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… that spring is almost here, and,with the spring comes construction. The NICOR gas upgrade, which includes the installation of a new gas main and services, is beginning in northeast Evanston. Near the downtown area, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District is starting its cured-in-place pipe lining replacements for several water mains. 

… that the City will be making some changes to the Oakton/Dodge intersection. Senior Traffic Engineer Rajeev Dahal said the left-turn lane on Oakton for eastbound traffic turning north onto Dodge will be extended (west), to allow more traffic into that lane. This will entail the removal of one parking space on the north side of Oakton. There will be a right-hand turn lane for eastbound Oakton traffic turning south onto Dodge. Getting enough space to create that lane will entail widening the pavement by 3 feet to the south and one foot to the north. To ensure traffic flow, there will be no street parking on the south side of Oakton between Grey and the Dawes School driveway. 

… that Google Day in Evanston is March 24. The City reports on its website, “The City, Northwestern University, interested residents and community organizations continue to work on our response to Google to bring their proposed ultra-high speed network to Evanston. … Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl recently announced that the City of Evanston will respond to Google’s Request for Information (RFI) to build ultra-high speed broadband networks in communities across America. Google announced last week its intention to launch ultra-high-speed broadband Internet networks in one or more trial locations across the country. … Google’s vision of a fiber-to-the-home network with open access fits well with Evanston’s focus on making the community “The Most Livable City in America.” The City invites folks to “check out the City’s Google website for more details on how you can be a part of bringing Google to Evanston.” 

… that Earth Hour can be observed in Evanston beginning at 8:30 p.m. on March 27. Turn off lights, TVs, computers and other assorted power toys for an hour. 

… that last year Illinois dropped to second place nationwide in train collisions at grade crossings, according to information from Operation Lifesaver, the national rail safety education nonprofit agency. Their figures showed that Illinois highway-rail incidents dropped by 33.6 percent from 152 in 2008 to 101 in 2009. Fatalities resulting from these collisions decreased 37 percent from 27 in 2008 to 17 in 2009, according to the Federal Railroad Administration.  Injuries in Illinois crashes went down 37.7 percent from 69 to 43 in 2009. The state ranks third in trespassing incidents. 

… that this may be the final snow pic of the season – from a couple of weeks ago when we had snow (remember what it is?). The igloo was made using the old recycling buckets as a mold. 

… that, speaking of snow, State Climatologist Jim Angel reports that here in Illinois we had a cold February, with a statewide average temperature of 25.1 degrees, 5.1 degrees below normal. Snowfall for February was above normal, about 18 inches in the Chicago area, according to Mr. Angel’s information. Coupled with last month, it was the 19th coldest winter on record. Winters in the late 1970s were still much colder with a virtual tie between the winter of 1977-1978 at 19.6 degrees and the winter of 1978-1979 at 19.9 degrees, he reports. 

From our readers: 

TG: Can you please explain the intersection of Crawford and Harrison/Old Orchard?  There is a traffic light and there are also a sign and island that prevent drivers from going straight through the intersection east or westbound.  The only way for drivers to go through that intersection is to make a right turn.  Why?  Harrison/Old Orchard is a street that leads directly to a major highway entrance and exit. Drivers who simply want to go east or west must turn right onto Crawford, drive half block on Crawford and make a U-turn to go back to the intersection for another right turn.  This is more risky and time-consuming, of course.  This arrangement adds extra driving, pollution, chances for accidents and also contributes to congestion on Central, because everyone uses Central to access the interstate.  Is this intersection in Evanston?  What is the reason for this arrangement?  Has anyone considered removing these traffic-calming measures to improve the situation?  — Leslie

 From TG: Mr. Dahal said he knows the barrier has been there at least 11 years and possibly more than two decades. It was likely put there for the very reasons you wish it were gone – to keep people from using Harrison (a residential street) as a major thoroughfare. TG suggests that you talk with your alderman, neighbors and City folks about your concerns. 

TG: I really enjoy reading your column and have a thought on your comments about distracted drivers and guns.  I had the same thought and totally agree with you.  I am surprised the manufacturers of those products that cause distraction haven’t come up with a new slogan.  They could try “Cell phones don’t kill; people do.”  Then they and the gun lobby could throw a party.  Of course you and I would not be invited. — Sheila Brand

From TG: Thank you for your comments. TG is glad to have a response – for a while it seemed that comment went out to the abyss. Glad to have you on board, Ms. Brand. 

The Traffic Guy thinks … 

…that since several towns in Google’s national competition have promised to change their name to Google at least temporarily, TG will make a similar but temporary offer: If Evanston is chosen, then for the rest of the year on the day of the full moon, TG will replace two of the letters in the “STOP” sign with googly eyes and suffer being called “Traffic Google.” Now, what sacrifices are other Evanstonians willing to make for this megagiantbehemoththatwantstotakeovertheworld? Breakfast spots serving google-eyed fried eggs? Sandwiches with googolzola cheese? Renaming those groups of geese flying overhead (and landing on lawns) “googles” of geese? Asking the swimmers at ETHS to wear “googles” to protect their eyes? Have NU kids promise to drink a googleplex of beers? (on March 24?) 

And the big question is this: What does Google want from Evanston? And if folks laugh too hard at the answer, will they have a case of the googles?

