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November 18, 2017

10/18/2017 6:06:00 PM
The Traffic Guy hears ...
Photo by Michael Rice
Photo by Michael Rice

… that Michael Rice took the fabulous photo of the Oct. 7 rainbow. He was able to get the arc from near downtown Evanston.

… that Schroeder and Schroeder of Skokie, the City’s main alley-paving mavens, will be paid an extra $132,000 for additional work and have another six months – until May 31 of next year – to complete it. Two main projects or sub-projects, are involved: dealing with contaminated soil and installing pedestrian crosswalks. Last July, the City contracted with Schroeder & Schroeder to pave the alley north of Simpson/ east of the railroad right-of-way. Last month, when the company conducted soil tests, according to the City, Schroeder & Schroeder found some lead-contaminated soil in “the small east / west portion of the alley adjacent to the railroad embankment,” hired a contractor to “treat the hazardous soil and/or dispose of the treated soil as per EPA guidelines,” and will monitor that process. The new crosswalks will be installed at Dempster/Ashland, South/Forest, and Oakton/Dewey. While installing crosswalks sounds straightforward …
The Dempster and South intersections are under State (Illinois Department of Transportation, IDOT) jurisdiction, and it took a few revisions and reviews before IDOT advised the City it would be all right to prepare a final request to put in the sidewalk, ADA-accessible ramps, curbs, signs, and the like. Whether these repairs will be completed before the winter sets in depends on, well, the weather.  

…  that Fountain Square renovations are coming along, although the whole plaza probably won’t be complete until late next spring. Here’s what the City said has been accomplished in the past couple of weeks: In the north plaza, crews have installed the memorial wall foundation, poured the underlayment and installed bricks in the northwest corner. In the south plaza they installed light-pole foundations and brick pavers. They also installed conduit and cable for the traffic signals.

… that the Evanston Foreign Fire Tax Board has purchased a Gator, which will help the City’s firefighters and paramedics reach certain types of patients more easily – such as those in crowded areas or off-road (beaches, parks, etc.). The FFTB also paid for outfitting the Gator with EMS equipment, Automated External Defibrillator, fire extinguishers, and a scoop stretcher. The new vehicle may make guest appearances at City-sponsored festivals and events.

… that a fast-food and drive-through restaurant, Nic’s Organic Fast Food, is coming to 2628 Gross Point Rd. – where the gas station used to be. And then a bank wanted to go there, but the residents objected. It will be pretty much next to Sarki’s, so folks can wait and see whether the residents will think this is an OK use and whether the City will allow the zoning relief – for a reduced rear-yard setback and a reduced fenestration-sill height on the Crawford side, and reduced pedestrian areas fronting both Crawford and Gross Point. The owners anticipate that 70% of the customers will use the drive-through. Nic’s is a nationwide chain, with the nearest one in Rolling Meadows. Right now there is also a problem with the parking area, among Nic’s, Sarki’s, and parking lot owner CVS

… that NU has two home football games in the next two weeks: Iowa on Oct. 21 and Michigan State on Oct. 28, time of each game TBA. Drivers should be alert to extra traffic, vehicular and pedestrian, going to and from Ryan Field on streets in northeast Evanston.

… that children created this E-Town mural at the Artisan Summer Fest in June. Thanks to the folks at Canal Shores, the mural is on the embankment wall at Central and Girard, on the third tee box.

… that, a couple of weeks ago, when everyone thought summer would keep on, an RT photographer caught this sculpture at Lighthouse Beach.

… that the City will purchase 239 trees from the Suburban Tree Consortium, of which City crews will plant 124 and outside contractors the other 115. Readers may remember that the City has a “Replant Express” program, that allows residents to pay $250 – the  cost of a tree with a diameter of two to two-and-one-half inches – to have a tree planted immediately in their parkway, skipping the typical two-year waiting period to get a new parkway tree.

