This little critter was seen at 8:30 one morning. It seems pretty contented, but the time was likely waaaaaaaay past its bedtime.         Photo by George DuCharme

…that three new antennae will be appended to an existing penthouse at 1900 Sherman.

… that the Metra stations might be getting new “station identification signs.

… that the steps to the Morton Civic Center may be replaced soon. Along with that, the Civic Center will undergo asbestos abatement, have a fire pump replaced, and get some new signs.

… that we’re getting some more cold-patch material to repair those potholes.

… that the City will apply for a Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) grant to modernize the traffic signals along Dempster Street and conduct a Phase I study for the CTA Yellow Line In-Fill Station.

… that the Dodge Avenue resurfacing project continues. This summer we’ll see work there between Lee and Oakton.

.. that a couple of alleys will also be paved: the one north of Main and east of Grey and the one north of Brummel  and east of Callan.

… that commuters (and other bicycle riders) on Chicago’s Lakefront Trail can now get updates on traffic conditions there via Twitter. The Active Transportation Alliance used to update conditions through its blog but now will display its Twitter feed of @activetransLFT. The ATA reports that the Chicago Lakefront Trail serves as one of the most popular bike commuting routes in the region; peak daily usage of the trail reaches up to 30,000 people at the busiest points.  

… that, now that the South Branch Library is closed, the Evanston Public Library Friends are opening a satellite across the street from the axed site. They’re calling it The Mighty Twig (since it’s not quite a branch).

… that Renaissance Realty and Construction will receive some City help for façade improvements at their Church/Darrow lofts. Like other Renaissance properties, these are really beautiful. Also in the works to receive financial assistance for façade improvements is Stratosphere Networks at 1732 Central St.

… that a take-out only restaurant called Shrimp Max is likely coming to 1608 Emerson. According to a proposal, it will serve “many kinds of fish and some chicken dishes and side dishes.”

… that the Dominick’s at Dempster/Dodge has the worst track record of all Chicagoland Dominick’s, both in terms of numbers of thefts and of security guards injured in trying to prevent those thefts.

… that TG certainly erred in the disquisition (dare TG say “dysquisition”) about water, ice and potholes. Has TG never had a beer bottle explode from having been in the freezer too long and has TG never had a physics class are among the gentler rebukes received by the RoundTable since last time’s gaffe. We reprint a few for the amusement of readers (or the further embarrassment of TG – not sure which):

From our readers: Hey TG: Physics 101: Water expands when it freezes. Check it out. Put a plastic bottle of water in the freezer for a few hours. I’d like to know how many calls/letters/emails you get on this.   – Frank Tolford

From TG: 1) Thanks. 2 ) Lots. See below.

TG:  You were wondering why potholes appear when water gets into them and then freezes (RT, March 2). Well, here’s why: water does not contract when it freezes, it expands. You don’t have to be a scientist to know that – anyone who’s ever put a full bottle of water in the freezer knows that.  – SR 

From TG: Here’s another bit of correspondence: From RT staff: TG is taking a beating. Thanks, RT staff.

From SR:  In TG’s defense, it can be said that he probably remembered a principle from his physics class which says that liquids contract when they freeze. That’s true; water is an exception. There, hope he feels better.

TG: In the March 2 RoundTable, [you were] confused about why potholes get larger in the winter, because “freezing contracts” ice in a pothole. Freezing does not contract water. Freezing expands water, and that’s what damages pavement, provided that there is a crack to begin with. Ice is about 9 percent less dense than water. The expansion is the reason why you aren’t supposed to fill jars completely when freezing things like soup, and why ice floats rather than sinks on rivers and lakes. (Water is unusual in expanding rather than contracting upon freezing, but it isn’t unique. Silicon and a few heavy metals do, as well.)  – Rob Linsenmeier

From TG: Thanks, Professor Linsenmeier, for your clear explanation.

TG: I saw in your last column a picture of a red fox under a tree and thought you might like to see what we had under our tree in late February at 8:30 in the morning.
– Gordon Du Charme

From TG: Great photo. Thanks, Mr. DuCharme. That hour seems a bit late for
an opossum.

The Traffic Guy Thinks …

… that folks in the 1400 block of Ashland are experiencing some of the problems that seemed to plague other residential neighborhoods: lack of notification of exact dates of street cleaning and confusion about the weekly parking bans when streets are swept, at best, every three weeks. But they’ve also come up  with a solution. Here is a selection from a letter sent to the City by one of the residents there. “We ‘customers’ were not served every Wednesday last spring, summer and fall. Your efforts to direct neighbors to the website for the every-third-week cleaning schedule didn’t work … Some motorists were ignoring the Wednesday signs and others attempting to follow them.

…One possible solution to both minimize the City’s costs and [residents’] confusion would be to print stickers for the parking signs, notifying which dates the City intends to actually clean a block.”

TG recalls that this was done a few years ago, with plaques noting the street-sweeping days put on the regular “No Parking” signs. That was eliminated in a cost-saving measure, and the website was to carry information about actual street-sweeping dates. Trouble was, the dates
on the website didn’t match the dates that the crews swept the streets (at least in the RT block and this Ashland block), and people didn’t know when and where they could legally park. So the sticker idea seems great.

Hope everyone enjoys our new magazine, “Evanston Is …”

The cold March evenings with the new moon out are irreplaceable. Spring is coming. Since Chicago usually has at best one day of true spring weather, in between days like these and the sudden summery heat, TG wonders when that one spring day will come.