…that repairs on

Sheridan Road

between

Main Street

and

South Boulevard

are scheduled to begin by the end of the month. For the first stage of the four-stage project, according to the City, one lane of southbound traffic will be open, and northbound traffic will be directed to use

Chicago Avenue

. Winter break will be from December to March, and Stage 3 will occur from March to May, and the final stage in June and July of next year.

The new road will be asphalt, replacing the primarily macadam road that’s there now. The concrete base will be repaired and re-striped. Unfortunately, the present road is for the most part not recyclable, as were parts of Ridge and McCormick. Crushing and re-using the materials for the resurfacing of McCormick saved the City about $200,000.

Here’s what else we’ll get from the approximately $2 million project, financed with state and federal money: a new storm sewer system on Kedzie from Michigan to Sheridan and on Sheridan from South to Main (about 2,000 feet altogether), a new water main, sidewalk repairs where needed, new driveway aprons, a new concrete curb, new parkways on the east side of Sheridan.

Here’s what we won’t get: removal of trees and changes to street lights or traffic signals.

Residents in the area can expect to see disruptions in water services, and driveway and parking-access interruptions. The City and E.S.I. Consultants of Naperville – the company hired to do the project – promise lots of notice and response to concerns. Here are the numbers: Sat Nagar, senior engineer for the City, 847-866-2966; and Chris Hennessy, resident engineer for E.S.I., 630-940-4223.

… that the City’s Parking Committee has postponed changing its name to the Transportation Committee – guess they’re planning to give the illusion of (or allusion to) movement to their work.

… that the City’s Site Plan and Appearance Review Committee (SPAARC) gave preliminary approval for “proposed interim parking and landscaping” at the property at 1603-29 Orrington (from the bank plaza on Davis north to about the alley). According to the SPAARC notes, the “proposed parking will provide 21 spaces and additional landscaping, extensively screening the on-grade parking area (Final Planned Development will provide 24 spaces and parking lot will slide to north, as originally approved); the parking is to be for tenants and users of 1629 Orrington and to be so stated on a monument sign; the developer will put in new membranes to alleviate leakage problems in underground garage and a few other items.” Since these are “interim” proposals, it sounds like there is going to be some movement on the site, which has been pretty fallow for a few years.

… that the Active Transportation Alliance is asking folks to “go car-free” on Sept. 22. The ATA says it is partnering with RTA, CTA, Pace and Metra “to celebrate the ways we all can get around sans auto.” Interested folks can learn about options at www.chicagolandcarfree.org. Speaking of that, a recent issue of Barron’s said that United States gasoline consumption fell in the first quarter of this year more than 7 percent from its 2007 peak “before rebounding slightly in the second. … But the slump actually has masked the beginning of a profound, long-term shift. … [Some market gurus] expect the nation’s gasoline demand to fall .05 percent, tick up 1 percent in 2010, then remain flat in 2011 as supplies tighten and prices stay high.” In a similar vein, Congress may be considering offering tax credits of up to $12,500 to people who purchase cars that run on natural gas. The carrot for this is that natural gas is about half the price and comes with about a third of the harmful emissions as gasoline. The trick is finding the fuel supply. Remember that the City last year disbanded EVNORSKO, the Evanston-Northwestern-Skokie consortium that was supposed to run their fleets on natural gas.
It was too expensive, they said.

… that the City is providing denim shirts for aldermen to wear at City functions, art fairs and the like, so they will be visible and identifiable to constituents. They also have ID cards they can wear around their necks. “Wally is accessorizing us,” said Seventh Ward Alderman Jane Grover.

… that Metra has unveiled its new website, which, Metra officials say, “will allow customers to personalize their commute. The … site … will be fully translated into Spanish … and offer Metra passengers the latest technologies for added convenience and flexibility. New site features allow commuters to create a ‘My Metra’ account to order tickets online, create customized views of train schedules, and receive personalized e-mail alerts about service updates.”

… that this Latin question is circulating on the Internet: Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam possit materiari? 
Anyone who knows the answer (not the translation, which most will get outright), should e-mail TG right away: info@
evanstonroundtable.com.

… that there is some confusion about the photo entitled “Mellow bittern” that ran in the Sept. 2 column.  A few readers believe that the photo is actually of an immature black-crowned night heron rather than a bittern, for example:

TG: The photo in your last column captioned “A mellow bittern” is actually
a young black-crowned night heron. The herons, especially adults, are quite common along the canal and have been summer residents here for many years.

Thank you. 
– Sue Robert

From TG: Here’s the photo again, plus one of a certified bittern and one of a young black-crowned night heron (see photos, above). Help us ascertain the bittern truth.

From our readers

TG: When will the double yellow line be repainted on the

Main Street

bridge over the canal just east of McCormick? There has been none for years, and I am tired of westbound traffic driving on my side of the road when I’m going east. Are “they” waiting for someone to die first?

– Kathy Stohrer

TG: I traverse Dempster regularly. Going east, it is almost impossible to make the lights from McCormick to Dodge where Dempster goes from two lanes to one. Quite often you cannot make even one light. Is this “traffic calming” or just bad traffic engineering? I am surprised the Greens are not up in arms at all that exhaust as cars idle. Turning the engine off and restarting each time would wear starters out. Skokie traffic lights seem not to have this problem.

– Vito Brugliera

TG: Will the City ever repave

Oak Avenue

between Church and Clark Streets? The gateway from southbound

Ridge Avenue

to downtown, it’s looked and felt like a moonscape for years. How much could it cost to repave one block?

– Dave Borland

From TG: The RT sent these questions to the City and is still awaiting answers from City folks. TG will post the answers at evanstonroundtable.com when the answers are given.

TG: Thought you might enjoy this
oddity – a booted school bus – on the
1700 block of Greenwood.  

Will  the teachers accept Johnny’s excuse for not being in school?

– Bernard Rosenstein

The Traffic Guy thinks …

… that the State of Illinois ought to amend its laws on video poker games to allow the machines in places where people could really use the diversion. Anyone in a bar does not really need another distraction – there are already friends (usually a friendly bartender), often darts, pool or chess. Where we really could use the video games is Laundromats, because people already have …their change ready and plan to be there for a couple of hours anyway, or doctors’ offices, to help diffuse the anxiety.