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January 16, 2018

12/27/2017 1:47:00 PM
The Traffic Guy hears ...
There may be too many shortcuts across the median on Clark between Sherman and Orrington.RoundTable Photo
There may be too many shortcuts across the median on Clark between Sherman and Orrington.
RoundTable Photo

… that certain streets in south Evanston pose problems for pedestrians, particularly on busy Dodge Avenue. Between Main Street and Oakton Street on Dodge Avenue there are no crosswalks, so folks may have to walk tow or three blocks just to cross the street safely. While exercise is good for the mind and the body, sometimes those extra blocks can be a burden – to anyone pushing a baby carriage or stroller, for example, or walking with a cane or walker, or pushing/guiding someone in a wheelchair.

… that the Morton Grove-Niles Water Commission plans to build a 2,178-square-foot pumping station for potable water at McCormick Boulevard just south of Church Street. This will be Evanston-supplied water and the City of Evanston will operate the station remotely – it’ll be, as the Village of Skokie put it, “unmanned” but owned by a “regional service provider.”

… that public transportation is going to cost more next year, according to information from the RTA: The CTA will implement some fare increases, effective Jan.7: “a 25-cent increase in the base fare for bus and rail rides, a $5 increase in the cost of a 30-day pass, and increased reduced-fare rides by 10 to 15 cents to partially offset funding cuts from the State. The following fares will remain the same: 75-cent student fares; 1-Day, 3-Day and 7-Day unlimited ride CTA passes ($10, $20, and $28, respectively); and CTA Single-Ride and 1-Day Ventra tickets ($3 and $10, respectively). Train rides originating at O’Hare will remain $5. CTA’s average base fare is projected to be $1.17 in 2017, up slightly from 2016. With the fare increase in 2018, the average fare is budgeted to increase to $1.26 and increase further to $1.31 by 2020.”

… that Pace will implement the following changes as of Jan, 1: “Increase its full one-way fare price by $0.25 on regular fixed-route, Call-n-Ride and ADA paratransit services. Reduced one-way fare prices for regular fixed-route and Call-n-Ride services will increase by $0.15 when using Ventra transit value and by $0.10 when using cash. Transfer fares (available only when using Ventra transit value) will increase by $0.05. One-way fares for premium routes, such as I-55 Bus-on-Shoulder Express service, will increase by $0.50 (full fare) and $0.25 (reduced). No Pace-only passes will change price; however, the joint CTA/Pace 30-day pass will increase from $100 to $105. The average fare across all fare and pass types is projected to increase by 8.3% in 2018 to $1.35.”

… that Metra will also be charging more as of Feb.1, per the RTA:” For all fare zones, one-way fares will increase by $0.25, 10-ride tickets will increase by a range of $4.25 to $7.75, and monthly passes will increase by a range of $9 to $12.50. The proposed 10-ride and monthly pass prices reflect a lesser discount versus one-way fares. In addition, some reduced fare tickets and pass prices will increase.  Weekend pass prices will increase by $2. … In addition, a small number of weekday trains will be curtailed or eliminated on the North Central Service, South West Service and Rock Island Line, and weekend trains will be cut on the Milwaukee District North Line. Those changes will start Feb. 5, 2018.”

… that among the new laws for 2018 is one that mandates that vehicle-purchasers have to remove from their windshields the numbers from the car dealer that tell – or suggest – what the price of the car was before leaving the lot. Another new law allows 16- and 17-year-olds to sign up to be organ or tissue donors, or both, when they apply for a driver’s license or a State ID. It’s an option, not a mandate.  

… that State Climatologist Jim Angel reports wide swings in temperature across the State last month “with colder-than-normal temperatures canceling out the warmer-than normal days. By month’s end, November was slightly cooler than average.” Statewide, the average November temperature was 41.7 degrees, and the average precipitation was 2.13 inches, 1.34 inches below normal.” The state also experienced the 15th warmest fall on record, according to Dr. Angel’s report.

