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home : columns : columns April 30, 2016

7/17/2013 4:06:00 PM
The Traffic Guy hears ...
Maybe the mobile hydration station should spend its weekdays along the City’s bike paths and lanes.Photo courtesy of the City of Evanston
Maybe the mobile hydration station should spend its weekdays along the City’s bike paths and lanes.
Photo courtesy of the City of Evanston

… that the Evanston Police Department issued 114 citations during their enhanced enforcement over the Fourth of July weekend: “61 were issued for not wearing a seatbelt, 22 for driving while using a cell phone, eight for excessive speed violations, seven for no proof of insurance, and 11 other minor  traffic violations. Five motorists were physically arrested, three for no valid driver’s license, one for driving on a suspended driver’s license and one motorist was arrested for having an outstanding arrest warrant. No D.U.I. arrests.

… that construction continues at the front of ETHS so everyone must park in the back and use the rear entrances. Word from the high school is that the projects include landscaping, tuckpointing, door replacements and the like.

… that there will soon be a three-way stop at Dewey and Washington.

… that a segment of Poplar between Central and Harrison will have the honorary name “Mary Lou Smith Way.” She operated the Top of the Tracks coffee shop and hub of the world for 25 years in the Metra station there. The Upstairs Café now occupies the spot.… that Fire Station 4 at 1817 Washington St., has reopened after a few weeks of renovations to the kitchen and living quarters.

… that the City is going to spend about $1 million with Duncan Solutions of Milwaukee for the purchase and installation of “parking meters and multi-space pay station technology.” These new meters will take credit cards as well as coins, be capable of operating in at least three of the newer parking formats: pay-and-display, pay-by-space, and/or single-space meter configurations. Let’s hope they will do something about those dreary two-hour limits. By happy coincidence, Professional Account Management, a division of Duncan, has just what we need to follow up: a way to handle the “outsourced portion” of the City’s parking-ticket management and payments. This will help de-clutter the streets.

… that the City will replace the sidewalks on Davis from Oak to Hinman. Here’s what the City has to say about the project: “The original pavers were installed on crushed limestone and sand. These pavers have heaved, sunk and cracked during the extreme weather conditions, causing numerous trip hazards for pedestrians. The City has been replacing defective brick sidewalk with concrete at various locations downtown. This has been well-received by the public.” The City says the streetscape – trash bins, benches and those abominable bollard lights – will “be coordinated with the upcoming replacement of parking meters and installation of pay-and-display devices, based on a public discussion to be held in late July/August.” Folks may already be aware of the water/sewer work in the downtown segment of Davis. After that work has been completed, the street will be resurfaced; curbs will be replaced as needed; ADA-accessible ramps installed at intersections; and the “pavement base stabilized as needed.” There will also be a protected bike lane on the north side of Davis, kind of a sister or companion to the one on Church.

… that the City is going to have to fork over a little more cash – $86,000, or 20 percent of the total increase in the cost of the project – for the Bridge Street bridge re-do. The state will have to increase its share of the cost by $342,000. This is about a $2.3 million project, with an 80-20 percent split between the state and the City. The cost-sharing was already in the works, but the estimated cost from the low bidder was more than $400,000 higher than the engineering company’s estimate.

… that Kenny Construction of Northbrook gets the $1.3 million contract for large-diameter (36-48 inches) sewer rehabilitation on Central Park and on Main, contingent upon the City’s receiving an IEPA loan. The project entails rehabbing nearly a mile (5,365 feet, total, for the two sites) of century-old interceptor sewers. The Central Park project could begin in October of this year and run through next July; on Main Street, the project will run January-July, but the rehab of the sewers in front of Lincoln School will take place between June 15 and July 11, 2014.

… that the Water Department will get 29 more differential pressure transmitters, so all of these will be the same model from the same company. They will control the rate of flow and indicate backwash and surface wash-water during filter washes – information required by the IEPA.

… that, speaking of utilities, Northwestern will pay the City $220 a year for a 50-year easement for a chilled-water-service utility easement under Emerson between Orrington and Sheridan. The City says there are other utilities under Emerson: ComEd and City water mains and sewers.

