A new kind of eyesore has arrived on Ridge Avenue.

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…that construction continues on many of our major arteries continues. Watch for slowed traffic on Dempster, Dodge and Sheridan. Watch for “No Parking” signs around the City.

Watch for slowed traffic on Dempster, Dodge and Sheridan and anywhere else. Construction on residential streets continues as well: the NICOR gas-line replacement and the MWRD water/sewer main CIPP (cured-in-place pipe) work. Watch for temporary “No Parking” signs around the City.

The NICOR work is in northeast Evanston, in the Noyes/Maple/Ridge/Foster area. The MWRD work will be Orrington/Sherman/Davis (Fountain Square) and also at Davis at Maple. Here’s what Kenny Construction Company (KCC) has to say about handling traffic there: “KCC will set up the work site and occupy the traffic lanes bordering the island formed by Orrington Avenue, Davis Street and Sherman Avenue. There will be no detours; however, traffic lanes will be closed.” And more: On Orrington between Grove and Davis, there will be only one northbound lane. On Sherman between Davis and Grove one southbound lane will be closed “occasionally.” On Davis between Chicago and Sherman, westbound traffic will be reduced to one lane. There will be two segments of work in this section, each of them 24/7. The second area of downtown work, Davis at Maple, will entail underground work but KCC will set up equipment in the intersection there, taking the two inner lanes and leaving the two outer lanes to vehicular traffic. Some on-street parking will be lost temporarily, and there may be some temporary pedestrian reroutes.

… that a three-way stop is coming to Lincoln and Asbury.

… that the City may receive federal money to modernize the traffic signals along Sheridan from Chicago to Central. Northwestern University may pay for the one near campus on Sheridan Road, at the Garrett (and other) parking lot. TG has heard some rumblings and grumblings about the location of that light. The Hinman/Sheridan intersection (or Hinman dead-end at Sheridan) would also be a good place for a light, as it is appears to attract jaywalkers. (TG reminds readers that a consultant for the downtown plan said a good street is “one you can feel comfortable jaywalking in.”) TG has also heard rumors that NU would like to construct an underground parking facility where the surface lot is now, so of course they’d want to have a traffic light there.

… that the City will purchase seven replacement vehicles from three different vendors, including a new street sweeper, chipper and five new heavy-duty trucks. Alderman Coleen Burrus asked why hybrids were not considered, and Ms. Robinson said hybrid heavy-duty trucks were not available. These are the workhorses, she said, some equipped with snow plows. Lonnie Jeschke, manager of fleet services, said that the new trucks could run on bio-diesel fuel. Generally, he said, the City pays a 40 percent premium for hybrids and hopes that hybrid vehicles last 12 years allowing the City to break even.

… that the City has extended a few contracts to get our refuse and recycling hauled away: G & L Contractors will still haul debris for the City; Flood Brothers will continue condo garbage collection; and Groot will pick up recycling for residences and condos. We’ll also be purchasing concrete for the next year from Ozinga Ready Mix, right over there on Oakton near the canal.

… that the League of Women Voters will continue to lease office space in the Civic Center.

… that the police department is getting a grant for 16 TASERS and “related equipment.”

… that a couple of weeks ago, Evanston traffic officers conducted enforcement actions at several locations in the community. The police department reported that “these combined operations resulted in 36 seatbelt citations, 21 driver cell phone violations, one child safety seat restraint violation, four insurance violations and one violation for no driver license.”

… that, speaking of safe driving, the Secretary of State’s  Mobile Driver Services Unit will be at the Levy Senior Center, 300 Dodge Ave. between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on June 11 for residents to renew their drivers’ licenses, obtain duplicate or corrected licenses and obtain Illinois identification cards. A Rules of the Road review course will also be held from 9:30 to 11 a.m. that day at the Levy Center. And how about this? The Evanston Police Department reports that, working with Northwestern University, it established the nation’s first accident prevention bureau. At that time, Evanston “ranked fifth in the U.S. in traffic fatalities, due in large part – ironically – that many residents were wealthy enough to afford autos. A few short years later, in 1932, the [department’s] traffic safety bureau won the first of may National Safety Council traffic safety awards – earning the distinction of being named America’s safest city,”
according to the EPD.

… that the Village of Skokie is installing traffic cameras along McCormick, so smile when you speed. Remember, Evanston doesn’t begin until you have crossed the canal.

From our readers: TG: And I thought the VRAD boxes were bad. Can you imagine waking up one morning and finding this thing on the parkway in front of your house? The City set up new traffic lights at Ridge and Central, which was nice, but the accompanying traffic box that popped up one day is an insult. The northwest and southwest corners of the intersection are non-residential, and the northeast and southeast corners are residential. So this gigantic box ends up on the residential side, directly in front of a home at 2601 Ridge Ave., ruining the view outside of their front windows forever.

I have never seen a traffic box this large anywhere. If there are going to be more of these things in Evanston, I think some community involvement regarding placement should be required. You’ve got to check this thing out – man, it is huge!

From TG: Perhaps you should ask your alderman – who appears to take the aesthetics and character of the ward very seriously – to try to get that monstrosity moved. You could also contact the folks at Stop the Boxes. They have been able to prevail on the City to make AT&T apply to the Site Plan and Appearance Review Committee for permission to locate their eyesores – perhaps the City should follow its own policies. A third alternative is to ask the City to allow your eyesore – and others throughout town – to be painted artistically. We could have “boxes on parade” like Chicago’s cows.

 (TG suggested this before, for the VRADs).

 The Traffic Guy thinks …

… that when residential parking is going to be disrupted for construction work, it should be done in the least intrusive, least obstructive manner and most informative and accurate manner possible. There are a lot of temporary “No Parking” signs on streets on which there are no crews in sight. The City of Chicago has – at least in some areas – paper signs with a big initial indicating the day of the week that residents can’t park (M, e.g., or F, and, one assumes, Th for Thursday). Maybe the City could consider posting signs like that (multiple signs would work if a week or so would be needed) that could be tailored more to the work actually being done.