… that Dodge Avenue between Dempster and Lee is now bordered by Christo-wannabe fences.

It will be torn up for water-main improvement (that is, replacement) until about November, with street resurfacing planned for April, followed by curb replacement and parkway restoration. In the meantime, pay close attention to those “No Parking” signs. The City advises that, although some portions of the sidewalk will be replaced because of damage during the water-work, only the damaged part will be replaced. Gewalt Hamilton Associates is the consulting firm; the resident engineer is Dave Marquardt (847-344-4492). 

… that the City’s website lists the following construction projects (but not in this order): alleys: Greenwood/Brown, Leonard/Asbury and Madison Place/Pitner; bridge (Church); resurfacing: Bryant, Central (Elm to Ridge), Dempster (east of Chicago), Golf (McDaniel to Crawford), Gross Point (southwest of Central), Lake (along ETHS), Sheridan (South), Lakeside Court; reconstruction: Sheridan/Isabella; viaduct: CTA (Church); storm sewer: Kedzie (Michigan to Sheridan); streetscape: Main Library, Church/Orrington; and water main replacements: Dempster (at McDaniel), Dodge (south of Crain) Greenleaf (east of Chicago), Park Place (Gross Point to Central Park).

… that Main Street was temporarily torn up as well. Watch for these portable (and now plastic, not concrete) barriers from time to time.

… that ComEd won approval from the Site Plan and Appearance Review Committee to install a 6-foot-by-3-foot mid-circuit recloser on a utility pole on the south side of Isabella between Eastwood and Ashland. According to the website of Cooper Power Systems, mid-circuit reclosers are designed to “sense and interrupt fault currents and automatically restore service after momentary outage. The automatic circuit recloser is essentially a self-contained device with the necessary intelligence to sense overcurrents to time and interrupt fault currents, and to re-energize the line by reclosing automatically.”  ComEd says this recloser will allow them to reset the circuitry remotely if power is interrupted and will improve service to “hundreds” of residential Evanston and Wilmette ComEd customers. ComEd says the decision to locate the recloser there was based on the number and length of outages and number of customers affected. The representative at the SPAARC meeting said he was “not aware of influence of Northwestern University in this decision,” according to the minutes of the meeting.

… that a Green Bus Project vehicle was spotted recently on Lincoln Street – green on the sides and a gold logo on a red field in the rear. It runs on waste vegetable oil and is traveling around the country to share information about healthy lifestyles and sustainability.  

… that the Midwest High Speed Rail Association recently honored Senator Martin Sandoval and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn. The MHSRA has plans that would see 220-mph express trains providing 2.5-hour trips between major cities and 110-mph regional trains connecting smaller cities and towns. Environmental and other costs being reasonable, this can’t come too soon for TG.

… that kids at Baker Demonstration School (which used to be in Evanston and has now slipped over the northern border) recently saw a rehabilitated great horned owl fly away. It was released from the soccer field where last spring it had been caught in a soccer net. The owl – Illinois’ largest owl – spent the summer in Flint Creek Rehabilitation Center of Barrington while a tendon was on the mend.

… that the Active Transportation Alliance is supporting House Bill 43, which would require drivers to stop for all pedestrians in crosswalks, including mid-block crosswalks that do not have a stop sign or traffic light. Current law requires drivers to yield and is vague and difficult to enforce. According to the ATA, “more than 6,000 people in Illinois are killed while walking along or across streets. HB 43 is the solution for stemming this preventable epidemic on Illinois roads.”

… that the Alliance for the Great Lakes is calling for a “separation of the Mississippi River from the Great Lakes” as a permanent solution (a fairly drastic but possibly necessary one) to keep the Great Lakes free of the invasive Asian carp that even now are bearing down on the electrical barrier operating in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal.

The Traffic Guy thinks …

… that Fifth Ward Alderman Delores Holmes has a great idea about painting crosswalks in different colors. But while Ms. Holmes seems to be content with the addition of yellow striping, TG sees more possibilities, for example: blue and orange stripes in the ETHS crosswalks, school colors for the other schools, purple and white stripes around Northwestern, and the City’s colors – but in wavy lines, suggestive of the lake – in the downtown area and other shopping districts. The City could expand its “Paint Evanston’s Plows” program (under which students paint the City’s snowplow blades) to “Stripe Evanston’s Crosswalks.” For one thing, these would be memorable and beautiful. For another, if traffic were slowed or halted while the kids were painting, then by the time the stripes were set, folks would already be accustomed to slowing down in that area.

… that those “Drive Carefully” signs should really read “Drive More Carefully.”