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home : columns : columns May 27, 2016

10/9/2013 5:18:00 PM
The Traffic Guy hears ...

… that construction on Davis Street continues to irk just about everyone. 

“I know our intentions are good, but I believe the mess on Davis Street is a crime. ...” said Ald. Ann Rainey. “I want to support this... [but] I don’t know what we’re going to dig up next.”

… this is Fire Prevention week, so designated because of the two great fires of Oct. 8, 1871: the Great Chicago Fire, which destroyed much property and jumped the river but had few fatalities, and the even greater fire of Peshtigo, Wis. It is said to have killed more people than any other fire in the history of this country – possibly as many as 2,500 dead and 1.2 million acres burned. Here is a quote from Everett Rosenfeld’s post on June 8, 2011, in TIME lists (this one a list of “great” fires): “Although no direct cause was ever conclusively determined, prolonged drought and high temperatures in the Upper Midwest led to fire-prone conditions. Additionally, the introduction of extensive farming, logging and industrial practices in the area made for large clearings and increased the likelihood of sparks. Whatever the cause, much of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan were engulfed in firestorms – fires so strong they create their own wind systems and become tornado-like columns. At one point the roaring blaze reportedly jumped several miles over the waters of Green Bay.” In addition to knowing that bit of history, it’s important to know that fire alarms, radon detectors and other safety measure in the home are in working order.

… that the City will purchase 250 trees from the Suburban Tree Consortium (STC), outsourcing the planting of 100 of them to STC and using City crews to plant the rest. The City’s “I Heart Evanston Trees” fundraising campaign in conjunction with its “Replant Express” will contribute some of the $80,000 cost.

… that the City will contract with West Side Tractor Sales Company of Wauconda for $33,000 of repairs to its front-end loader vehicle. The front-loader, according to the City is “an integral piece of equipment” on the streets of Evanston. Probably everyone has seen it in one place or another, since it’s used for repairing streets and alleys, loading up leaves in the fall and salt trucks in the winter and removing snow in the business districts. The repairs could extend the life of the front-loader by three or four years, according to the City. Speaking of snow, the City is considering increasing the fee for towing during snow emergencies.

… that the City will sell a few “surplus” (that is, out-of-service) vehicles at public auction with Manheim Auction Service of Bolingbrook: a Ford Crown Victoria, two Chevy trucks, two Ford trucks and a Dodge Ram truck.

From our readers: TG: I’m sending you this out of total frustration with the City.

I’m enclosing the petition that we sent to Jane Grover about the cars/trucks that speed through my alley. I’m also enclosing the petition that we sent in June 2012. And I’m enclosing copies of some photos I sent to Jane Grover.

If you’re interested in hearing more about this, or seeing my alley, or seeing the brand-new speed bumps that the City installed on a road that is barely used – after Rajiv Dahal told me there would be no more alley speed bumps –please let me know. I’d be happy to talk anytime.

I’m a great fan of your column – and am very happy that you’re tracking traffic issues here in Evanston. – Josh Schonwald

From TG: TG will respond ASAP, though may not be as speedy as the vehicles in the alley.

From our readers: TG: Public Works Director Suzette Robinson has come up with a way to remind folks not to use sign poles, street lights and other objects as bike racks. These bands will be added to bike locks by City staff as appropriate. – William Suther

From TG: TG wonders how much the bands cost the City and hopes people who don’t want them as keepsakes will dispose of them responsibily.

The Traffic Guy thinks …

… that the City may consider a “complete and green streets” ordinance. While conceding there is a lot of merit to “complete” streets – that is, something for everyone – TG hopes that the Powers That Be (the alderfathers and aldermothers?) would also consider making some streets for pedestrians only, if not all the time then maybe at some hours. Imagine a street in or near each business district where people could stroll at night (or maybe from 4-6 p.m.), gather with friends, have dinner or dessert – just socialize and patronize businesses. Maybe it’s a throwback, or maybe it’s actually forward-looking.

 … that perhaps the City should develop a snow-melter using corn. Folks probably know that the City uses a beet by-product for some of its snow melting and that Milwaukee is using a cheese by-product. Maybe each northern or winter-bothered state could have its own signature snow-melt: blueberries in Maine, ground-up auto parts in Michigan; buckeyes in Ohio …

… that folks can come up with a lot of uses for civilian “unmanned aerial systems” (what used to be called “drones”). TG fancies such a flying object peering over the shoulders of Council members, School Board members, committee members and the like to see what they are really reading up there on the dais. Or perhaps one could circle around Council chambers or other rooms to hear what the audience members are saying. Then the drone in the audience could match the drone from the officials.

… that there was dancing all over Evanston last Saturday as On Site launched its first dance event featuring several dance troops performing choreographed pieces on unlikely stages all AroundTown. Don’t miss their next performance on Nov. 3.





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