The new sculpture by artist Hubertus von der Goltz atop the Maple Avenue Garage.

… that there was an error in TG’s recent spate of answers to questions from readers. The new recycling bins will not make it to all single-family households
in Evanston until mid-January, not mid-December.

… that there were lots of props and posters at the CTA open house at Fleetwood-Jourdain last week. Basically, the CTA is embarking on a (at present, fundless) vision for its lines between Addison in Chicago and Linden in Wilmette. We, as part of the Red Line and the Purple Line,  fit right in there. A couple of our CTA stations are of historic significance; only a couple are ADA-compliant; and most are likely to be upgraded as the funding comes in. Perhaps most importantly, TG learned that the CTA tests its shored-up viaducts every month.

… that December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving (3D) Prevention Month. Last year in Illinois 1,042 people were killed in driving accidents – 362 involved an impaired driver.

… that the AT&T VRADs (video-ready access devices) are returning. The City has received an application for 13 new VRAD locations: 910 Foster, 819 Foster, 1616 Hinman, 1710 Sherman, 1547 Elmwood, 1551 Wesley, 1511 Church, 1715 Darrow, 705 Main, 436 Ridge, 311 Ridge, 200 Ridge and 601 Mulford. Meetings on the rest are likely to be scheduled soon, but anyone interested could contact the City’s zoning, traffic or community development departments. On Nov. 19 the Site Plan and Appearnce Review Committee took a field trip to the Foster, Hinman and Sherman sites, and in two cases (TG learned) the locations were in alleys and the group found slightly better locations (less visible and away from vehicle paths).

In another location the group found an alley to be a viable alternative to a proposed parkway spot. In yet another case, on a parkway near Foster, the group wants AT&T to push the CTA into allowing a VRAD under the Foster CTA line. AT&T and City folks seem to think that the CTA would ignore their requests, but perhaps residents in the area or the Stop the Boxes folks can take up the cause.

… that representatives from RTA, CTA, Metra, PACE and the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce are “joining a national delegation of transit and business leaders in Washington, D.C., during the White House Jobs Summit to showcase the benefits of investing in the ‘ready-to-go’ mass transit infrastructure projects that will create and sustain jobs and protect the environment immediately and into the next several decades.” Moving Beyond Congestion, a consortium of local mass transit entities and others, said in a prepared statement, “Earlier this year, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) released a study, at the request of Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, which identified current needs for the largest transit systems in the country. According to the study, the seven largest transit systems, including Chicago, account for approximately 80 percent of total annual rail trips, but suffer from a backlog of $50 billion in repair needs.” Let’s hope this group went by rail or bus, or at most economy-class air.

… that, as many folks suggested, November was uncharacteristically warm – the seventh warmest on record for the state based on data going back to 1895, according to information from State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illionis State Water Survey ( Here’s more: “Based on preliminary data in Illinois, the statewide average temperature for November was 46.9 degrees, 5.1 degrees above normal. The warmest November on record is a tie between 1931 and 2001, both with 49.8 degrees. … The statewide precipitation for November was 2.6 inches, 0.7 inches below normal. ‘It is very unusual to have two back-to-back exceptionally wet years like this. The January-November precipitation total for this year was 46.2 inches, the third wettest on record. Last January-November was 46.1 inches, the fourth wettest on record. In fact, 2009 is already the tenth wettest year on record, even if no precipitation falls in December,’ Dr. Angel said.”

… that “Encounter,” by artist Hubertus von der Goltz, the new sculpture atop the Maple Avenue Garage, will soon be dedicated. It features two figures delicately balancing and moving toward each other. TG expects that Mayor Liz will cut the ribbon on the beam between the two figures – and expects no less of a balancing act by City Council when it comes to the budget. 

From our readers: TG: I’m sure a lot of readers recall, I don’t know how long ago, when we could dump our leaves in the street. That was before the year of early winter when piles became solid ice, street parking could not be had, and most streets were narrowed to one lane. Street dumping ended shortly thereafter.

  1. However, I think the trouble is worth avoiding the risk of another really big mess.                              – James Moore

From TG: Good point, Mr. Moore. Thanks.

 The Traffic Guy thinks …

… that one way the City could save money is by turning off street lights when it’s not-so-dark outside. TG recently saw one block with the street lights blazing at 8 a.m. on a sunny day. Even if that were just a peccadillo, it seems that the City could allow just a few more degrees of darkness before switching the street lamps on or off. How much would the City save (in money – and the community/country/planet in electricity) if five or ten minutes of street-lamp time were shaved off each day?

… Vehicle stickers are still on sale. Pay attention to “no parking” and “snow parking” signs.

Happy Hannukah,