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home : columns : columns August 22, 2017

7/26/2017 7:17:00 PM
The Traffic Guy hears ...
The new bike lane on Chicago Avenue is protected by a permanent curb rather than by removable bollards, such as those on Church, Davis, and Dodge. Are they wide enough to accommodate a street-sweeper? Looks like it.

The new bike lane on Chicago Avenue is protected by a permanent curb rather than by removable bollards, such as those on Church, Davis, and Dodge.
Are they wide enough to accommodate a street-sweeper? Looks like it.


… that, again this time, the Sheridan/Chicago street project is front and center. Most readers know by now that the State approved a budget, which allowed the project to resume last week. For this second phase, there will be one lane of traffic in each direction on Sheridan from Lincoln to the Chicago/Sheridan intersection. The traffic lanes will be on the east side of Sheridan while the west side is under construction, and access to most cross streets between Orrington and Sheridan – specifically at Emerson, Library, Garrett, Haven, Dartmouth and Colfax will be for local traffic only. And when the west side is reconstructed, traffic will be switched to the new lanes so the east lanes can be redone. The City cautions, “The construction activities will create some inconveniences for the abutting residents, but workers will attempt to minimize these issues.” In other words, residents should expect some annoyances but not get too exercised about them. Wonder if the construction season will extend to the NU football season. Folks can always contact Resident Engineer Kevin Wilson at 847-833-0274. Questions in general about the project should be directed to Sat Nagar, Senior Project Manager, at 311 or 847-448-4311.

… that many readers will likely have noticed the new bike lanes on Chicago. These seem pretty good, because they accommodate traffic in each direction. The lanes on Church, Davis, and Dodge supposedly are for one direction only, though TG has seen, even encountered, folks riding east in the supposedly west-only lanes of Davis, west in the supposedly east-only lanes of Church, and south on the supposedly north-only lanes of Dodge – most likely because those lanes are near where the biker plans to travel. That “convenience,” though, could come at a steep price, if drivers who are expecting bikers to follow the rules do not look both ways for oncoming bikes. 

… that the City has begun its summer pavement-marking work, with the expectation of refreshing 118,000 linear feet of crosswalks, centerlines, stop bars, and speed bumps. Thermoplastic, a plastic polymer that liquefies when heated, is the material of choice for marking pavements. Each of these sets of new markings will take about an hour to complete, so drivers should be alert for flaggers and temporary “No Parking” restrictions. The project could be done by early next month.

… that average gas prices in the Chicago area fell about 6.3 cents per gallon mid-month, according to GasBuddy’s daily survey of 1,437 gas outlets in Chicago. This compares with the national average that has fallen 1.7 cents per gallon during the same period. Still, these prices were 4 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago, but they are also 6.9 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has decreased 5.0 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 3.3 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago. Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com, said, “Oil prices, after sagging to close the month of June, had started July by surging, only to let up shortly after. [During the week of July 10], however, the market resumed the rise, posting a 5% weekly gain, so we’re likely again to see something of everything: gas prices rising in most areas, falling in a few, and perhaps changing little in a handful of places as well. The bigger issue we’re now looking at that could affect gasoline prices is a last minute special meeting OPEC will be holding on July 27. It remains a bit of a mystery what, if anything, they may decide, but all eyes will be focused on any policy changes or production changes.”

… that the beaches were closed for a couple of days last week: on July 16 because of possible rip currents, and on July 17 because of bacteria.

… that we are about in the middle of the Dog Days, when the Dog Star, Sirius, shines brightest. According to the Old Farmers Almanac, in late July, “the Sun occupies the same region of the sky as Sirius, the brightest star visible from any part of Earth and part of the constellation Canis Major, the Greater Dog. In the summer, Sirius rises and sets with the Sun. On July 23, specifically, it is in conjunction with the Sun, and because the star is so bright, the ancient Romans believed it actually gave off heat and added to the Sun’s warmth, accounting for the long stretch of sultry weather. They referred to this time as diçs caniculârçs, or ‘dog days.’”

… that, speaking of animals, these canines are enjoying the Dog Beach, this turtle was seen in early spring enjoying the weather near Nichols School; the bunny, nibbling at a tasty stalk of grass, and the ducks enjoying a summer evening in Arrington Lagoon at Dawes Park.

From our readers:

TG asks in the June 15 RoundTable, “What is the shortest street in Evanston?” I nominate Arnold Place, which wasn’t always the shortest street but today runs one city lot in length from South Boulevard to the alley behind Calvary Cemetery.

That alley, it turns out, was once a continuation of Oakton Street east of the R.R. tracks – and according to late 1880s Evanston City Directories, Arnold Avenue once extended from Oakton north to Main Street. The section of Arnold Avenue north of South Boulevard was renamed Sheridan Road around 1890, leaving only the stub of Arnold Avenue south of South Boulevard, known today as Arnold Place.

But that’s not all. Few may be aware that Evanston’s city limits extended south of Calvary Cemetery to Howard Street until 1915, when that section was annexed by Chicago. So for several years, a two-block stretch of Evanston’s Arnold Avenue extended south of Calvary to Howard Street. After annexation by Chicago, it became the northernmost section of Chicago’s Ashland Avenue.

Who was the namesake of Evanston’s one-time Arnold Avenue, and today’s Arnold Place? The name commemorates Isaac N Arnold, who at one time owned lakefront property east of present-day Sheridan Road and north of Calvary
Cemetery. Mr. Arnold was a native of New
York State who, after completion of the Erie Canal, saw the potential of a small settlement on the Great Lakes called Chicago.

He settled in Chicago in 1836, where he would practice law, serve in local, state and national politics, and write two biographies of longtime friend and fellow Illinois lawyer, Abraham Lincoln. Isaac N. Arnold died in Chicago in 1884; he is interred at Graceland Cemetery. 

– Michael I. Kelly, Chicago

From TG: Thank you, thank you,
Mr. Kelly, for the nomination of Arnold Place and the delightful and informative history lesson with it. What an illustrious but possibly little-known person. You are the only one to respond to TG’s request
for short streets. The one TG had in mind is also a mere City block in length. If no one else responds, TG will disclose that one shortly.  

The Traffic Guy thinks …

… that Wonder Woman is everywhere. She shares a chalkboard in front of Other Brother Coffee Bar on Sherman, and she even made it to Evanston recently to see her movie
(see photos above).

... that some wag found a statuesque use for this traffic cone.

... that it’s time to make the most of what’s left of summer. Mornings are cooler, evenings are earlier, fewer flowers are in bloom, and leaves are hinting at fall.

… that folks
can start tonight looking for the Delta Aquarid meteor shower.







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