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home : columns : columns June 24, 2016

2/13/2013 3:45:00 PM
The Traffic Guy hears ...
This decorative squid, above, on a Baltimore curb, advises would-be trashers that whatever goes down the drain will end up in the Chesapeake Bay.RoundTable photo
This decorative squid, above, on a Baltimore curb, advises would-be trashers that whatever goes down the drain will end up in the Chesapeake Bay.
RoundTable photo

…that last week’s snowfall yielded a few good snowfolks.

Don’t forget that the City mandates that residents clear ice and snow from their sidewalks, use salt or sand when necessary and help the disabled and frail elderly with these tasks.

… that the City de-ices streets using Geomelt, a commercial product that is composed partly of beet juice, so though it looks like dirty brown dishwater – it’s green ... or at least greener dishwater. Geomelt has dissolved and the company is now called Beet 55.

… that the City has extended for one year its contract with Wirfs Industries for the annual maintenance of heavy fire apparatus vehicles. This is a good thing, because last year the Fire and Life Safety Services responded to 9,330 calls for service, which resulted in 19,997 fire department apparatus responses for the year. Fire Chief Greg Klaiber said that is the highest total call volume in the department’s history.

… that City Council approved a contract with Standard Equipment Company to inspect, overhaul and maintain one of its street-sweepers. The cost is nearly $24,000. Let’s hope the maintenance includes correcting whatever it is that leaves behind a trail of water and debris, making the streets – at least in the RT area – look dirtier than before.

… that, speaking of the RT neighborhood, the City will “modernize and interconnect” four traffic signals on Dempster Street at the intersection of Fowler Avenue, Hartrey Avenue, Shopping Plaza Drive and Dodge Avenue. It will also coordinate with the traffic signals at Asbury and at Ridge. Most of the cost will be covered by a federal CMAQ (Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement) grant of about $800,000. The City will kick in $70,000 - $10,000 from West Evanston TIF funds and $60,000 from the capital improvement program.

… that, speaking of contracts, the City has renewed contracts with OTIS Elevator Corp. to service its elevators at the Civic Center, the Service Center, and the Maple Avenue and the Church Street parking garages. The cost, $67,398.12, is the same as last year. Now, for the Sherman Plaza garage, the cost for service and maintenance is $37,950.24, a 3 percent increase over last year.

… that now the City can issue citations for violations not only of the City vehicle code but also of the State of Illinois vehicle code. Wonder if Evanston gets to keep all the money or if it has to give back some to the State. Could we delay our remittance, if there is any, for as long as the State seems to be delaying its remittances to City, School Districts and not-for-profits?

… that a boxing studio may be coming to Main Street near Sherman Avenue.

… that the City won a small reprieve in Nuccio v. City of Evanston (the “Beavers Donuts Case”), in that the judge agreed with the City that the lawsuit was “not ripe for review,” so the plaintiffs have 60 days to file an amended complaint. Readers may recall that this is a challenge to the City’s food truck ordinance, which requires that food truck vendors also have a “real” restaurant presence in Evanston. TG thinks that this City ordinance will go by the way, just as the taxi ordinance did a few years ago. Some may remember that only taxi companies with a “bricks and mortar” presence in Evanston were allowed to pick up Evanston residents (unless specifically called), but now cabs from all over, without a dispatch service here, can be seen on our fair streets.

… that the City has received a grant of $580,000 to rehab the trail through the 17-acres Ladd Arboretum. This is an Illinois Department of Transportation grant, through the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program (ITEP). ITEP requires a match for its grants, and the City’s portion will be $145,000. The first tree in the Arboretum, which sits on land leased from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, was planted in 1960. The single trail through the Arboretum is used by bicyclers and pedestrians, including kids going to and from Haven and Kingsley.

… that among those who are unhappy with the U.S. Postal System’s decision to discontinue Saturday mail service is Evanston’s Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky. She said the reduction in delivery service “will negatively impact Americans who rely on Saturday delivery – primarily those who use it the most, including the elderly, the poor, rural communities and businesses – especially small businesses, which contribute so much to our nation’s economy.”

… that two lanes of Davis Street were closed for a time on Tuesday while the Timm T. Martin Company erected structural steel on the main roof of the building project at 614 Davis St.

… that Ward Eight, the new bar/eatery on Howard Street has been nominated as a “Best New Bar” for Time Out Chicago’s 2013 Eat Out awards.

… that the City reports that Evanston-pumped and -processed water was highlighted on WBEZ radio last week. Water from Lake Zurich, Hawthorne Woods, Lakeview, Skokie and Schaumberg was taste-tested, and Skokie water – supplied by Evanston – was rated the best-tasting.

… that Purple Line weekday express service to the loop will be interrupted March 4-8 and again April 29 – May 3 as crews work on the Wells Street bridge. Purple Line riders will have to transfer to the Red Line at Howard Street at those times, or, as the CTA suggests, “consider alternative transportation.”

The Traffic Guy thinks …

… that, with all the emphasis on water, the City should make the drains that are inset into curbs a bit classier. Here’s a pic of one in Baltimore, advising folks that whatever they pour down that drain will end up in the Chesapeake Bay. Maybe as part of the 150 celebration, artists can adorn the sidewalks/curbs around Evanston’s drain insets.







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