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September 26, 2017

8/23/2017 3:08:00 PM
The Traffic Guy hears ...
Fountain SquarePhoto by Mary Mumbrue 
Fountain Square
Photo by Mary Mumbrue 

… that the City is getting ready for fall traffic, with sidewalk and street repairs over the next few weeks. Over the next six weeks, crews from Schroeder & Schroeder will be repairing, resurfacing, and restoring Dewey from the cul-de-sac south of Simpson (at Family Focus) to the dead end north of Payne. Residents should be alert to temporary daytime “No Parking” signs (7 a.m. – 5 p.m.).

… that for the next couple of months crews will also be sprucing up the Sherman Plaza and Maple Avenue parking garages, with concrete repair, new elevator floor finishes, and other niceties. The gar-ages will remain open, though, so parking spaces should be plentiful. As always, the
City promises to make every effort to mini-mize inconveniences during construction.

… that crews from Schroeder & Schroeder will be paving alleys over the next few weeks. Most projects will take five to six weeks, but the Grove/Chicago alley may be done in two, that is, by mid-September. The alleys are 1) north of Brummel, east of Elmwood; north of Grove, east of Chicago; north of Simpson, east of the Metra tracks; and north of Brummel, east of Grey.

… that over the next six weeks, City crews will be widening Callan between Howard and Brummel.

… the first NU home football game will be against Nevada on Sept. 2 at Ryan Field. Watch out for traffic and visitors. Let’s hope they find a lot of great things to enjoy – and eat and drink and buy – here. Other home games are Sept. 16 against Bowling Green, the homecoming game against Penn State on Oct. 11, Oct. 21 against Iowa, Oct. 28 against Michigan State, the Family Weekend game against Purdue on Nov. 11, and the final game on Nov. 18, against Minnesota.

… that the automotive buyer intelligence firm, Autolist.com, recently released a study that found Evanston the cheapest place to purchase a car in Illinois. The study analyzed more than 365,000 active listings across eight counties within its database that showed consumers will save an average of $819 on a comparable vehicle vs. elsewhere in Illinois and an average of $687 compared to the rest of the United States. Here is their comparison of the five most affordable cities in Illinois for comparison: Evanston – $819 cheaper than the Illinois average; Skokie – $718 cheaper than the Illinois average; Oak Park – $600 cheaper than the Illinois average; Berwyn – $555 cheaper than the Illinois average; and Glenview – $543 cheaper than the Illinois average.

From our readers: TG: Traffic Guy’s hunch that Wade Street was Evanston’s shortest street appears to be right on the mark, edging out Arnold Place and Linden Place, other recent nominees for that title.
A tiny cul-de-sac – roughly 110 feet in length with just four addresses to its name – Wade Street is located a short block from one of Evanston’s busiest thoroughfares, Emerson Street. Yet probably few Evanston residents even realized Wade Street was there, jutting off from Leland Avenue toward the playgrounds, trails, and picnic groves of Beck Park. (I know I didn’t, and I called Evanston home for more than a half-century!)
So Wade Street gets the Gold as Evanston’s shortest street. Silver goes to another nominee, Arnold Place in southeast Evanston, which runs 150 feet from South Boulevard to the alley – the same length as the residential properties on either side of Arnold Place.
And Bronze goes to Linden Place, which RoundTable reader Marci Rubin suggested recently could be Evanston’s shortest street. Linden, it turns out,
runs 189 feet curb-to-curb from Custer Avenue to Callan Avenue, according to real estate maps on file at the Evanston Public Library.
Could there be a shorter street elsewhere in Evanston?  Never say never, but for now I gotta go with Traffic Guy – and Wade Street.   – Michael I. Kelly, Chicago

From TG: Thank you, Mr. Kelly, for being the researcher and the judge in this.

Read on: TG: Re: the shortest street in Evanston: It’s on Asbury, as soon as you cross Dempster, going north. Dryden Place. It’s on the right – don’t blink.

From TG: Dryden Place is a short street and possibly Evanston’s newest one. When School District 65 sold the Dryden mansion to be developed for private homes, the developer had to create access to and from for the prospective residents.  

TG: I recently made the acquaintance of a Martian who eluded the visa requirements for immigration. Not being able to ascertain this visitor’s gender I will sometimes refer to it as an “it.”
  
The Martian said it had a particular interest in traffic, because Mars has little automotive traffic but it is planning ahead if persons from Earth establish settlements there, and since it understood that Evanston has some interesting developments in traffic patterns.


I gave the Martian a tour and here report its reactions.


First, I took it along Emerson Street to the intersection with Green Bay Road.It remarked on the bizarre situation where a driver hoping to go west on Emerson must go into the right lane to get to the intersection  but then must immediately get into the left lane to avoid running right on Green Bay. It commented, “It seems that for a routine trip, you would have to implant these instructions in your memory and that if you didn’t do it every day you would have your mind unnecessarily cluttered – almost as if you were on your phone while you were driving, which I gather is illegal.” I just nodded.


Then I took my visitor to lower Sheridan Road going north. As it observed people riding north  on bicycles, it noted that this created hazards for both cyclists and drivers who had to move over the center line, endangering southbound motorists. It noted there was a little icon of a bike along the curb but pointed out that there really wasn’t room for bikes and cars. As we progressed north we encountered cyclists riding side by side, which the Martian remarked seemed especially dangerous.


A third stop on our tour was Chicago Avenue above Davis Street. The Martian expressed astonishment that there were two bicycle lanes on the east side of the avenue, with the result that auto traffic was restricted to one lane. As we moved along to Clark Street, a bicyclist practically dove out from the right lane and right in front of me to make a left turn. My visitor asked if that was not an illegal maneuver and I said it is definitely against the law, but that there is no enforcement of the relevant rules – not to mention compliance with the dictates of common sense about riding side-by-side on narrow streets.


The Martian remarked that bicyclists seemed to reign over motorists in traffic.
It also pointed out that there were many cars on the avenue but no bikes in the bike lane. I tried to explain that Evanston thinks of itself as a green city and thus privileges bikes, even if there are few around and that most residents must use cars – noting just as examples that they cannot carry groceries safely on bicycles and that a fair amount of residents have disabilities that prevent them from using bikes. “Well,” the Martian said, “from our understanding of normal mental life on our red planet, a lot of this seems insane. You set up traffic lanes that are counter-intuitive and have to be memorized, interfering with the perceptions required for driving. You cram traffic into spaces where it does not fit, and you apparently allow lawless bicycling.” I kept my opinions to myself but wished the Martian safe travel when it chose to return back home to its neighboring planet.  -- Marshall Shapo

From TG: Thank you, Prof. Shapo (TG notes from your email that you are a law prof at NU) for passing along the trenchant observations of the Martian. Next time you two meet, please convey that its apprehension of these things that continue to befuddle Earthlings here was most gratifying.

The Traffic Guy thinks …
… that schools open this Monday, so everyone should be alert for wandering kindergarteners, new middle-schoolers on bicycles, and just everyone a little dreamy after this summer. This area was extremely fortunate that, with climate change on the rampage, the summer was not too hot, possibly a little cool, not too wet and not too dry.

… that northbound drivers on Orrington wishing to turn west onto Davis should be alert for the new traffic pattern at Fountain Square – the left-turn lane will be on the west side of the island.





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