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home : columns : columns May 26, 2016

6/18/2014 3:34:00 PM
The Traffic Guy hears ...

… that the Starlight Concert season kicked off last week. Work on the Arring-ton Lagoon at Dawes Park will prevent concerts – and arts fairs – from being held right there, but they will be worth the wait.

… that work has begun on the former KFC on Dempster just west of Dodge. It will be a Starbucks with a drive-through window.

... that all those bright white trucks lined up on Central Park – and the tanned and genial crew within – are here from sunny Colorado to fix the pipes that lie in the dark beneath our streets. Like doctors performing laparoscopic surgery, the men from Western Slope Utilities work with small holes rather than gashing the pavement. Through the holes they insert a “bladder” inside the aging pipe, thread hoses into the bladder and then pump 200-degree water into the hoses from a boiler truck parked nearby. The heated liner adheres to the pipe, and, like magic, Evanston has new plumbing.

… that the Police Department reported the results of its Memorial Day “Click It or Ticket” campaign.” Between May 9 and 26, the EPD issued 38 seat belt citations, one child safety seat citation, one cannabis citation and 9 speeding citations. They made two DUI arrests and one warrant arrest. They also  cited five drivers for suspended or revoked licenses, six for being uninsured, one for having open alcohol in the vehicle and one minor for possessing alcohol. Seventeen drivers were cited for cell-phone violations, presumably talking or texting.

… that the City has approved a contract with Fer-Pal Construction USA, LLC, in Elgin, to install the Washington Street water-main lining for $150,000. This contract, combined with the others for water-main improvements, puts that account over budget by just under $120,000. Stay tuned. 

… that, as probably everyone has noticed, there is a lot of street, water-main and sewer repairs going on around town. Residents are advised to drive carefully around construction sites and watch for temporary “no parking” signs.

… that good old Otis Elevator will continue its service in the Civic Center and the Service Center and at the Maple Avenue and Church Street parking garages, at a cost of about $70,000.

… that the Bridge Street bridge is open and  operational from both sides. The sidewalks seem spacious enough to accommodate wheelchairs, and there is a bike lane on each side. TG hears that an alderman wants to have a new name for the bridge. How about Le Pont de la Rue de le Pont? Or El Puente de la Calle del Puente? Or, in Latin, Pons Viae Pontis?

… that Schroeder & Schroeder Inc. will get the contract for the “50/50” sidewalk replacements this summer – $250,000 from the city and $122,575 from residents  whose sidewalks will be replaced. 

… that the City will receive a $400,000 OSLAD (Open Space and Land Acquisition and Development) grant through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to renovate the athletic field at Lovelace Park. 

… that City Council is considering a proposal to allow the sale of beer at automobile service stations that have an interior of more than 3,000 square feet. Speaking of sales of alcohol, DMK Burger Bar & Fish Bar on Noyes will be able to sell liquor, and folks attending performances at Piccolo Theatre on Main will be able to buy – in moderation, of course – beer and wine.

… that Nicor still has some work to do to address the gas leak on Florence (not too far from the RT), which has been apparent since last fall.

… that the City has again amended its professional services agreement with Parsons Brinkerhoff for the Evanston Main Street transit-oriented development study and plan. The amended agreement extends the completion date from March 31 to June 30. The City adds, “There will be no additional cost incurred by the City for the extension” but apparently there are no fines, either.  This is designed to be a “planning and visioning study focusing on the Main Street Metra and CTA station area enhancements to increase the connectivity between stations, the Main Street Business District and surrounding neighborhoods.”

…… that the City will provide financial assistance in the amount of $935 for façade improvement at Homestead Meats & Deli, Inc. on Chicago Ave.

… that the City has a new option for paying for parking, which will allow drivers in Evanston to skip the trip to the meter and pay for parking directly from their mobile phone. According to the City, “The new PassportParking mobile application is already available for use on the 1600 and 1700 blocks of Sherman Ave. as a part of the City’s pilot program. This first batch of pay-by-phone parking spaces allows drivers to try the convenient alternative in preparation for the city-wide launch scheduled for this summer.”
Here’s what the City says to do to be able to take advantage of the new option: “Smart phone customers must first download and register the PassportParking app from the Apple Store for iPhones or Google Play for Android users. One can also register for the service online at passportparking.com/park, using Facebook, or by calling the local number listed on the meter.
“Once registered for the service, drivers will have many options to pay for parking, including the PassportParking app and mobile website for smart phone users. Customers with basic cell phone capabilities will be able to use Pay-by-Text and Pay-by-Voice options.
“To complete the payment process through the app, drivers will have to input the zone and space number listed on the meter followed by the amount of time needed. The mobile app allows drivers to extend their parking session to the maximum time allowed, add or update payment card details, as well as manage notification and receipt options. The same functions are also available on the mobile website, m.ppprk.com. Additionally, the mobile application and website allows users to select from multiple language options for non-English speakers.”
Users without smart phones, the City says, are “invited to Pay-by-Voice by calling the toll-free number listed on the meter, providing the zone and space number and payment information. Additionally, customers can utilize the Pay-by-Text option that allows drivers to text their zone number, space or license plate number and the amount of time they wish to stay, to the phone number listed on the meters.
“A $.35 service fee will be charged for the initial transaction for the parking space. However, there will be no service fee for extending parking to the maximum time allowed for that space. Once the maximum time has been reached, customers must leave their parking spot or they are subject to being ticketed. All payment options allow users to extend their parking time.”

… that Bike to Work Week is winding down, but the fair days of summer (which starts Saturday) and fall remain to keep folks off the petroleum diet.

… that, speaking of biking, the Active Transportation Alliance reports that about 125,000 bike trips are taken daily in Chicago. Of those, about 91,000 are “everyday ‘utilitarian’ trips like going to the store or the library. Work trips account for approximately 26,000 trips and school trips about 7,000. … In comparison, Western Avenue carries approximately 40,000 cars per day on its 23 miles in Chicago, and Lake Shore Drive, the city’s most traveled road that’s not a highway, carries 161,000 cars per day.”

… and, speaking further of biking, TG has noticed, and figures others have as well, that there is an increasing number of what TG would term “guerilla” bikers on streets, such as McCormick and Green Bay, where bicycles are prohibited.
TG has chalked this up to the dispute between some groups that espouse biking everywhere and the City, which apparently would like to keep bikes off major arteries. Interested folks may take the bike survey at cityofevanston.org.

The Traffic Guy thinks …

… that the City ought to consider imposing a “Fed Ex and UPS” tax. Those delivery trucks park wherever they wish, often in the middle of the street (TG has even seen them parked on Ridge and was recently prevented from making a right turn because a FedEx truck had parked squarely in the intersection, preventing egress). The City either does or should impose development impaction fees on construction projects for the projected damage the vehicles will do to City streets.  A modest $10,000 per delivery service per year ought to help, but TG would be open to hearing proposals of greater amounts.

... that Evanston is set for a fine summer. Hope everyone can enjoy the beaches, the parks and the festivals.



Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, June 26, 2014
Article comment by: Andrew Madsen

The Traffic Guy is wrong in his comment about bike bans on McCormick and Green Bay. Shortsighted survey suggestions notwithstanding, the only street with a bike ban is Ridge south of Emerson.

Posted: Thursday, June 19, 2014
Article comment by: Don Piven

TG opines that "there is an increasing number of what TG would term “guerilla” bikers on streets, such as McCormick and Green Bay, where bicycles are prohibited."

TG should check his facts better. The city code prohibits bicycles on only one section of road within Evanston, Ridge Ave. between Howard St and Emerson St. (sec. 10-1-9-6, refers to table XV(B) under sec. 10-11-15). Bicycles are permitted on the entire length of Green Bay and McCormick within the city limits.




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