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home : columns : columns May 27, 2016

7/3/2012 3:52:00 PM
The Traffic Guy hears ...
RoundTable photo
RoundTable photo

… that road construction and repair continues all over town: on Dodge (Simpson to Emerson and then around Lake), Church (downtown and then further west) and Sheridan, to name the main ones. The viaducts at Grove, Dempster and Greenleaf are now all installed, and so a lot of mid-Evanston east-west traffic is resuming. Construction dust and delays can be a nuisance, but – as anyone who has driven more than a mile on these bumpy streets knows – they are in need of repair.

… that, speaking of streets, the City has hired Infrastructure Management Services of Rolling Meadows “for pavement-condition evaluation and right-of-way .asset management.” In 2007 the City hired IMS to help develop a five-year street-resurfacing plan. That program ended last year, and a new five-year plan is needed.

The Public Works Department feels a Citywide street-condition survey is needed to develop a 2013-17 plan. The company will perform a street-surface-condition survey of all City streets, checking out cracks, ruts, roughness and macro-texture; assessing (in a non-destructive manner) roadway base and sub-grade conditions assessment, evaluating “appropriate pavement rehabilitation strategies”; and providing a “cost/benefit analysis of various alternative programs.” There’s a lot of fancy, impressive equipment involved:  a “road surface tester (RST) enhanced with digital imagery and GPS capabilities.” The machine will travel each road, IMS say, “using both single-and two-direction testing. … The RST, with its 11 laser sensors, is capable of collecting a full array of pavement condition data complete with high-accuracy GPS coordinates and multiple-view digital images for both rigid and flexible pavements (in real time), as it traverses the roadway.” Coupled with this is an integrated digital direct condition rating subsystem (DDCRS) that will “supplement the RST data for additional distress data elements, quality assurance and inventory information.” The equipment has a “laser bar with an array of laser cameras, rate gyroscopes, inclinometers and accelerometers to measure pavement roughness, rutting, cracking, and geometrics.” And now for the right-of-way stuff: The RST will use “high-end GPS coordinate data and digital cameras” to analyze and evaluate the following (their list): signs, pedestrian crossings, drainage structures, storm inlets, bridges, railroad crossings, signals, street lights, utility poles, fire hydrants, trees, sidewalks, bike paths, barrier walls, medians, curbing, fences, ditches and the like – essentially a colonoscopy of our street-way infrastructure.

… that the City and its partners, the Northwest Water Commission, the Northwest Suburban Municipal Joint Action Water Agency, the Village of Niles, the Village of Lincolnwood, the City of Des Plaines and the City of Park Ridge, will fund an engineering study on a proposed water supply transmission main to help Evanston expand its water-customer base. The City says the study would “determine the size, potential routes, methods of construction and preliminary construction costs for a transmission main to supply water to these potential new wholesale water customers while providing a backup transmission main to the Northwest Water Commission, a current wholesale water customer.” TG wonders whether and hopes that water can get us out of some of our financial crisis.

… that the City will purchase what it hopes will be a six-month supply of fuel from Palatine Oil Company Incorporated, which received the Northwest Municipal Conference bid for all grades and types of fuels used by City vehicles.

… that the City will purchase a new fire engine – a replacement, not an addition. This half-million-dollar baby will be made by Pierce Manufacturing Inc. in Appleton, Wis.

… that, speaking of purchases, the City is going to purchase some “street furniture,” as they call it – lights, bike racks and the like: 141 Hawthorne-style lights eight Melville-style benches, 20 Emerson bike racks and 16 Poe-style litter containers – from Landscapeforms in Kalamazoo Mich. The lights, benches, trash cans and most of the bike racks will be placed along Church Street between Benson and Chicago avenues and part of the east side of Orrington between Church and Davis. The other bike racks will be placed at the Civic Center.

The City said that City Council approved the style of the lights, and the other “amenities were selected from the same style family as the lighting.” In addition to these lights, the City will purchase 17 pedestrian lights to be installed along Hartrey between Howard and the CTA tracks and the sidewalk right-of-way area that connects Hartrey to Howard.

… that “Search & Effect,” the public art for the Sherman Avenue garage, has won approval – some of it grudging.  Readers will remember that the City approved $75,000 for public art, using funds from the Washington National TIF. “Search & Effect,” to be created by Krivanek + Breaux/Art + Design for many of the windows in the garage, appears to be several words, embodying concepts such as “Initiate” and “Envision,” to be mounted behind several windows a few stories above the ground. A pyramid-shaped spotlight will highlight the words and radiate downward to illuminate other words on the lower-level façade (“folly,” “feeling,” fate,” “beauty” and “wisdom,” for example) – the “Effect” portion of the piece.

From our readers:

TG: This evening (6/25) at about 8 p.m. I entered Raymond Park at the SE corner of Chicago and Grove.  A bronze sculpture – of seven chairs arranged in a circle – is located there.  The sculpture is “Conversations: Here and Now” by Indira Johnson (2009). I noticed that the back of one of the chairs had been broken off and was missing.  Also, the concrete base near the chair had been freshly chipped in several places. I don’t know how long ago this might have happened. But I think I passed by the sculpture Sunday evening and didn’t see this damage. 

Was this a case of mindless or intentional vandalism? Or was it an accident involving a collision? If a collision, did the collider belong to the City (e.g., garbage truck) or to a citizen? Was this damage reported at the time?  (I did call 311 and leave a voicemail reporting this damage.) Kindly check on the status of this incident and “report back.” 

Thanks! – Fred

From TG: Police Chief  Richard Eddington told the RoundTable that the police are “not really sure. The art was damaged and a sizable piece was broken off and removed from the park. That section was returned a day or so later.” TG also hears that the artist, Indira Johnson, has sent the piece to the foundry to see how it can best be repaired. Here’s a photo (at left) of what the “Conversations” looked like on the morning of June 26.

The Traffic Guy thinks …

… that the signs above may be a case of the left hand’s not knowing what the right hand was doing.

… Hope everyone enjoyed the Fourth of July parade.

Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, July 16, 2012
Article comment by: Jim Morris

Question, not a comment. Why did the city remove the vertical orange cylinders on Church, just west of the viaduct, that were installed, I assume, to prevent people from turning right onto the north (left) lane of Church from Benson? There is a big sign indicating that this turn is illegal, but no longer any cylinders to block that turn.

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