Some residents are protesting speeders along residential streets in Northeast Evanston. Others are stealing these signs.

… that the City is purchasing some new water meters and some new equipment to read water meters.

… that, again, the City did not purchase “green” vehicles when it had to replace a car and a couple of trucks. While the City says most of the trucks run on biodiesel fuel, the car was definitely not a hybrid. As one alderman said the last time this came up, “It’s expensive to be green.”

… that some Fifth Ward residents are putting pressure on the owner of the bright, multicolored house on Emerson to repaint it. Speaking of the Fifth Ward, TG also hears that residents are also lobbying to get rid of the billboard at Green Bay and Simpson. TG would like to see that one, and all the others, gone from the City.

… that Evmark solicited a lot of ideas for its re-branding of downtown Evanston but ultimately chose a Chicago rather than an Evanston firm to do the honors. Speaking of snubbing Evanston firms for Chicago ones, TG also hears that Y.O.U. skipped right over to big Chicago architecture firms for help in designing its new quarters. Seems like the chosen firm might have an Evanston architect, though.

… that one of the next AT&T VRADs will be plunked down at

1010 Noyes St

.

There’s not much that can be done about these ugly, ugly eyesores (that is emphatic, not redundant), except continuing to protest to the City and the state legislature and ask AT&T to come up with something more reasonable.

… that some of the folks on

Asbury Avenue

are unhappy with speeding vehicles there. Seems that folks  impatient with repairs on Isabella are racing down Asbury to Central. Here is one of the signs one of the residents there created:

Apparently others are unhappy with the signs, because they seem to be disappearing.

… that there is a proposal to construct a four-story addition to the Weissbourd-Holmes Family Focus building to provide elevator access there.

… that street cleaning continues this summer. Do not park on the streets on the dates and at the times your street is supposed to be cleaned. Do not pay attention to the state of the street – respect the sign. You will get a ticket (or worse) if you park on the street when you are not supposed to – even if (again, TG emphasizes) even if the street has already been cleaned.

… that, at last, we have a definitive statement from a politician: We have two Evanstonians saying they’re running but declining to mention the office they’re seeking (an open secret, TG knows), but this week Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky said she will not run for
U.S. Senate.

… that State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey (www.sws.uiuc.edu) reports that “wet conditions in March, April, and May resulted in 15.9 inches of rain, 4.5 inches above normal and the fifth-wettest spring since statewide records began in 1895. May precipitation was 6.0 inches, 1.7 inches above normal and the 19th-wettest May on record.” This spring, Mr. Angel says, “had almost two more inches of rain than the 14.1 inches of last spring. Historically, wet springs do not lead to wet summers. In fact, of the other nine wettest springs in the top-ten list, rainfall in the following summers was above normal in four cases and below normal in five cases, with an overall average of 1 inch below normal.” Soil temperatures, he reports, were around normal, down to a depth of about 4 inches.”

… that the folks at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) are looking at ways to bring Daniel Burnham’s ideas about the open lakefront and forest preserves into the mid-21st century. They are inviting public, interactive comment about “how to best accommodate more than 2.8 million new neighbors who will join [us] over the next 30 years. With a series of engaging tools and a nod to Daniel Burnham, CMAP is launching ‘Invent the Future,’ a new phase to solicit vital public participation in the ‘GO TO 2040’ comprehensive regional plan,” timed to coincide with this year’s Burnham Centennial celebration. Here is what you, Mr. and Ms. Member of the Chicago-area Community, can do: Check out Web tools at www.goto2040.org to create growth scenarios, experiment with trade-offs and compare your creations with those of others; or visit an interactive “Invent the Future” kiosk at dozens of locations, including Millennium Park (at the temporary Burnham pavilions), Metra stations, libraries, festivals and other sites around the region. Visitors can answer a series of basic questions that deal with complex challenges, and then see the impact of those choices on the future.

From our readers: TG: I’m wondering if you know or can find out anything about the new grocery store at Oakton and Asbury. It’s been “opening soon” now for months. I’d love to see it open – it was nice back when there used to be a grocery store in that spot.                      – Gail Bowker

From TG: The folks in the City’s Community Development Department say that progress is slow but continual on that project and that they hope to have a clearer update later this month. Like you, TG eagerly anticipates the opening of the market there.

TG: The monument to firefighters at Fireman’s Park looks like it has been decapitated. Was it vandalism or is the City doing some kind of work on the monument? Thanks.        – Ian Mitchell

From TG: Paul D’Agostino, superintendent of Parks/Forestry for the City, writes in response to your question, “This damage was due to vandalism, and the Fire Department is working on the repair/replacement of the damaged piece.”

