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home : columns : columns May 24, 2016

11/6/2013 1:56:00 PM
The Traffic Guy hears ...
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… that the City has winterized the Clark Street beach house and the dog-beach hose has been turned off for the coming winter season. The dog beach will be open until the end of the month.

… that Evanston residents with motorized vehicles have to pay their wheel tax by Dec. 16. The tax is the same old vehicle-sticker fee; the difference is that folks don’t get a vehicle sticker. Instead, the license plate number(s) will be put into a database accessible by PEOs (parking enforcement officers) and others in authority to determine at almost a glance whether the tax has been paid on a vehicle. The glitch seems to be that Chicago police ticket cars without vehicle stickers for a presumed violation of a Chicago City ordinance. Let’s hope the City works it out with Chicago not to let Evanston wheel-tax-payers fall victim to that. Some applications have been mailed; those who don’t receive them can get one at a community center or the Civic Center or online at cityofevanston.org. Late registration penalties are steep, so pay up now.

… that street-sweeping season will be over next month and snow-parking regulations are kicking in. Here are suggestions from the City: “Don’t park on the snow routes at night. During a snow emergency, park on the proper side of residential streets between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Clear your sidewalks of snow and ice. Clear parking lots for which you are responsible, without pushing snow into adjacent streets, alleys or sidewalks.” There are a variety of ways to find out whether there is parking ban or snow emergency: signing  up for the City e-newsletter or for text-message alerts  through cityofevanston.org, following the City on Twitter or Facebook, calling the snow hotline (847-864-SNOW or 847-866-2917), checking Cable Channel 16 or the City’s homepage.

… that, now that the City is in budget season, it might be interesting to note that the City says these are the most common parking citations: expired meter ($10 fine), parking during street cleaning ($30 fine) and overstaying one’s time at a parking meter ($35 fine).

… that, speaking of parking meters, the City is updating its street parking equipment to become, as it says, “ more environmentally and user-friendly.” It’s testing out solar/battery-powered single-space parking meters and pay stations that accept both coin and credit cards, with the future alternative option of payment with the use of a cellphone. Residents can look at a map at cityofevanston.org to see the locations of these new trial mechanisms – 50 single-space meters and two upgraded pay-and-display stations. Until last Tuesday, folks could take a survey to let the City know which equipment they preferred, but the installations won’t be complete until next March.

… that, as many already know, CTA  track maintenance work continues on the Purple line between Milburn and Linden. CTA says the work will be done Sundays through Thursdays, nightly 9 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. next day; Saturdays and Sundays 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Also, trains will operate on a single track at the Central Street station, and there may be delays. Folks in the area can expect engine noise from diesel track maintenance equipment, beeping from backup alarms on track maintenance equipment, crunching rock, metal-on-metal hammering and lane closures and parking restrictions during weekend work. Questions may be directed to Ryan Mouw, CTA Government and Community Relations at 312-681-2751 or rmouw@transitchicago.com.

… that a commercial indoor recreation facility may be coming to west Central Street.

… that fall rowdiness by NU partiers has awakened and otherwise disturbed residents in the Noyes Street area. Seems aldermen, NU students and police, EPD folks and residents planned to talk about it last week. Maybe the coming winter months will mitigate the immediate problem and give everyone a few months’ breather to come to terms about this. Or maybe, now that the air is out of the balloon for the football season, things will quiet down.

From our readers:TG: Yesterday there was yet another serious auto accident at Ridge and Grove, in which a driver tried to speed across Ridge and got T-boned by a car on Ridge. By my count, this happens at least once a month and involves injury, damage, and stopped or slowed traffic up and down Ridge. Here are my questions: Why hasn’t the City or State (because it’s a state road) put up traffic lights at that intersection? There are lights a block north and a block south on Ridge, so this shouldn’t impede traffic. I’d also like to know whether this is the most dangerous intersection in Evanston, and if not, which one is, and how the traffic accidents at Ridge/Grove compare to it. – John Cleave

From TG: TG agrees that the Grove/Ridge is a scary intersection and prefers to use Lake, Davis or Greenleaf for that reason. Also, TG has forwarded your question to the traffic mavens at the City. For pedestrians, TG hears the most dangerous intersection is Chicago/Main.

The Traffic Guy thinks …

… that the Davis Street repairs are more than 70 percent complete. Perhaps things will be back in order by the time of the holiday tree lighting in a couple of weeks. And now that the proposed tower is back in the City’s focus, perhaps in a few years everyone can look forward to another siege of construction  in the downtown area.

… that, since Jennifer Pritzker is buying property on the  City’s west side – one on Church by the high school – maybe she’ll take a look at Evanston Plaza for
her rehab aspirations and skills.



Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, November 5, 2015
Article comment by: James Genden

For the Traffic Guy:

Once again, Evanston is providing free evening parking for the holiday season. The city recognizes that this encourages people to come to the city to shop and dine. I continue to wonder why the city fails to see that this logic is not limited to the holiday season. Free evening parking used to be available at some city garages. Now – except in the holiday season – the city effectively imposes a $2+ dinner tax (via parking costs). This puts downtown merchants, particularly restaurants, at a great disadvantage when it gets too cold to walk to downtown restaurants from free parking areas, We often decide to eat elsewhere in the city – or go to Wilmette, Skokie and Chicago, to avoid this nickel and diming disincentive to eat in downtown Evanston.


Posted: Thursday, May 15, 2014
Article comment by: Janet Steidl

The following was posted in the “2nd Ward May eNewsletter”:

“A similar protected bike lane is planned for the north side of Davis St., from Ridge Ave. to Mason Park. This lane will connect with the Church St. protected bike lane through Mason Park, and will provide a comfortable westbound bike corridor between the Lakefront bike path, downtown Evanston, west Evanston and the McCormick bike path. Parking on the north side of Davis St. between Ridge Ave. and Mason Park will need to be removed to accommodate the lane.”

A protected bike lane is not necessary running through the 1300, 1400, and 1500 blocks of Davis Street, especially at the cost of parking along its north side. This parking is vital to our neighborhood for residents, guests, Dewey School teachers, staff, and parents, members of the Evanston Church of God, and others. Street parking, along with speed control humps, have had a positive effect on controlling traffic, and the loss of parking will void that effect, probably increase traffic problems posing greater threat to cyclists. Indicating this as a bike route through the use of discrete signage would be an appropriate and much more cost effective solution.


Posted: Friday, May 9, 2014
Article comment by: Rosalie Ziomek

Traffic Guy: Going northeast on McCormick approaching Bridge Street there are two left turn lanes. The first one is directly opposite of the new entrance to the Aboretum parking lot. If you enter the left turn lane at that point, you risk a head on collision with a car driving in the other direction pulling into the parking lot. This almost happened today and I took pictures. I could send them to you if you want them. The question is: Why are there two left turn lanes approaching Bridge Street?



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