The roof of the Morton Civic Center was discovered to be in worse shape than previously thought, but crews are working to fix it.

… that the construction strike was settled nearly two weeks ago, so crews are out fixing streets again. Many of you may have noticed that the construction on Oakton now extends west from Hartrey – its previous boundary – all the way past the Home Depot complex to the 2424 Oakton development. Because of the heavy traffic on Oakton, the street surface there deteriorated over the past year more quickly than expected, according to the City’s traffic division, and “the ride quality has decreased significantly.”

… that Phase I (usually an engineering study) has begun for the repair of the Bridge Street bridge. The construction may cause some annoyance and disruptions – particularly to the folks at Over the Rainbow, who will now have to get to Green Bay via Twiggs Park, which will entail their traversing the canal on another narrow bridge in order to go north to Central. But once the Bridge Street bridge is finished, the sidewalk (TG hears) will be wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs, pedestrians, etc., more comfortably.

… that the lighting will be upgraded in the Church Street parking garage. While the cost is just over $100,000, the net local cost is likely to be zero, as the City will receive more than $60,000 from an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant. City staff is in the process of submitting an application to Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Public Sector Electric Efficiency Program for a rebate of the $41,845.12 balance. If the application is accepted, the City will be reimbursed in that amount after the project has been completed.

… that, speaking of parking garages, some of them in this town are very poorly designed. Who has not been stuck like a gerbil on a treadmill driving round and round on the same floor of the Maple Avenue garage, desperately wanting to park or leave? TG suspects that a map of the garage would look like the marching orders on the T-shirts of the kazoo marching band in the Fourth of July parade.

At the Evanston Hospital parking lot, TG has found, it’s about a minimum of .2 miles to get out of the parking garage – from a low floor and almost twice that from one higher up. The parking garage at St. Francis – the only free parking garage in town – is straightforward, as is the multi-rise Sherman Avenue garage: You drive up and around to get to where you want to park, and, when you’re ready to leave, you drive down the opposite way. TG thinks parking garages built from now on should pass the marble test: Could a marble pushed from the top floor make it to the exit without stopping. (Perhaps the builder would provide a temporary marble trough.)

… that the cost of replacing the roof on the Morton Civic Center has increased. The more the crews dig into it, the more water damage they find. Per City information: “During the liner-removal process, a number of wood framing/bedding areas have been found severely damaged by water infiltration to the extent that reconstruction of the bed area or complete rebuilding of the framing system itself have been required. Perhaps getting rid of the leaks will also take care of the mold problems.

… that NU is resurfacing some of its tennis courts along Sheridan Road.

… that a new fast food restaurant, the Tiny Dog Café/Bakery might be coming to downtown. It’s for people, not animals.

 … that it is now official: Illinois law mandates that vehicles must stop for pedestrians in crosswalks. This means that
no matter how important you are, you must not intimidate pedestrians in crosswalks with your four wheels, fast car and loud motors.

From our readers:

TG: Can anything be done about the overgrown intersection at Payne and McDaniel?  It’s impossible to see the crosswalks or the approaching cars. The southeast corner resident planted the parkway plants, but they go untended, and are bigger each year.  At this point, isn’t the City responsible?  This is a serious danger on public property.

I am attaching photos a standard-height vehicle:  westbound on Payne, northbound on McDaniel.

Thanks. – Tricia Scott

From TG: This is indeed something that you should take up with the City – your alderman or the parks people or the streets and sanitation folks.

TG: I much enjoyed the rather feeble efforts at blues songs about Evanston in the current RT. I say “feeble,” since some folks seem to think all you have to do to write a blues song is get drunk and dream of Memphis.

 Just to set the record straight, I share the following anonymous set of blues rules:

“How to Sing the Blues”

1.  Most blues begin “woke up this morning.”

2.  “I got a good woman” is a bad way to begin the blues, unless you stick something nasty in the next line. I got a good woman – with the meanest dog in town.

3.  Blues are simple. After you have the first line right, repeat it. Then find something that rhymes. Sort of: Got a good woman with the meanest dog in town. He got teeth like Margaret Thatcher and he weighs 500 pounds.

4.  The blues are not about limitless choice.

5.  Blues cars are Chevies and Cadillacs. Other acceptable blues transportation is Greyhound bus or a southbound train. Walkin’ plays a major part in the blues lifestyle. So does fixin’ to die.

6.  Teenagers can’t sing the blues. Adults sing the blues. Blues adulthood means old enough to get the electric chair if you shoot a man in Memphis.

7.  You can have the blues in New York City, but not in Brooklyn or Queens. Hard times in Vermont or North Dakota are just a depression. Chicago, St. Louis and Kansas City are still the best places to have the blues.

8.  The following colors do not belong in the blues: a. violet; b. beige; c. mauve

9.  You can’t have the blues in an office or a shopping mall; the lighting is wrong.

  1. Good places for the blues: a. the highway; b. the jailhouse; c. the empty bed  

 Bad places:      

a. ashrams; b. gallery openings; c. week- ends in the Hamptons

11.  No one will believe it’s the blues if you wear a suit, unless you happen to be an old black man.

  1. Do you have the right to sing the blues?  

Yes, if:      

  1. a. your first name is a southern state – like Georgia; b. you’re blind; c. you shot a man in Memphis; d. you can’t be satisfied  

 No, if:      

a. you were once blind but now can see; b. you’re deaf; c. you have a trust fund.

13.  Neither Julio Iglesias nor Barbra Streisand can sing the blues.

14.  If you ask for water and baby gives you gasoline, it’s the blues.

  1. Other blues beverages are a. wine; b. Irish whiskey; c. muddy water  

Blues beverages are not any of the following: a. Any mixed drink; b. Any wine kosher for Passover; c. Yoo Hoo (all flavors)

15.  If it occurs in a cheap motel or a shotgun shack, it’s blues death. Stabbed in the back by a jealous lover is a blues way to die. So is the electric chair, substance abuse, or being denied treatment in an emergency room. It is not a blues death if you die during a liposuction treatment.

  1. Some blues names for women:       a. Sadie; b. Big Mama; c. Bessie
  2. Some blues Names for men: a. Joe; b. Willie; c. Little Willie; d. Lightning  

18.  Persons with names like Sierra or Sequoia will not be permitted to sing the blues, no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.

 Hope this gives some help to blues beginners among the RT community.

-– Best, Kevin H. Axe

From TG: Thanks, Mr. Axe, and to your anonymous friend. TG has a friendly amendment, which maybe you’ll accept: Lightnin’ rather than Lightning for a name for a male blues-singer.

Hope this will encourage everyone to enter the TG blues contest, open to all readers through Sept. 1.

The Traffic Guy thinks …

… Now that there are female firefighters in Evanston’s ranks, perhaps the City should consider changing the name of the newly rededicated park from Fireman’s Park to Firefighters Park?

… Hope to see you all at the Lakeshore Arts Festival.