From our readers: We have the best readers.  They have the best words.
TG: You mentioned the “mess” on Dodge, with a suggestion that more people should get on their bikes. I have been really irritated by the bikers who do not use the new bike lanes all over town, instead tying up traffic and adding to the “mess.”  I consistently have to navigate the new, very narrow southbound lane on Chicago Avenue between Clark and Grove.  
There is a dual bike lane on the east side of the street that seems to go unused, while bikers back up traffic on the west side. It is maddening that we have reconfigured streets for millions of dollars only to have created a “mess.” Bikers need to use the lanes created for them, even if they are inconveniently set up.  – Mimi Muller Roeder

From TG: TG agrees with you and did not intend to excuse those careless or arrogant bikers who blow through stop signs and stoplights, do not wear helmets, go the wrong way on bike lanes, and otherwise put themselves or others in danger. Things are getting to a crisis point here, with bikers and drivers getting on each other’s nerves. How valuable are a few seconds of time to wait, obey the lights and the laws and be courteous to others on the street?

TG: I thought this photo was worth passing along. It’s one of the CTA elevated train support beams on the south side of Main Street, west of Chicago Avenue and near Custer Avenue.
Should pedestrians be worried about the stability of that overpass?  – Jon Ziomek

From TG: If not now, soon.

The Traffic Guy thinks …
... that Evanston could use some fresh ideas for its signage – perhaps fewer words and more pictures – for example instead of “no parking” the sign could have a pic of a car and the nearly universal sign for “not allowed”:  the circle with the red diagonal line through it. A sign with, say, 25 mph on it would so obviously be a speed limit sign that the words “speed limit” would be, as they are now, superfluous. Or maybe the City could have its own little logo or guide for all its rules, one that would be affixed to all the signs, maybe in the corner. TG imagines a skunk – Evanston’s unofficial but ubiquitous fall animal –  with a raised tail under the “no parking” and speed-limit signs but doesn’t know how to take that idea further. Or maybe an image of Willie the Wildkit on each sign, welcoming people to Evanston at the portals and then using it on all other wayfaring signs. TG is sure that readers can come up with something even more creative that might also help limit the copious supply of unsightly and often unfriendly and, even at times, confusing signs on parkways and other places here.

Or maybe that Martian …





Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, October 26, 2017
Comment by: Kathy Kovacic

Reply to Andrew Schwarz: The diff between drivers blowing through stop signs and bicyclists blowing through stop signs is that theoretically, the police can issue tickets to drivers who violate the law. Additionally, when a cyclist blows through a stop sign, guess who's going to suffer more injuries if a driver decides to blow through the same stop sign at the same time? I've never seen a cyclist issued a ticket, even when he's driving the wrong way down the middle of a one-way street, or when cyclists ride side by side down the middle of the street, or when they're distracted by texting or talking on THEIR cellphones. It seems like bicyclists expect to be able to do whatever they want while drivers (and pedestrians) are expected to watch out for them. And apparently the police agree.

Posted: Saturday, October 21, 2017
Comment by: Kathy Kovacic

Speaking of Fountain Square, yesterday my husband had to drop me off in the middle of the construction zone on Sherman south of Davis because northbound Orrington was closed. I was trying to get to the library.

As I walked along the torn-up lane, I stopped to pick up spikes, nails and steel rods with sharp ends. I'd suggest drivers avoid driving on Sherman around the Fountain Sq project if they want to avoid damage to their tires.

I can't imagine what kind of traffic mess there will be once the project is finished. Seems to me like it's one of Evanston's "if it ain't broke, then try to fix it anyway" projects designed to make it impossible to access downtown Evanston from the south or west sides of town. Yeah, I complain a lot -).


Posted: Friday, October 20, 2017
Comment by: Andrew Schwarz

Dear Traffic I continue to read your criticisms of the bike lanes on Dodge and your on-going complaints are getting tiresome. You are placing all the burden for safety on the bikers, without sharing the onus for safety with drivers. As an avid biker, I encourage you to look holistically at the problems:
• “careless and arrogant bikers who blow through stop signs and stoplights” – I see cars doing the same all over town while I ride my bike, why aren’t you complaining about them?
• “do not wear helmets” – Agree, but who is this putting in danger besides themselves? This isn’t nearly as dangerous as all the drivers I see on their phones talking and texting.
• “Go the wrong way on bike lanes” – I agree, not good, but not nearly as dangerous as all the car drivers I see speeding down my street.




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