 475-4364 E-mail: usa3605@fedexkinkos.com Hours: M-F: 6 am-10 pm; Sat.: 9 am-9 pm Last pickup: 6 pm M-F (ground); 8 pm weekdays, 4 pm Sat. (express)

Public Transportation

The Central Street Neighborhood has been extremely well-served by frequent, reliable public transportation for decades. From Central Street, you can go almost anywhere — Old Orchard, the Loop, Northbrook Court, O'Hare or Midway — without a car.

CTA System Map (north section)
Download entire CTA System Map

CTA Bus:

CTA Route 201, connecting with Metra and CTA lines, runs the length of Central Street every 15 minutes in weekday rush hours, and every 20 minutes from 9:00-3:00, plus night owl and Saturday service. The comfy buses, well-heated in winter and air-conditioned in summer, usually have plenty of seats. The "northbound" buses go west on Central, out to Old Orchard shopping center. The "southbound" buses go east, then south on Sheridan Road into downtown Evanston, then to Howard St., and eventually turn around at Granville (6200 N.) & Broadway in Edgewater. When on schedule, it's only a 15-minute ride to Davis St. and connections to many area PACE and CTA buses.
Click here to download a Route 201 schedule

CTA Route 205 goes along Golf Rd. from downtown Evanston, then up to Old Orchard and the Cook County Courthouse in Skokie, and back. During peak hours uses Grant Street to go to and from Evanston Township High School. Like 201, this also goes south from the Davis transportation center to Howard St.
Click here to download a Route 205 schedule

CTA Route 206 is the "Evanston Circulator."
Click here to download a Route 206 schedule

Pace Bus:

PACE Route 213 runs in both directions along Green Bay Rd., from Northbrook Court to the Davis Street Station in downtown Evanston, with stops near New Trier High School, Ravinia Festival, and the Chicago Botanic Gardens.
Click here for Route 213 schedules and info.

Basic CTA bus fare is $1.75, which also gives you two transfers within two hours; PACE is $1.50 and transfers are 25¢. Discounts for students and seniors are available, as are monthly passes. The same farecard is good on both bus and the "L."

Metra Rail:

The Union Pacific Railroad operates the former Chicago & Northwestern Railway line that parallels Green Bay Rd. The Central Street stop at Green Bay Rd. is extremely well-used by commuters into Evanston and Chicago; some express trains take only 24 minutes to the Loop. One-way fare to downtown Chicago is about $3, and ten-ride and monthly passes offer discounts to regular riders.
Click here for a schedule of trains stopping at Central St.
Click here to find a fare from Central St. on the Metra Union Pacific North Line

CTA Rail:

The CTA elevated (or "L") Purple Line is a light-rail train that stops at Central Street between the canal and Ridge Rd., right at Evanston Hospital. You can take it north to Wilmette or south to 6 other Evanston stops and then on into Chicago. During peak hours, Purple Line express trains go all the way to downtown Chicago; at other times, you can transfer quickly at Howard Street. Basic rail fare is $2. This is the world's cheapest way to get to either O'Hare or Midway airport.
Click here to download the schedule of CTA trains to/from Central St.

A Century of Light Rail in North Evanston

The year 2008 marks 100 years of service between Central St. and Chicago on what is now the "L." In 1907, the Evanston City Council agreed to let the Northwestern Elevated Railroad Co., one of many entities backed by controversial transit magnate Charles Tyson Yerkes, come into Evanston. The Northwestern Elevated installed overhead electric trolley wires and ran trains from Chicago up to a stop at University Ave. over existing track owned by the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railway. The C.M.&St.P. continued to run a steam commuter train on those tracks, but soon gave up trying to compete with the Chicago & North Western Rwy. line (currently the U.P.R.R. Metra North Line). Back then the tracks and platform were at ground-level, and a condition of the franchise the City Council granted was that the company elevate the lines in south and downtown Evanston by 1910 (they did). Electrified light rail service was extended from University north to Central Street at the current location in May, 1908. However, that portion of the line was not elevated; the platform was at ground level. Passengers could also transfer to the Evanston Electric Railway trolley line that ran from downtown Evanston. In 1912, the Linden stop opened in Wilmette. In 1920, the Evanston City Council ordered the tracks north of University raised; due to financing difficulties in the NERR's successors, that process was delayed 8 years.

Between 1928 and 1931, the existing marble-facade Beaux Arts ticket station (right), designed by Evanston's Arthur Gerber, was built, with the tracks elevated so that cars, buses, and other streetcars could pass underneath. After elevation, the line was converted to third-rail-type electrification rather than overhead wire. CSNA maintains links to all mass transit maps and schedules -- Metra, CTA, and PACE -- on its Public Transportation page. -- Jeff Smith

Legislators

Federal
Sen. Dick Durbin
Phone:(202) 224-2152
Fax:(202) 228-0400
 
Sen. Roland Burris
Phone:(202) 224-2854
Fax:(202) 228-4260
 
Rep. Jan Schakowsky
9th Congressional District
Phone:(202) 225-2111
Fax:(202) 226-6890
Email:jan.schakowsky@mail.house.gov
 
State
Sen. Jeffrey Schoenberg
9th Senate Dist.
Phone:(217) 782-2119
Fax:(217) 782-0715
Email:senator@jschoenberg.org
 
Rep. Robyn Gabel
18th Rep. Dist. (includes all of Evanston east of Ewing)
Phone:(847) 424-9898
Fax: (847) 424-9828
Email: robyn@robyngabel.com
 
Rep. Elizabeth Coulson
17th Rep. Dist. (includes all of Evanston west of Ewing)
Phone:(217) 782-4194
Fax:(217) 782-7613
Email:coulson@earthlink.net