Police drills along the lakefront.

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… that the final phase of the Dodge/Dempster/Crain/Greenleaf road resurfacing is gearing up. The engineers, Gewalt Hamilton, propose the following for Dodge and Crain: Sod, rather than concrete, will be installed on the northeast corner, between the bump-out and the existing sidewalk. Traffic engineer Rajeev Dahal said the proposed crosswalk across Dodge would be on the south side of Crain. It was also suggested that the planting area at the northeast corner be relocated because of the location of the new fire hydrant.

… that, farther south on Dodge, at Oakton, some folks are opposed to the City’s ideas about revamping the intersection there. Among other things, the City recommends putting in a right-turn lane on Oakton for eastbound traffic, on the same corner as Dawes School. The City folks say they are trying to improve traffic flow in that congested Oakton/Dodge intersection. The residents speaking out against these proposed changes say that Oakton is a residential street and should not be changed into a “primary route,” that three schools are in that Oakton corridor (Dawes, Chute and Oakton) and that right-turn lanes are unsafe for pedestrians. They also are concerned about the fact that some of the parking spaces along Oakton would be removed. Stay tuned.

… that a crew doing sewer repairs on Oakton west of Ridge last week used this Chicago Bears tent to shelter their equipment, etc.

… that the police department is training bike officers near the lakefront this week (last week as well). Two classes of 10 officers each took the 32-hour class. Police Chief Richard Eddington said the goal is two-fold: more contact with the public and saving money
by reducing the use of gasoline.

… that the General Assembly passed HB 43, which will require drivers to come to a complete stop for pedestrians in all crosswalks – even those that are unmarked or do not have a stop sign or traffic light. Previously, Illinois law required drivers to yield and stop only “when necessary.” The bill now moves to Governor Pat Quinn’s desk.

… that the placement of the AT&T VRAD (eyesore) around 602 Mulford has been tabled until the company and the City have approval from the Park District to place it about 70 feet north of there.

… that dozens of folks attended Evanston Begging – er, Lobbying – Day in Springfield last month. TG hears as well that one of the items for which the City was lobbying was a health facility for STD testing and pregnancy support. Seems just a few years ago that aldermen (some of them still on the Council) could hardly wait to dump the City’s health department, which provided those services.

… that sidewalk cafés are opening and re-opening for the season. Bistro Bordeaux on Church Street and Las Palmas on Benson have applied recently for permits. Last year neighbors opposed the Las Palmas sidewalk café, so it is up for review again this year.

… that we’re now in Month Two of the Sherman Plaza Self-Park’s six-month  incentive to park on the upper deck by providing a reduced monthly rate to business and retail employees in the downtown area. The monthly fee for the pilot – for upper-deck parking only, and only in the Sherman Avenue garage – will be $50 instead of $85. For further information or a program application, contact Sherman Plaza Self Park-CPS Parking 821 Davis St., at 847-491-6879.

… that Saturday was “Stamp Out Hunger” day for letter carriers throughout the Northern Illinois District. This was the 18th annual food drive, when letter-carriers collected non-perishable food donations from homes to which they delivered mail. Info from the United States Postal Service says the “yearly event between the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) and the United States Postal Service is the largest one-day food drive in the nation. This joint effort will help feed families in all 50 states. But closer to home, employees at more than 217 Post Offices throughout the Northern Illinois District will be getting ready to help break last year’s national record of 73.4 million pounds of food collected.”

… that state climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey reports that, basically, anyone who thought it was awfully warm last month was right. Based on preliminary data, the statewide average temperature for Illinois in April was 58.4 degrees, 6.2 degrees above normal and the warmest April on record. The climatologist’s information continues: “This beats the old record of 58.2 degrees set in 1955 (http://www.isis.illinois.edu). The statewide average precipitation in April was 3.5 inches, 0.3 inches below normal. … The latest National Weather Service outlook for May calls for equal chances of above-, below-, and near-normal temperatures across Illinois and the Midwest.” Seems like a can’t-miss prediction to TG.

… that the Chicago Ride of Silence will take place at 6:30 p.m. on May 19. The ride, according to the Active Transportation Alliance, is “a silent procession of bicyclists to honor those who have been killed or injured while bicycling on public roadways. … The Ride also aims to raise awareness that cyclists have a right to share the roads. ” Last year, there were almost 300 locations worldwide for the Ride of Silence, including Evanston.

… that, featuring another alternate form of transportation, St. Athanasius School alum Hugh Neff (class of 1981) returned to his alma mater last week to speak to an all-school assembly about his life as an award-winning dog musher in Alaska. His Laughing Eyes Kennel, home to around 70 dogs, participates in more races than any other long-distance dog-mushing team in the world, on an annual basis.
This past season, the team competed in seven events, finishing 9th out of 75 teams in the Iditarod, their best placement ever in what’s known as the “Last Great Race on Earth.” In 2004, he finished 24th in the Iditarod and earned “Rookie of the Year” by being the first rookie to cross the finish line.

From our readers:

TG: I’m just wondering if other people in Evanston who live near the Metra stations have had as difficult a time as my family and neighbors have with the horribly loud, booming new announcements emanating from the Metra stations since last September or so.

They come on not only when there is a change in schedule or when riders are asked to cross to the other platform, but also when the train is five minutes away, three minutes away, two minutes away, “about to arrive at your station” (emphasis on “your” – thank goodness they’re not announcing arrival at other stations here, too), and “please Metra commuters for your safety please stay back of the yellow line.” The station agent has kindly turned the volume down, but it’s still loud, and the repetitiveness and pointlessness of most of the announcements is still excruciating – especially when there is no one at all on the platform. Doesn’t this break our anti-noise-
pollution laws?

For at least the ten years we’ve lived here, the LED electric sign was good enough, and people knew to look there for information. Suddenly Metra thinks announcements are necessary – from 4:30/5:30 a.m., including weekends.

I am just thankful we have a responsive alderman, Jane Grover, helping us with this. I am hoping she can
get them turned off completely.          – N. Wainwright

From TG: TG understands that the Metra announcements may involve policies beyond Metra’s, such as state or federal requirements. Still, TG thinks, the volume is uncalled-for. It’s good your alderman is on the case. 

The Traffic Guy thinks …

… don’t forget the YEA festival this weekend.
The downtown Farmers’ Market is open. Summer is almost here.