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Evanston RoundTable | Evanston, IL

home : columns : columns July 26, 2017

7/12/2017 5:03:00 PM
The Traffic Guy hears ...
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… that the wrangling in Springfield that kept this state from having a budget until July 6 was responsible for the shutdown of the Sheridan Road project earlier this month. City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz estimates that it may be another week or so before the project is up and running again.  TG writes this, many are still wary of the outcome. Last year’s shutdown and startup cost the City $60,000.

… that a four-way stop will soon be coming to Woodbine and Jenks. This should make things easier for kids crossing on their way to school and adults to the Metra station and elsewhere. The City notes that the estimated cost to install the two additional stop signs is $150.

… that, speaking of signs being installed in City streets, the 1100 block of Dewey was recently named “Gay Riseborough Way,” because of her work in establishing Grandmother Park there.

… that the City will hire Alfred Benesch & Company of Chicago for engineering services in replacing the downtown transmission feeder main, an 8,000-foot, 30-inch main that runs from the water plant, south through an easement east of Sheridan Road, west along Colfax Street, south along Sherman Avenue, west along Emerson Street, and south along Benson Street to Davis Street. It was built in 1936 and has sustained at least five breaks. There is the possibility of the trenchless repair but, because of the length and angles, the final design of the project “is likely to be a combination of multiple types of construction techniques,” according to the City. Some of the estimated $306,000 cost could be paid by IEPA loans.

… that, speaking of water, the City will engage Crawford, Murphy & Tilly of Aurora for engineering services for the Emerson Street Wholesale Water Meter at a cost of about $125,000. Here’s the scoop on that. The City has to build and operate a new water meter at McCormick and Emerson in order to sell water (wholesale, of course) to Morton Grove and Niles. City staff advise, “This is a significant project with various challenges, due to the proximity of other utilities, traffic, operational requirements, expectations for redundancy, and the material and size of the existing transmission main.” On their part, those villages have to begin work on the design for them to receive Evanston water from that point, and Evanston will not proceed with its project until those villages have begun work on theirs.

… and, even more on water: This rather puzzling headline appeared online in a different media outlet: “Evanston To Replace Drinking Fountains With Higher Lead Levels.”

… that the City will pay $33,000 to Total Parking Solutions of Downers Grove for a year’s worth of fees associated with 22 pay stations. There is also a charge of $720 per unit for maintenance. Last year the City garnered revenue of upwards of $400,000 from these 22 stations.
For an extra $100, though, wouldn’t it be nice if they could extend the time in the hotel garage for more than two hours – or put up a sign such as the one suggested in the last column by Sigrid Pilgrim, letting people know where to park for more than two hours?

… that the City will purchase two Ford SUVs from Currie Motors of Frankfort, one for the Police Department and one for Facilities Maintenance. A few older vehicles will be sold at auction.

… that average retail gasoline prices in Chicago rose 3.5 cents per gallon earlier this month, averaging $2.50 per gallon last week, according to GasBuddy’s daily survey of 1,437 gas outlets in Chicago. This compares with the national average that has fallen 2.7 cents per gallon in the last week to $2.22/g, according to gasoline price website GasBuddy.com.
Including the change in gas prices in Chicago, prices yesterday were 3.1 cents per gallon lower than one year ago and are 9.1 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has decreased 15.4 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 4.8 cents per gallon lower than this day one year ago.

… that June was hotter than normal, with an average temperature of 72.8 degrees, 0.9 degrees above normal, says Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel with the Illinois State Water Survey, University of Illinois. The statewide average rainfall was 3.27 inches, just 0.9 inches below normal.
“June had a split personality,” Dr. Angel said. “In the first 14 days, temperatures were nearly four degrees above normal with only a quarter inch of rain on average across the state. In the last 16 days, temperatures were almost two degrees below normal with three inches of rain.”

… that, speaking of the planet, on July 3, Earth reached its aphelion, its most distant point from the sun.

From Our Readers … TG: You’ve printed a number of good criticisms of the newly designed Green Bay Road from the Ridge Avenue and Emerson Street intersection up north to McCormick Boulevard. Well, here’s another one. A turning lane was created on Green Bay Road south of Simpson Street, with left-turn arrows painted in the lane for northbound and southbound traffic. Cars that are turning left from either direction have to share the lane.
The lane sharing seems dicey to me, but what I really don’t understand is the purpose of the left turn arrows for southbound traffic on Green Bay Road. There’s no reason to turn left off of that point of southbound Green Bay Road. I’m concerned that someone unfamiliar with the area will follow the arrow and wind up on the railroad embankment – or, worse, they’ll turn into the railroad viaduct that’s south of Simpson.
I’ve attached a picture, taken facing north on Green Bay. You can see the arrow in the turning lane demonstrating how a confused southbound driver could turn directly into the railroad viaduct.  – Regards, Jon Ziomek

From TG: Mr. Ziomek, you are sooooooo right on this. TG had noticed that little island of shared left turns and thought it a relic of last year’s construction phase. As you point out, though, the markings are clear but misleading, and, like you, TG hopes that no heedless driver heads for the wall or the embankment.

TG: Why is it that when the City has turned Dodge into a major source of driver frustration and traffic congestion by the addition of bollards and bike lanes, those few bicyclists who do ride on Dodge still insist on using the sidewalks for bicycling? What a waste of tax dollars to pander to bicyclists who won’t even take ad-vantage of their privileges.  – Kathy Kovacic

From TG: TG cannot explain the vagaries of bicycle riders or drivers. TG has a similar complaint: There are some who use the bike lanes, on Dodge, Church, Davis, and possibly elsewhere, to ride in the wrong direction. More than one RT staffer heading west on Greenleaf has been surprised at Dodge by a biker heading south in the northbound lane.

The Traffic Guy thinks …
… that, as usual, there were some great floats in the Fourth of July parade. The theme was “Evanston’s Heroes Are America’s Heroes: Our First Responders.” Thanks to the hard work of the trustees of the Fourth of July Association, the private group that funds and organizes the parade, music and fireworks.

… that this is the year the ERT should have been in the parade, body-slamming those who denigrate honest reporting and would like to squash the First Amendment.





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