This pithy observation was sprayed on the temporary fencing for the dirt piles excavated in making the new bike path. Only some will be hauled off to a landfill; the reusable dirt will make a comeback in the path.

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…that with the arrival of November we switch from the no-parking-for-street-cleaning season into the no-parking-because-of-snow season. Check everything – the weather, the City’s radio station, the snow hotline (yes, that’s what they call it), and their website and ours, then follow TG’s simple guideline: If you hear the same answer twice, consider it solid. Now is someone going to get all Heraclitean and say one’s ears can’t hear the same piece of information twice?

… that November is also the first month of our new solid-waste disposal “carrier exchange,” you might say. Groot, which used to pick up residential recycling, is now picking up residential trash and refuse, while City crews, who used to pick up refuse and trash, will do the residential – including condos – recycling route. After the multi-year contract between Groot and the City was in place, it was discovered that Groot’s trucks are too big to fit through some of our alleys, so residents in those locations have to put their trash in front and their recycling in back. Of course, says the City, this affects only 5 percent of residents, so it’s relatively minor and they’ll work it out.

… that the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) continues its work on the Orrington leg of the new sewer system under downtown. Those who have not yet tried to get around Fountain Square (Orrington and Sherman at Davis) and the little traffic island there might be interested to note the following: Orrington northbound between Grove and Davis will have only one lane and Davis westbound between Chicago and Sherman will be reduced to one lane. On Sherman between Davis and Grove one southbound lane “will be closed occasionally for material and equipment deliveries,” according to MWRD, says the City.

… that Sheridan Road construction continues but not exactly apace, as crews thought this phase – Foster to about Clark – would be done by November. As it stands, the Great Curve at Sheridan/Chicago is accessible only by northbound traffic; the two southbound lanes are in need of studious reconstruction – and if the weather holds, we might get it this fall.

… that the bicycle path along the lakefront is inchoate – begun in the fall, that is, but deferred through the winter months. Paul D’Agostino, superintendent of the City’s Parks/Forestry and Facilities Management Department, provided some information about the new path. Up near Clark Street and heading south, the strip of grass between Sheridan Road and the new path “serves both as a buffer for path users and protects the nearby trees. Staff spent a lot of time on the exact layout of the new path so that there were as few trees impacted as possible.”  Between Lee and Greenleaf there will be “only the one asphalt path. … As more of the overall Master Plan is implemented in future years:  A pedestrian path is planned for this section, to the east of the new path, which will cut into the sand in some places. There is no current time-line for this, though.”

The concrete slabs being poured along the path will be for “benches, trash receptacles, and bike racks, depending on each location.” The light fixtures will be the dark lighting that shines straight down, reducing glare and making things visible at greater distance.

Some folks are concerned about how bicyclists can be made to stay on the bike path, which will be near Sheridan Road, and kept off the pedestrian path, which will roughly follow the pedestrian path along the beach that is there now. Some have suggested sand, some gravel, and some even broken glass as ways to keep the bikes off the pedestrian path. Mr. D’Agostino said the path “will be made of crushed granite that has a binder incorporated so that it compacts easier when installed.”

From our readers:

TG: Saying “the offer of free gasoline by the Shell Station … caused a bit of a traffic jam” is an enormous understatement. At 6:30 a.m. a helicopter was hovering over the station. When I went by there (going west on Oakton) at 8 a.m., there were two traffic officers at the intersection of Oakton and McCormick. Traffic was backed up as far as I could see on Oakton and McCormick going south was backed up to Main. I couldn’t see the traffic going north on McCormick, but based on the traffic passing Oakton, I’d say it was backed up quite far.

– Mary A. Boehlen

From TG: Thanks for the expansion, Ms. Boehlen.

TG: What is it about “no parking anytime” do the folks putting up the signs not understand? This confusing sign is on the north side of the 900 block of Gaffield (see picture) is facing west. We’ve lived on the south side for 14 years.  In that time, parking has never been allowed on the north side. We don’t know when the “Thursday” sign went up (possibly when Maple was under construction this summer) but we hope they take it down soon. 
When cars are parked on both sides (i.e., on Thursdays) nothing bigger than a passenger car can go down the street. The garbage trucks just stand there and honk their horns. Two weeks ago a rescue vehicle had to back up and go around the block.              – Melissa Leasia

From TG: It is hard to tell what is going on there – on your block – and on many other blocks around town, but it looks like the same confusion that we have here down by the RT office. A few “parking only” signs have been put up for the same areas that have been “No Parking” for years. These new signs are purportedly to allow parking on the days when there is no parking because of street-sweeping. However, because there is absolutely no correlation among the signs on the street, the postings on the website and the actual appearance of the street-sweepers, no one is certain about where and when to park.  It does seem that people who declare where the signs are to be placed should take the time to see the full consequence of what they do.

The Traffic Guy thinks …

… that, now that Election Day is past, can’t the candidates remove all those yard signs?

… that it would be nice if the City wouldn’t lock itself – and us taxpayers – into multi-year contracts before everything has been considered: Case in point: the new Groot contract to pick up refuse lasts for about five years. Not long after it was signed, the City learned that the Groot trucks are too massive to fit into some of our alleys. Has anyone over at the City heard of a one-year contract with an option to renew?

… that everyone should have “fallen back” last week – time-wise.

… that the Parks/Forestry/Facilities Management are conservative in the best way possible, true stewards of the earth, to wit: The two piles of dirt not far from Dawes Park lagoon (last week, anyway) came from the excavated areas of the new bike path. One pile is of reusable material and the other, with a lot of extraneous material – such as bricks, cinders, and other general debris – will soon be off to a landfill. The reuseable dirt, Mr. D’Agostino said, is “being saved to perform the restoration work along the sides of the new pathway, and to fill in the areas where the old existing asphalt path will be removed. The old pathway will be removed once the new pathway is completed and accessible to all users.”

… that it’s coyote season. Don’t forget to keep an eye on your small pets and do not leave them unattended.
No longer shy but possibly still wily, these tricky prowlers are out and around town.