… that the CTA is holding a public hearing tomorrow night at 6 p.m. at the Levy Center on the proposed elimination of the #200 Main Shuttle and the adoption of the #N201 Central/Sherman late night service as a permanent route. The CTA says the elimination of the #200 Main Shuttle route is being considered because of “low ridership” – fewer than 100 rides per day. Written comments may be submitted up to July 28 via e-mail or by writing to Chicago Transit Authority, P.O. Box 7567, Chicago, IL 60680, Attn: Gregory Longhini, Assistant Secretary Chicago Transit Board, or to glonghini@transit

that Council has renewed its contract with North Shore Towing, increasing the fees for those who find their cars hauled away. Now anyone towed by the City will see a $145 tow fee for a passenger car and a higher one for trucks. TG recalls a meeting a couple of years ago when Lincoln Park Towing submitted a bid for the contract, and several aldermen on the Administration and Public Works Committee spontaneously broke out singing the Steve Goodman song, “Lincoln Park Pirates.” At least with North Shore, the money stays in Evanston.

… that the City plans to repave sev-eral streets in the 2010 capital programs, coordinating the street resurfacing with water/sewer work to avoid repeated tear-ups of the street. Fifth Ward Alderman Delores Holmes said recently she wished Hovland Court would be on the year 2010 list, but it didn’t make it this time. Good news, though: Of the $10.4 million cost of the project, $2.7 million will come from the federal government; $600,000 from the state; and $1.2 million from the motor fuel tax, which can be used only for specified purposes. Thus about 43 percent of the project is essentially subsidized. Eighth Ward Alderman Ann Rainey noting that a substantial amount of the funding comes from the federal government, said at the July 13 City Council meeting, “That’s a good thing.”

… that other federal funds will share the cost of the portion of the Sheridan Road rehab between South and Main. More than half of the project’s funding – $1.32 million of $2.61 million (construction and engineering costs) comes from American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Funds, also known as the stimulus package.

… that still more federal funding covered some of last year’s Ridge Avenue project: The federal government contributed $2.4 million and the state chipped in $1.2 million well before the stimulus package arrived. Further, change orders approved at Council on July 12 reduced the overall construction costs, allowing a net savings of more than $259,000 on the $6.7 million project.

… that, as many already know, infrastructure and water main improvements are already underway: on Park Place from Gross Point to Central Park (water main replacements, which began last week, then patching and resurfacing the street, replacing the curbs and adding accessible ramps at intersections – all expected to be completed by the end of September); on Lake Street from McDaniel to Elmwood (begun this week and lasting for 13 weeks), as crews replace asphalt for the entire street segment and also replace “selected” sidewalks, curbs, gutters and driveways. There will also be “spot sewer repairs and structure reconstruction at various locations on Lake Street,” according to the City, which provided the RT with all this construction information. The Illinois Department of Transportation will be contracting a resurfacing project on Dempster Street from Chicago to Judson, removing “distressed pavement surfaces, repaving the street and re-striping” when necessary. IDOT expects the project to be completed by the fall. A similar project is taking place on Sheridan Road and South Boulevard, removing the existing distressed pavement surfaces, repaving the streets and re-striping the streets as needed. This project, too, is expected to be completed by the fall. Watch for and heed temporary “No Parking” signs, and mark – or let someone know about – underground sprinkler systems, etc. Finally, the Isabella construction is expected to be completed by the end of the month, but then look out for the Central Street repairs: McDaniel to Sherman, paid for by IDOT.

…that Sprint is putting some “telecommunication [dish] antennae up on a pole at 222 Chicago, a pole at 1655 Foster, the rooftop at 860 Hinman and the 1101 Washington building to provide wireless Internet access. Sprint also plans to add to the wireless panel antennas already up on the roofs of 2145 Sheridan and 1900 Sherman and to add a microwave dish to the equipment already on the smokestack at ETHS – all for wireless connections.

… that Robert Crown Center and Chandler Community Center will be getting some new parking-lot lighting.

… that from the top of the world there is more sad news about climate change. The thinning ice layer above the Arctic Circle is making it very hard for walruses to find ice footing. Thus, they are spending so much time swimming that when they finally get to dry land they are exhausted and drooping, letting people come closer to them than usual.

… that the annual CowaLUNGa bike tour from Gurnee Mills to Hubertus, Wis., will take place Aug. 1-3. It’s three days and 190 miles, but participants can participate at several levels, with a fundraising pledge. Call Niki Bartosiak at 312-628-0212 or go to www.cowalunga.com.

… that Cintas Corporation reports a “tight race” in its eighth annual America’s Best Public Restroom Contest. This year’s finalists are the Drake Hotel in Chicago; the Tremont Plaza Hotel in Baltimore; Shoji Tabuchi Theatre in Branson, Mo.; Radio City Music Hall in New York City; Canlis Restaurant in Seattle, Wash.; The Tampa Theatre in Tampa, Fla.; NOVA 535 in St. Petersburg, Fla.; The Fox Theatre in Detroit; Macy’s Department Store in San Francisco; and Ziffirino Ristorante in the Venetian Resort, Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas. Go to www.bestrestroom.com for a photographic tour and a chance to vote.  Cintas adds, “While these finalists are all quite unique, they have one thing in common: All are exceptionally clean.”

From our readers: TG: Your column in the last issue in June mentioned the lack of enforcement of the leaf blower ordinance. A suggestion? The City allows people to report violations of the smoking ordinance online. How about letting us report these violations? With a phone number from the side of the truck or a license plate, the City could track the offenders down, give them the standard warning, then maybe ticket them for repeated violations. I wonder how many tickets are being written for this. I’ll bet it’s not many. When I’ve called police, it seems to be a very low priority for them, to the point of aggravation. It is possible to hear the whine of a leaf blower almost any hour of any weekday before 2 p.m. just about anywhere in Evanston. You would think that with this law on the books for 14 years, the lawn services could not claim to have no knowledge of it. I like your idea of police enforcing this relentlessly for a couple of weeks to get the lawn services
to comply.                  – Emily Guthrie


From TG: What a great idea – reporting violations online. Wish it could be done with some other annoying violations of quality-of-life ordinances.


The Traffic Guy thinks …

… that a story posted on Yahoo.com claimed to prove that cats really do control people. This seems to be true also of the City’s Human Services Committee, which is (thankfully) re-working the cat-limitation ordinance to an anti-hoarding ordinance.

… that if the City is indeed going to get new parking meters (again), they should either end the meter-time at 6 p.m. or expand the time on the meters to at least four hours, so folks can enjoy a somewhat long but uninterrupted evening. Also, TG has heard of a “two-fer” meter, which the City might investigate. It’s similar to the two-meter, single post ones the City has now but is in fact one single meter from which one can chose the parking space (right or left) for which the money is

Hope everyone enjoyed the Ethnic Arts Festival and the Grand Prix of Cycling.


… Looking forward to the History Center’s Ice Cream Social, the Lakeshore Arts Festival, the Community Picnic and then back to you-know-what.