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… that street construction is coming to a road near you – or at least near the RT and probably elsewhere in town. Watch out for temporary “No Parking” signs and be alert that there may be temporary water shut-offs in some areas, as in some cases water-main repair is involved. For example, the City was to have started water-main improvement along Dempster Street from McDaniel to Fowler this week and continue through the end of May. This section of Dempster is already a nightmare, as the traffic signals are not coordinated and traffic backs up there morning and night for blocks. TG suggests that westbound traffic turn north or south on Dodge – or Hartrey at the west-est to avoid the congestion. Vehicles that turn north can go west on Lake to McDaniel then back south on McDaniel to Dempster. But doing that increases traffic by two schools – ETHS and King Lab – so it may be better to go on up to Church or Emerson. Vehicles that go south should probably go all the way to Main. Eastbound traffic should probably stay on McCormick to Main or Church. But keep in mind that Oakton/Dodge repairs will be starting soon, so some of the Oakton traffic may be shunted up to Main. If you’re confused by any of this, get a bike.

… that, also starting this week is the Phase II improvement of Dodge between Dempster and Lee. The project involves replacing the water main and resurfacing the street. For resurfacing, crews will remove about three inches of the existing pavement surface, patch up any leftover trench work from last fall, replace curbs, sidewalks and carriage walks, and resurface the impacted street. The rehab work is supposed to end in May, and the restoration in June.

… that repairs on McDaniel from Dempster south to the cul-de-sac were to have begun this week and are expected to continue through May. These repairs are being done near TG’s favorite park, Harbert Park.

…that the NICOR project is winding down: The Davis project (Orrington to Hinman) is supposed to end on April 30; the Lake (Elmwood to Sheridan) on April 19 and the Orrington (Lake to Clark) on May 15.  For those brave or foolish enough to travel outside Evanston, look for repairs on Golf as you go toward that behemoth shopping center (especially since you should be shopping Evanston).

… that the City says that the new boat-ramp access drive at Sheridan and Clark is supposed to open to boat traffic on May 1. The traffic folks have an “interim pavement-marking plan” – including pavement striping – for the Sheridan/Clark/Judson intersection that is supposed to help improve operational safety there. The City folks say they also plan to install “delineators” (small bumps) – all this by the end of the month. The City info adds, “The intersection will be constructed as part of the Sheridan Road rehabilitation project (Burnham to Chicago) in the fall of this year.”

… that the Police Department recently released its St. Pat’s stats – the results of its “increased highly visible saturation patrols,” which took place March 5-21, specifically, the EPD says, “targeting the over-night hours … in high-traffic areas” looking for seat-belt and speed-limit violations and DUI. Here are the results (citations and arrests): 4 DUI arrests: 2 drug-related arrests: 1 suspended driver’s license: 25 speed violations; 2 seat-belt violations: 6  with no proof of valid insurance; 2 with no driver’s license on person; and 33 other traffic offenses.

… that the Active Transportation Alliance reports that they are planning the 2010 Chicago Ride of Silence, “an organized annual cycling procession held each May that honors those who have been injured or killed” and “raises awareness that cyclists have a right to share the road.” The ride begins at 7 p.m. on May 19.

The ATA also reports that the State Senate passed SB 935, “which is a compromise of the many pieces of legislation aimed at addressing red light camera concerns. SB 935 allows local governments in the Chicago and St. Louis areas to use red light cameras to improve road safety. Once passed by the House and signed by the Governor, the bill will require two independent verifications of a violation before a citation is issued and give motorists the right to review video evidence and contest violations via a secure web-based portal.” Don’t know what that does for those who have already been cited.

… that around town – particularly around the Lighthouse and NU – crews have been filming a pilot for what they hope will be a CBS crime series spotlighting ATF, the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms feds.

… that tonight at NU’s Allen Center, Craig E. Philip, chief executive officer of Ingram Barge Company, will discuss domestic river transport when he delivers the 29th Annual William A. Patterson Transportation Lecture. River transport, says NU’s info on the event, “is one of the U.S. freight network’s most significant but often invisible components. In ‘The Future of River Transport in the United States,’ Philip will share his views about the freight network’s present state and how future policy may shape its future.”

… that State Climatologist Jim Angel reports that, based on preliminary data in Illinois, the statewide average temperature for March was 43.6 degrees, 2.5 degrees above normal. This ends a three-month streak of colder than normal temperatures that occurred this winter. The statewide average precipitation was 2.8 inches, 0.4 inches below normal. A year ago, the March precipitation was 4.2 inches, an inch above normal, signaling the start of a very wet growing season.

… that the Cornell ornithological lab reports that the 13th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) broke records for participation: “During the four-day event in February, more than 97,200 bird checklists were submitted by an estimated 63,000 volunteer bird watchers from across the United States and Canada.”

The Traffic Guy thinks …

… that the relocation of the parking department to the first floor to be next to the revenue department is less about their being soul-mates than it is about truth in advertising. 

… that those who still fear being ticketed for sneezing while driving should know two more things: that fines are doubled for outgribing (sneezing in the middle of bellowing and whistling, per Lewis Carroll) and that a simple anti-sneezing device is available at the RT and other places.

… Good luck to us all as this crazy new street-sweeping schedule unfolds. Seems like it will be a dual money-maker for the City: It will save money because one fewer sweeper will be used, but it is also bound to make money because the schedule is so different and vague (check it out on the City’s website) that people are still going to get ticketed and towed.

… that, now that Julie Hamos has a state-wide non-elective job, she should come on back home.

… here is a photo of some of last week’s jaw-breaker-sized hailstones: