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Evanston RoundTable | Evanston, IL

home : columns June 22, 2017

4/19/2017 5:14:00 PM
The Traffic Guy hears ...
Here is one of three flickers, all pecking bugs or something out of the same tree. RoundTable photo
Here is one of three flickers, all pecking bugs or something out of the same tree.
RoundTable photo

… that it’s patch, patch, patch time in Evanston. Over the next three weeks, crews from J.A. Johnson Paving of Arlington Heights will be patching “large areas of asphalt pavement” (per the City) in 123 different locations. Perhaps readers have caught the scent of hot tar (or something) in the cool spring air. The work, which is expected to take three weeks to complete, will improve the condition of 26,000 square yards of pavement here. Drivers should expect short delays in specific work zones, pay attention to flaggers as they route traffic around the work crews, and heed the temporary “No Parking” signs.

… and, speaking of construction, there remains only about six weeks of work to be done on the Emerson/ Ridge/ Asbury/ Green Bay corridor, including street light and traffic light work, sewer work and streetscape work and finishing up the punch list. Drivers should be alert for temporary lane diversions and “no parking” areas.

… that throughout May crews from Hoerr Construction will be rehabbing sewer lines using the cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) process. Readers may remember this process has been used here for several years by different companies. Crews insert a liner into the sewer then flush it with hot water to “cure” it, effectively coating the old pipe. During the process, sewer service connections in the affected areas are sealed off, and residents are advised to disconnect sump pumps. Residents can expect both a 10-day notice and a 24-hour notice. The City says the work in each location should take about 12 hours. Now, here is the somewhat sticky part: styrene. Here’s what the City says about it:

“The resins used in the lining process have been used in the fiberglass industry for many years. These resins contain a chemical called styrene that hardens when heated. Although styrene has an unpleasant odor, it is not dangerous at the levels at which people can detect it. Community members are advised to not be alarmed if they smell the styrene while contractors are working in their area. An easy way to prevent the styrene odor is to pour a gallon of water into each drain (particularly basement floor drains). This keeps the drain trap full and prevents sewer gases from coming into the building. Because the water in the drain traps evaporates over time, this practice should be done regularly.”

… that the City has designated the segment of Dewey between Crain and Greenleaf  “Gay Riseborough Way.” She was the driving force in creating Grandmother Park in that block, helping raise money to purchase the land and playground equipment. The park was opened and handed over to the City in 2013.

… that April is National Car Care Month, and the folks at the Car Care Council advise spending some of that tax-refund money on vehicle maintenance. Not a bad idea. Or it could be spent on a bicycle tune-up or a new pair or walking shoes.

… that the annual Lyrid meteor shower is underway, and its peak is expected to fall on Saturday morning, April 22, “with little or no interference from the slender waning crescent moon,” writes Dr. Debra Byrd in Earthsky.org.

From our readers: TG: This is about the Metra wall in the 1200 block of Sherman. On Feb. 21, I called Evanston’s 311 to let them know about a piece of concrete that fell as I was riding by on my bicycle at night (in the dark). The incident happened on Feb. 18, 2017. The chunk did not hit me, or my bike, or my cart. But the sound of it falling onto the asphalt was loud, from which I would guess that the chunk was at least fist-sized.  
There are larger chunks all along the wall on this block, all of which have fallen since the fall of 2015, when the street was repaved.
On March 13, I got an email from 311 saying, “Union Pacific will be visiting the wall within the next two weeks to address and remove any loose concrete.” One of my neighbors saw a UP inspector at the wall on March 30. On April 10, I got another 311 email, this one from Kathleen Knapp: “City staff is continuing to work with the property owner, Union Pacific, to address the request.” I have kept my neighborhood listserv (Nichols Neighbors) apprised of the progress, but since Traffic Guy is documenting other sites of infrastructure deterioration (danger?), I thought I’d put this location under the Traffic Guy’s eye.          – Debbie Hillman

From TG: It’s a wonder to TG how casual Union Pacific is about its deteriorating infrastructure. Perhaps it could take some of the millions of dollars it anticipates from replacing the Upstairs Café at its Central Street station with a different enterprise and use it to make needed structural and cosmetic repairs.  And read on:

TG: Ann Bennett Lander’s letter to the Traffic Guy in the April 6 RoundTable highlights the deplorable condition of many of the CTA and Union Pacific viaducts in Evanston. TG previously referred to the CTA Ridge/Lincoln bridge two years ago. In the interim, has it gotten any better? What needs to be brought out is the danger to the public. Lead based paint is flaking off the steel portions and concrete is dropping off these structures. At what point is their structural integrity compromised? Inspections are first needed. If these are indeed repairable, lead abatement, with full containment, must be initiated followed by concrete and reinforcement replacement. Ten years ago, at the time of the I-35 W Bridge collapse in Minneapolis, I was looking out the window of my wife’s room in Evanston Hospital at the Purple Line Bridge over the North Shore Channel. Its rusty appearance indicated to me that it probably hadn’t been painted in the last 80+ years. Accordingly, has UP taken a look at its North Shore Channel Bridge just east of Green Bay Road?  – Fred J. Wittenberg

From TG: Maybe UP and CTA personnel should be required to travel over these viaducts at least once a week – and under them even more often. On the other hand. ...

TG: Let’s call Evanston “The Love of the North Shore.”   – Steven Schieberg

From TG: Yes, what a welcome sentiment – even if sometimes it’s the town some love to hate.

The Traffic Guy thinks…
… that parking matters: As Council grants  more and more concessions to developers of residential property, allowing them to construct far fewer parking spaces than are required by the zoning code – residents, and sometimes, patrons are feeling the squeeze. And when the City says it feels the residents’ pain, available parking for outsiders gets even smaller. As it has been doing since 1980, the City can declare “residents-only” parking areas. One of the more recent ones will be on both sides of  Sheridan Road from Central north to 2815 Sheridan Road. The City explains that, even though most residents in that area have driveways, there is often no place for their visitors to park. This way, they can get temporary permits for their guests. The restriction is said to apply to weekdays only, so those driving to Lighthouse Beach will still have a shot at parking there.
A second one wll restrict parking to two hours on the south side of Greenwood from Grey “to a point 125 feet east thereof.” Because so many kids are driving to the high school, patrons of the businesses in that area are having difficulty parking. Geographically smaller restricted areas allow two spaces for 15-minute only parking in front of Hecky’s, 1902 Green Bay; making the area in and around the 1100 block of Emerson and on East Railroad “residents only 24/7.”

… that instead of a wall, maybe the xenophobes in Washington should consider a maze – hundreds of miles of organ pipe and saguaro cactus forming intricate paths and byways in an east-west pattern. It would be sustainable, low-maintenance, and challenging. Plus, planting this wall wouldn’t require a lot of eminent domain. Or they could just forget it and look to take care of the problems in this country.

… that everyone should do a bit of cleaning up the community this weekend. If everyone gathered just one bag of trash or cleaned up the area within a 50-foot radius of the house, or a few square yards of their favorite park, we would have a great start to summer.



Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Comment by: Gail Doeff

Hi TG,Thanks for your comment about the Upstairs Cafe in last week's column! We the cafe owners agree that Union Pacific's wizards in Omaha, NE are dreaming when they imagine big rent coming from our tiny space. We needed a good laugh as we prepare to close our beloved business. Thanks for providing one.



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