TG: Could you check out why Sam’s Club fenced over a walkway on the south side of their building that allowed people to walk from

Cleveland Street

to the parking lot? This walkway was used by many neighbors to walk to the Sam’s Club and the other establishments in the shopping center. Many Sam’s Club employees used this walkway as well. I heard it was for liability reasons (someone fell during the winter season). If that is true, it made me wonder why Sam’s Club can ensure they will adequately clear the parking lot of ice and snow, but not a walkway. It seems ironic given we are trying to encourage people to walk and bike more, but they fenced over the walkway on Earth Day. –

Betsy Lane

From TG: TG has requested the very able folks at the City’s Engineering Department to help find out the answer. Those folks are busy but very helpful, so expect an answer soon, and TG will post it online.

TG: A few days ago, I was driving east on

Church Street

and approaching the

Sherman Avenue

intersection to turn right. In the bicycle lane to my right, four or five cyclists were (quite appropriately) coming along just at my back bumper. I thought there was a serious prospect if I turned right, even with my turn signal on, that the first one or two would plow into the passenger side of the car or have to make a sudden stop that might have dumped one or more of them. Because I’m a fairly cautious driver and was paying attention, I stopped till they passed, then turned. It seems like a planning fault for a car to have to turn across the lane where oncoming bicycles are. Who would logically have the right of way – and how would anyone know? The bike lane doesn’t continue on Church east of Sherman, or around the corner on Sherman, so I guess at that point the cyclists are left to their own devices. Or is this a case of shared streets and driver responsibility as described in your column this week? Call me a skeptic, but this seems more like “encouraging vehicular chaos” than “foreclosing selfish driver options.”

– Patty Baker

From TG: Traffic engineers at the City are working on this answer, as well. TG agrees with your assessment that this might be encouraging the vehicular chaos out of which creative solutions may arise, but the City may still be in the early stages of it. Seems that “shared lanes” may be a euphemism for “not enough space.” Another, similarly disconcerting situation is the continuation of the bike lane on Davis going west from Oak past Ridge: Because no bike traffic is allowed on Ridge, bicyclists must go from the
right-hand lane over toward the center, to continue west. It makes sense, traffically speaking, but can be a bit unnerving the first few times one encounters it.

TG: How come the City doesn’t allow commuters to park in the lot beneath the

Central Street

el station? I know it is supposed to be for golfers, but how much golfing is there in the winter? Even in the summer the lot’s not full. Seems to me Evanston could generate more revenue by opening up a part of it year-round to daylong commuter parking.

– Les Jacobson

From TG: TG sees your point, does not exactly know where to find a satisfactory answer but will keep searching and when there is a reasonable enough response, will post it online.

The Traffic Guy thinks …

… that even though this cold wet weather may have folks wondering if summer will ever come, everyone should have faith and buy beach tokens soon; the price goes up in a couple of days. And don’t  forget the Starlight Concerts and summer festivals – starting with the Custer Avenue Festival of the Arts (a.k.a., the Custer Street Fair) June 20.

… reluctantly, that a certain editorial in a certain Chicago-based newspaper about Evanston‘s scavenger ordinance is right on several levels. And it is a bad ordinance for a lot of other reasons. For those who missed the weekend flame, an Evanston ordinance essentially makes homeowners pay the City $25 or more to pick up stuff that, in many cases, scavengers will remove free of charge. First, how does the City get dibs on trash in the first place? If the City thinks it owns trash/appliances/scrap that homeowners have put into the alleys or driveways for pickup, then the stuff is theirs, and they should just pick it up for free. If they don’t own the stuff, they should let the free market take its course and leave any transactions (such as picking up appliances and such from alleys) to the owner and the scavenger. Third, if the City picks up this stuff (and we agree that some stuff should be  picked up, but only after it’s been, one might say, picked over), it is likely to end up in a landfill, whereas scavengers are in the business of repairing and recycling so others can re-use. If we propose to be a green City, let’s dump that ordinance, fine overloaded trucks when necessary and get on with the business of the City.

… that the City should instruct the police to enforce the dog ordinances in crowded public places. In just the normal go-rounds on a typical warm, sunny weekend, TG’s attention has been called to at least ten violations: dogs running loose in parks, jumping into the water at beaches other than the dog beach and unleashed on pedestrian paths. The City has spent a ton of money on Pooch Park, dedicated part of the lakefront to dogs and tried to keep the other parks for people alone. TG realizes that some dogs are OK running loose in small neighborhood areas where people know and love them. Allowing dogs to run loose in areas where there are a lot of people is not really safe for children, adults or dogs.