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December 13, 2017

11/15/2017 4:27:00 PM
The Traffic Guy hears ...
Rube Goldberg would never have been this careless.Submitted photo
Rube Goldberg would never have been this careless.
Submitted photo

… that the City has decided to do a little more street cleaning on the next few Tuesdays and Wednesdays; some of this has already been done. Not being conversant in street-sweeping zones, TG simply offers the City’s schedule.
Zone 1: Nov. 21 (south/west sides of street)  15 (north/east sides of street)
Zone 2: Nov. 28 (south/west sides of street) and Nov. 22 (north/east sides of street)
Zone 3: already done
Zone 4: Dec. 5 (south/west sides of street), and Nov. 29 (north/east sides of street)
Zone 4S: Dec. 5 (south/west sides of street) and Nov. 29 (north/east sides of street)

.… that former City Clerk Rodney Greene has become the self-appointed traffic czar of the Brown/Simpson/Bridge intersection. He is out in the early mornings – and more, at times – with a sharp eye and a bull-horn that also makes a sound like a police siren. “Full stop, please,” he intones through the bullhorn to drivers and bikers who give at best only a pro-forma tap of the brakes at the all-way stop intersection on the south side of the bridge.

… that the owner of Evanston Place, 1715 Chicago, plans to spruce up the parkway there, installing terraces and landscaping. This could improve the look of the area, now that the two-way bike lane runs right in front of it.  

… that a resident on Lincoln Street would like to go solar – replacing his current residence with an already constructed solar house. They City has to grant some zoning relief for setbacks, etc. Could be a nice green setup.  

… that gas prices in the Chicago area are on the rise again, having increased an average of 19 cents per gallon earlier this month. GasBuddy’s daily survey of 1,437 gas outlets in Chicago showed that the average price of gas on Nov. 5 was $2.96/gallon. Nationally the price increase was 6.5 cents per gallon, with an average of $2. Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy said, “Such a strong weekly upward move is rare in the fall, but is explained by a confluence of factors, including oil prices hitting a new 2017 high, a major pipeline leak resulting in disruption, autumn refinery maintenance, but perhaps among the more surprising – robust demand for gasoline so late in the season.” Some slowdown in the increases can be expected, since the Explorer Pipeline has been repaired, he added.

… that, speaking of analyses, State Climatologist Jim Angel reports that October was the 10th wettest in Illinois since 1895. The largest monthly total in the state was 15.90 inches of precipitation in Glen Ellyn, and seven other sites in northeast Illinois reported more than 1 foot of precipitation in October. Several weather monitoring sites in northern and central Illinois reported seeing snow on Oct. 28, although only flurries occurred in most areas. The statewide average temperature for October in Illinois was 57.7 degrees, 3.3 degrees above normal and the 21st warmest October since 1895. The first 21 days of October were about 7 degrees above normal, and the last 10 days were 7 degrees below normal.


From our readers: We have the best readers. They have the best words.  
TG: I wanted to submit the attached photo in case you might find it amusing (and alarming?). The utility pole was replaced but a piece of the old pole remains, lashed very casually with some thin rope, dangling above our yard and our fence, which borders an alley. I thought the team that sawed it and strung it up a few weeks ago would come by and remove it, but so far they haven’t. I’m not sure if it’s permanent and/or why they didn’t just remove it entirely: it’s an oddity and a bit precarious. Maybe the Traffic Guy has seen this sort of thing before and can explain it?     – Jean P. Keleher

From TG: Thank you Ms. Keleher. TG has seen many a weird sight in Evanston but never anything like this. TG will forward a copy of this to the City and ask them what is going on with that.

TG: Possible answer to Lack of Lights on Bikes in Evanston. As someone who drives around Evanston a lot, both during daylight hours and at night, I have been very concerned about the danger of encountering bicycles at night that do not have bike lights – and are very hard to see.

Last night, we were driving south on Sheridan Road and about to turn onto Hinman Avenue. A man on a bicycle wearing dark clothing was making a turn at the same time, and his bike did not have a light on it. I almost hit him. I shouted at him and told him to get a light on his bike.

He shouted back at me, telling me to stop if I wanted to talk to him, and I did. I explained to him through our open car window that he was very hard to see at night on a bike with no light. If I had hit him, it would have been a bad night for both of us. He said he understood that, but that he was a Northwestern student with a lot of debt and a wife and a child
to support.

To emphasize my point, I got out of my car, gave him $20 and asked him to use the money to get a bike light. He was very surprised and thanked me.

Will he use the money for a bike light? I don’t know, but I do think he will think about it and hopefully be more careful and considerate of cars that can’t see him. If everyone in Evanston sees a bike without a light and gives them some money to purchase a light, hopefully they’ll do it for their safety and ours.

They’ll certainly be more aware of the hazard they are creating.  -- Frederick G. “Skip” Coggin

From TG: Mr. Coggin, your concern and generosity remind TG of how wonderful this town can be. What a great way to reverse course on an incident that could have sparked angry words, or worse. TG takes a few things away from your letter: Both you and the biker seemed willing to talk, something that rarely happens when bikers and drivers are “conversing.” You offered genuine concern as well as a solution to the problem. TG has also been concerned about barely visible bikers – wearing dark clothing and not having lights. Earlier this month, the City of Evanston and Northwestern University held their annual “Pedal Bright” event, handing out free bike lights at the NU arch and at the high school. Maybe winter biking will be brighter because of all these efforts.

The Traffic Guy thinks …
... that it’s really good that, again this year, there will be free holiday parking in City-owned garages and some surface lots: the three downtown garages and the lots at 1234 Chicago Ave., Central/Stewart, 720 Main St., and 727 Main St. The free parking is between 5 p.m. and midnight weekdays and all day Saturday (Sunday is already free), from Nov. 23 through Jan. 1. Spend your holiday money in Evanston.

… that this time of year the sky seems wider and freer, because one looks up through barren branches. The next supermoon will be Dec. 3, and since all the leaves should be off the trees by then, Evanstonians have a good chance of seeing it rise.  The supermoon about a year ago (11/14/16) was the closest since Jan. 26, 1948. The next time a full moon will come even closer to Earth is on Nov. 25, 2034, according to timeanddate.com.

… that, with Thanksgiving about a week away, folks may be thinking of autumn food.
History.com reports that the first Thanksgiving meal, in November of 1621, was an autumn harvest celebration with the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians. While conceding that no menu – nor any record of the “exact bill of fare” – exists, History.com says “the Pilgrim chronicler Edward Winslow noted in his journal that the colony’s governor, William Bradford, sent four men on a ‘fowling’ mission in preparation for the three-day event.” And that was before football.

Mr. Winslow also noted that the Wampanoags contributed five deer. Fruits? Blueberries, plums, grapes, gooseberries, raspberries, and, cranberries. But no potatoes. And likely no pie.



Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, November 25, 2017
Comment by: Jean SmilingCoyote

I've seen a lot of bicyclists on the north side of Chicago, where I live, whose bikes aren't legal for night riding. I'm not entirely sure what the current laws are, but when I bought my bike decades ago, it had the required rear reflector and also a reflector on each wheel. The front headlight was my responsibility, and choice. Even if I were in the income situation I should be in (based on my college education), instead of unemployed and destitute, I doubt I'd feel like giving anyone money to buy equipment to make their bikes comply with the reg's for night riding. It's our responsibility, and the basic equipment isn't that expensive maybe some of these people need education in skimping on other things to save up for this equipment. They are also responsible to learn the requirements and obey them.



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