… that Lamp Concrete Contractors of Schaumburg will get a nearly $1 million contract for street resurfacing as follows: Dewey from Mulford to Kirk; Foster from Maple to Sherman; Hartrey from Howard to the dead end north; McDaniel from Lee to the dead end north; Prairie from Grant to Central; Prospect from Grant to Colfax; Wesley from Foster to dead end north.

… that the CTA has begun the third phase of its track-renewal program; in Evanston, from Lee to Church. To “help remediate slow zones along the line,” it will replace about 6,000 railroad ties that will “extend the life of the [Purple] Line until permanent finding is secured for full Red & Purple Line Modernization.” So here is the work schedule: Sun. – Thurs. through Sept. 26 (except Sept. 2) there will be overnight (9 p.m. – 4:30 a.m.) work. Weekends July 20 – Sept. 22 – day work, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.  Here are the caveats: Trains will operate on a single track at Dempster and Davis stations. There will be noise such as engine noise from diesel track-maintenance equipment, beeping from back-up alarms on some equipment, crunching rock and metal-on-metal hammering. Expect delays to Purple Line service and watch for lane closures and parking restrictions during weekend work.

... that the Autobarn has given the City the use of a blue 2013 Mazda CX5 so staff from the 311 Call Center can answer non-emergency questions around town.. The car will be at the  Farmers’ Market weekly, at the Producemobile at Robert Crown monthly and the Ethnic Arts and the Evanston Lakeshore Arts festivals.

… that the City will sell a few old police vehicles, Crown Victorias and a Chevy Tahoe at a public auction in Bolingbrook.

… that a coyote was seen early in the morning in Twiggs Park recently.

… that probably even the ducks know that this is the wettest year on record so far in Illinois. According to information from state climatologist Jim Angel, “The statewide average precipitation for June 2013 in Illinois was 5.2 inches, which is nearly 1 inch above the 1981-2010 average. It was more than double the June 2012 total of 1.8 inches.” Precipitation statewide January-June was 28.7 inches – 8.9 inches above average and the wettest January–June on record. The statewide average temperature in June was 71.5 degrees, 0.3 degrees below average.

… speaking of climate, the Great Lakes are feeling the change. From 1973 to 2010 Lake Michigan grew 3.3 degrees warmer; winter air temperature warmed by 2.7 percent; and the ice cover was reduced by 77 percent. All this information comes from the Alliance for the Great Lakes. A recent statement from Joel Brammeier, president and CEO of the Alliance, said these warmer temperatures are expected to “cause more frequent and more intense storms – which could damage homes, shorelines and fish and water wildlife habitats; more frequent flooding – which could cause sewer overflows that send untreated sewage pouring into the lakes; harmful algae overgrowth –  especially toxic blue-green algae, during more months of the year; extreme and unpredictable lake-level changes; and the spread of invasive species that previously couldn’t have survived in the Great Lakes.” The Alliance is working with coastal communities to “adapt to some of these coming changes.”

… that, speaking of water, the Utilities Department now has a mobile hydration station (water fountain). It will be used, according to the City, “to help promote Evanston’s tap water as an important community resource. The mobile hydration station was created to make drinking tap water easy and convenient at community events across Evanston. Residents will be able to refill their reusable water bottles with refreshing Evanston tap water for free.”  

… that the United Nations is asking that this year on July 18, the 95th birthday of  Nelson Mandela, people around the world devote 67 minutes of time to helping others, to mark Nelson Mandela International Day and the 67 years Mandela worked for human rights.

From our readers: TG: Do you know why the City, in its infinite wisdom, decided that it needed to prohibit the watching of fireworks from the rooftop of the Maple Avenue garage on July 4? A crude, handmade sign to that effect was posted in the elevator area, which we and dozens of others ignored. After a few minutes, security guards came by and told us all to get off, that the building owner was the City of Evanston, and that it was at their behest that they were enforcing this “rule” and that the police were on their way. What was the point of this “rule”? The people on the roof were just enjoying themselves peacefully.

– Steve Cohen

From TG: TG has requested an answer from the City but so far has received no response. Seems like a mean-spirited thing to do, though.

The Traffic Guy thinks …

… that it was notable that most of the politicians – a great number of whom are said to be liberal – stuck to the right side of the street at the Fourth of July parade.

... that those who are unhappy with the less than state-of-the-art state-of-the-arts in Evanston – the proposed sale of the Clarke mansion, for example – should remember that this is a result of candidates for office in Evanston running unopposed.





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