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November 17, 2017

11/1/2017 3:39:00 PM
The Traffic Guy hears ...
The two-way Sheridan Road bike lane from Davis to Lincoln is complete.RoundTable photo
The two-way Sheridan Road bike lane from Davis to Lincoln is complete.
RoundTable photo

… that the RoundTable’s front page headline last issue seems to have christened a new street in Evanston: Clark Beach Street.

...  that the Evanston Police Department reports that so far this year there have been 20 traffic crashes at the intersection of Ridge and Greenleaf; five years ago there were 12. According to the police, there have been a lot of citizen complaints about aggressive driving and distracted driving along Ridge between Davis and Greenleaf. Members of the EPD’s Traffic Unit will be using an “educational and enforcement-based effort” to address this uptick in crashes and careless and heedless driving. Readers should watch for signs, drive carefully, and expect permanent solutions in a few months or so.

… that Fall Back Day is Nov. 5, saving everyone’s tempers by giving an extra hour of sleep. The following  Friday, Nov. 10, is a furlough day, so City offices will be closed, saving taxpayers a bit of money.

… that, speaking of November, it’s time to register vehicles for the year. By now everyone knows that window-stickers are passé in Evanston; here one pays a wheel tax, and compliance is verified by license-plate-recognition technology (LPR). LPR stores the license plates of all vehicles registered to an Evanston address, so now scofflaws are caught by high-tech means, not the low-tech way of having a police officer try to decipher a vehicle sticker through a not-always clear window. The fee is $75 for a passenger car. Residents can pay the wheel tax at the City Collector’s Office in the Morton Civic Center, the Levy Center, Fleetwood-Jourdain, and some currency exchanges. The deadline is Dec. 31, and a penalty may be tacked on to late registrations. There are some discounts for seniors and others. These can be checked out at cityofevanston.org/wheeltax or by calling 311.

… that on Saturday folks with tickets to the Evanston History Center’s event will get a narrated tour through the history of railroads, street railways, electric lines, and the electric interurban that served Evanston over the years, riding a CTA train of “vintage” 1970s equipment.  

… that GasBuddy reports that retail gas prices in the Chicago area fell more than 7 cents per gallon in early October. Even so, the average price of $2.59 per gallon was 9.5 cents per gallon higher than the same day (Oct. 9) in 2016 but 22 cents lower per gallon than a month ago. GasBuddy surveys 1,437 gas outlets in Chicago each day.

… that Phase 2 of the Sheridan Road construction project is complete, with resurfacing, pavement markings, and, of course, the two-way bike lane from Davis to Lincoln. The project is shut down for the winter, and next spring the final phase – Lincoln to Isabella – will begin.

From our readers. We have the best readers, and they have the best words.

TG: Curious to know if you have any intel on the construction project at the intersection of Asbury and Oakton. I cross this intersection every day on my way to work and have noticed for every new development, there appears to be another issue which surfaces. Keeping Murphy’s Law in mind, is there going to be an end to the construction project?  – Jeremy Yonan

From TG: That’s a great question, Mr. Yonan. The resurfacing of Asbury between Howard and Oakton was not a City project but one of the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), using Arrow Road Construction of Mount Prospect as the contractor. According to the City, the project involved replacing curbs as needed, installing accessible ADA ramps at the intersections, repairing the roadway base, replacing the asphalt surface, and striping the new street segment. Just north of Oakton, crews were also resurfacing South Boulevard.

Dear TG: I continue to read your criticisms of the bike lanes on Dodge and your on-going complaints are getting tiresome. You are placing all the burden for safety on the bikers, without sharing the onus for safety with drivers. As an avid biker, I encourage you to look holistically at the problems:
• “careless and arrogant bikers who blow through stop signs and stoplights” – I see cars doing the same all over town while I ride my bike. Why aren’t you complaining about them?
• “do not wear helmets” – Agree, but who is this putting in danger besides themselves? This isn’t nearly as dangerous as all the drivers I see on their phones talking and texting.
• “Go the wrong way on bike lanes” – I agree, not good, but not nearly as dangerous as all the car drivers I see speeding down my street.  – Andrew Schwarz

From TG: You are of course right, Mr. Schwarz. Street safety is not a zero-sum game; the responsibility must be shared. TG has no use for cars whose drivers blow through stop signs, speed on residential streets or in school zones, talk on the phone, or text when they should be paying attention. TG disagrees somewhat with your characterization about wearing a helmet. While not wearing a helmet puts a biker in danger, it also risks harm to those who care about the biker and do not want to see him or her with a cracked skull.

TG: Here is my reply to Andrew Schwarz: The difference between drivers blowing through stop signs and bicyclists blowing through stop signs is that theoretically, the police can issue tickets to drivers who violate the law. Additionally, when a cyclist blows through a stop sign, guess who’s going to suffer more injuries if a driver decides to blow through the same stop sign at the same time? I’ve never seen a cyclist issued a ticket, even when he’s driving the wrong way down the middle of a one-way street, or when cyclists ride side by side down the middle of the street, or when they’re distracted by texting or talking on their cellphones. It seems like bicyclists expect to be able to do whatever they want while drivers (and pedestrians) are expected to watch out for them. And apparently the police agree.   – Kathy Kovacic

From TG: As above, the point is to drive or bike safely and courteously.

The Traffic Guy thinks …
… that, since it has happened more than once that snow has fallen here in mid-autumn, it may be a good idea to review the City’s snow-parking regulations. One can memorize them, look them up on the City’s website, sign up for text reminders, or follow TG’s simple rule: Heed the signs. A sign that says “No Parking 9-4” or something like that means that cars parked on that street at 3 in the afternoon – no matter how pristine it seems – will be towed. Speaking of “towed,” maybe that’s the icon the City could use for parking signage: a giant toad.
(Your car will be TOAD, Towed Off And Dropped).





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