… that Dec. 18’s new moon ushered in the longest lunar month – the time between new moons – of the 21st century, according to an article by Bruce McClure of Earthsky.org in “Tonight.” He writes, “Astronomers mark the beginning of each lunar month, a period of approximately 29.5 days, at new moon. Lunar months are slightly different lengths …  Although the mean length of the lunar month lasts 29.53059 days (29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes and 3 seconds), this upcoming lunar month will be more than seven hours longer than the mean, having a duration of 29 days, 19 hours, and 47 minutes.”

From our readers: We have the best readers, and they have the best words:
TG: There is a median on Clark Street between Sherman Avenue and Orrington Avenue. There are two designated cross walks. However, there is no barrier on the median so there is nothing to prevent people (mostly students) from crossing at any point along the median. Additionally, I find both the north and south sides of the street to be poorly lighted. In the winter, when most are wearing dark coats, because the lighting is insufficient, it is difficult to see pedestrians crossing. I do not understand why a decorative fence cannot be installed on the median, except at the designated crosswalks to encourage crossing only at the cross walk. Additional lighting could be placed at the curb sides of the crosswalks so pedestrians could be seen before they enter the crosswalk. A few weeks ago, I almost hit a person who ran down the crosswalk without regard to traffic and was almost impossible to see. Prior to that, a large bus was parked along the south curb and a student ran around the front of the bus where he could not be seen and out into the street. I came very close to hitting him. If there had been a median barrier, I doubt if these incidents would have occurred. I hope this letter will bring this problem to the attention of NU and/or Evanston officials. One would hope that an obvious safety issue could be easily handled for the benefit of both pedestrians and drivers. – Barry Goldberg

TG: Thank you for your letter, Mr. Goldberg. You bring up some serious matters – the dangers of jaywalking, doubled when lighting is poor. Little lights such as those along Church Street across from the Library could help; that’s just what they provide, pedestrian lighting. Here’s a pic that shows one of the crosswalks as well as a couple of worn but not official paths across the median.

TG: I love the new bike lanes on Sheridan for NU students. The Haven students who get off the bus on Central Street west of Central Park are dodging cars to get across Central. As it gets dark earlier, I pray we don’t have a fatality there. – Beth Brand

From TG: Let’s hope the Haven kids will get to the stoplight at that intersection and cross only on green.

TG: In response to your request for traffic issues I had a couple sites I wanted to bring up. I’m fairly new to town. Custer is a great street but at Main northbound it’s a tough left turn west. Metra/CTA foot traffic makes it even less fun after 4 p.m. Does it need a light? What do people think about Sheridan now with the bike lane? It looks amazing, btw; not sure forcing northbound drivers to the left lane around Noyes (?) was necessary? Creates havoc it seems. Some of my old school neighbors hate what happened at Green Bay/Emerson/Ridge. They think The traffic going southbound on Ridge gets very backed up, like never before. Although I’m not sure, it might just be due to greater population. Any merit to his point? Custer, Florence, Isabelle, E. Prairie, and McCormick are my favorite streets. They move (shhh). – Larry Knox

From TG: Thank you for your thoughtful letter. TG thinks you may be right about halting traffic on Main at Custer – either a light, as you suggest, or a four-way stop. About the Emerson/Green Bay/Ridge monster: It is a problem in many directions. TG is more unhappy about (but understands the need for) the right-turn arrow from Emerson (westbound) onto Ridge but is delighted with the traffic light at Ashland/Green Bay, which in fact may be the cause of your friends’ unhappiness, because it does stall southbound traffic. Or make it more measured. Traffic regrets received too late for this time will appear soon. TG thanks everyone for their thoughts.

The Traffic Guy thinks…
… that the longest night of the year began on Jan. 20, not Dec. 21.

… that there are some regrets about this past year: the closing of the Upstairs Café, the Dodge bike lane snafus, that cyclists and drivers still seem to be striving for one-upsmanship rather than reciprocal accommodation. There has to be a better way. Mutually escalating aggressiveness is a lose-lose proposition.

… and TG’s fervent hope each new year: Peace





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