…that spring is almost here, and,with the spring comes construction. The NICOR gas upgrade, which includes the installation of a new gas main and services, is beginning in northeast Evanston. Near the downtown area, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District is starting its cured-in-place pipe lining replacements for several water mains.

… that the City will be making some changes to the Oakton/Dodge intersection. Senior Traffic Engineer Rajeev Dahal said the left-turn lane on Oakton for eastbound traffic turning north onto Dodge will be extended (west), to allow more traffic into that lane. This will entail the removal of one parking space on the north side of Oakton. There will be a right-hand turn lane for eastbound Oakton traffic turning south onto Dodge. Getting enough space to create that lane will entail widening the pavement by 3 feet to the south and one foot to the north. To ensure traffic flow, there will be no street parking on the south side of Oakton between Grey and the Dawes School driveway.

that Google Day in Evanston is March 24. The City reports on its website, “The City, Northwestern University, interested residents and community organizations continue to work on our response to Google to bring their proposed ultra-high speed network to Evanston. … Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl recently announced that the City of Evanston will respond to Google’s Request for Information (RFI) to build ultra-high speed broadband networks in communities across America. Google announced last week its intention to launch ultra-high-speed broadband Internet networks in one or more trial locations across the country. … Google’s vision of a fiber-to-the-home network with open access fits well with Evanston’s focus on making the community “The Most Livable City in America.” The City invites folks to “check out the City’s Google website for more details on how you can be a part of bringing Google to Evanston.”

… that Earth Hour can be observed in Evanston beginning at 8:30 p.m. on March 27. Turn off lights, TVs, computers and other assorted power toys for an hour.

… that last year Illinois dropped to second place nationwide in train collisions at grade crossings, according to information from Operation Lifesaver, the national rail safety education nonprofit agency. Their figures showed that Illinois highway-rail incidents dropped by 33.6 percent from 152 in 2008 to 101 in 2009. Fatalities resulting from these collisions decreased 37 percent from 27 in 2008 to 17 in 2009, according to the Federal Railroad Administration.  Injuries in Illinois crashes went down 37.7 percent from 69 to 43 in 2009. The state ranks third in trespassing incidents.

… that this may be the final snow pic of the season – from a couple of weeks ago when we had snow (remember what it is?). The igloo was made using the old recycling buckets as a mold.

… that, speaking of snow, State Climatologist Jim Angel reports that here in Illinois we had a cold February, with a statewide average temperature of 25.1 degrees, 5.1 degrees below normal. Snowfall for February was above normal, about 18 inches in the Chicago area, according to Mr. Angel’s information. Coupled with last month, it was the 19th coldest winter on record. Winters in the late 1970s were still much colder with a virtual tie between the winter of 1977-1978 at 19.6 degrees and the winter of 1978-1979 at 19.9 degrees, he reports.

From our readers:

TG: Can you please explain the intersection of Crawford and Harrison/Old Orchard?  There is a traffic light and there are also a sign and island that prevent drivers from going straight through the intersection east or westbound.  The only way for drivers to go through that intersection is to make a right turn.  Why?  Harrison/Old Orchard is a street that leads directly to a major highway entrance and exit. Drivers who simply want to go east or west must turn right onto Crawford, drive half block on Crawford and make a U-turn to go back to the intersection for another right turn.  This is more risky and time-consuming, of course.  This arrangement adds extra driving, pollution, chances for accidents and also contributes to congestion on Central, because everyone uses Central to access the interstate.  Is this intersection in Evanston?  What is the reason for this arrangement?  Has anyone considered removing these traffic-calming measures to improve the situation?  — Leslie

From TG: Mr. Dahal said he knows the barrier has been there at least 11 years and possibly more than two decades. It was likely put there for the very reasons you wish it were gone – to keep people from using Harrison (a residential street) as a major thoroughfare. TG suggests that you talk with your alderman, neighbors and City folks about your concerns.

TG: I really enjoy reading your column and have a thought on your comments about distracted drivers and guns.  I had the same thought and totally agree with you.  I am surprised the manufacturers of those products that cause distraction haven’t come up with a new slogan.  They could try “Cell phones don’t kill; people do.”  Then they and the gun lobby could throw a party.  Of course you and I would not be invited. — Sheila Brand
From TG: Thank you for your comments. TG is glad to have a response – for a while it seemed that comment went out to the abyss. Glad to have you on board, Ms. Brand.

The Traffic Guy thinks …

…that since several towns in Google’s national competition have promised to change their name to Google at least temporarily, TG will make a similar but temporary offer: If Evanston is chosen, then for the rest of the year on the day of the full moon, TG will replace two of the letters in the “STOP” sign with googly eyes and suffer being called “Traffic Google.” Now, what sacrifices are other Evanstonians willing to make for this megagiantbehemoththatwantstotakeovertheworld? Breakfast spots serving google-eyed fried eggs? Sandwiches with googolzola cheese? Renaming those groups of geese flying overhead (and landing on lawns) “googles” of geese? Asking the swimmers at ETHS to wear “googles” to protect their eyes? Have NU kids promise to drink a googleplex of beers? (on March 24?)

And the big question is this: What does Google want from Evanston? And if folks laugh too hard at the answer, will they have a case of the googles?