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…that there are still spaces in the Maple Avenue garage for those who wish to reserve spaces by the month on the top-tier. For this open-range parking, you get a discount on the monthly fee.

… that the City is purchasing 75 recycling containers to be placed on athletic fields and 350 containers for the business districts.

… that Sunesys of Oakbrook Terrace would like to place 13,800 square feet of fiber-optic cables underground on some City rights of way. The City charges $5 per square foot, so we’ll get about $70,000 for it. The City says the proposed Sunesys easement “consists of connecting various sites in the City of Evanston. The proposed fiber optic network shall establish the connection from 2020 Ridge Avenue to the Roycemore School located at 1200 Davis Street. The project will also connect to the AT&T facilities on Church Street to feed the Evanston Central Office. Since conduit from other carriers is unavailable along the requested project route and this portion of the City does not permit aerial (pole-based) installation of telecommunication lines, Sunesys needs to install the fiber optic cable. The work includes installation of approximately 4,600 feet of new underground cable, including a two-inch conduit, fiber-optic cable and seven new Sunesys hand holes. … To minimize any disturbance to the street surfaces within the City and to reduce construction interference with traffic flow, the majority of the construction will be completed via directional boring.” Residents are to be notified about construction.

… that this is the time we pay the annual fee to the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago for disposal of the sludge generated as part of the water treatment process. We pay about $300,000 per year. Here’s how the folks at the Water Department explain the sludge factor: “The initial phase of the water treatment process involves adding coagulants to raw Lake Michigan water in order to form a “floc” which helps to trap and solidify impurities in the water and allow them to settle out prior to filtration. This material settles out as part of the mixing, sedimentation and settling process into basins located underground on the north side of the Water Treatment Facility. During October and April of each year, this sediment, or sludge, is removed from the basins by manually washing and rinsing it into a sewer and sending it to the MWRDGC for treatment. The makeup of this sludge varies greatly depending on the time of the year, the turbidity (cloudiness) of the raw water and the utilization and demand for water. The sludge is analyzed for biological oxygen demand (BOD) and suspended solids (SS) prior to pumping to the MWRDGC, and the cost for treatment is based on the levels of these parameters as well as the volume of sludge that has been produced. .. The Water Division has been utilizing this method of sludge disposal for over 50 years. The production of sludge from the current water treatment process utilized by the Evanston Water Utility is not something that can be eliminated at this time.” Water Division staff have researched other options for the removal/disposal of the material and found  the discharge to the MWRDGC is the “most cost-efficient and aesthetic means available.”

… that in the coming months the CTA will replace viaducts at Greenleaf, Dempster and Grove streets. Staging for the several-month project has not been quite worked out. For the Greenleaf viaduct, the staging might occur on some of the Jewel parking lot; for Dempster there are a couple of options, and for Grove, well, not so sure. Because the metal on the new viaduct will be a teensy bit thinner than on the present ones and because a bit of the street will be dug out, vehicles will have a bit more clearance – but only under the CTA’s new viaducts. They can still be scalped by Metra’s. That scenario evokes a frozen grin.

… that the police and the Dempster/Dodge Dominick’s (TG’s local store) have been working on ways to settle the crime problems alluded to in TG’s last column and it seems that things are settling down there. 

… that the Parking/Transportation Committee is becoming, well, a bit obsessed with signs – the material kind. Seems the City is going to get new, uniform signage to replace our old uniform signage. Questions arise: what color, how big and directing folks to what? Third Ward Alderman Melissa Wynne pointed out that there is one place in Evanston that would need a sign because it draws more out-of-towners than Evanstonians: the NU admissions office.

… that Bar Louie has applied for its sidewalk café license – a sure sign of faith that good weather is coming.

… that another sure sign that good weather is coming is that construction season is almost upon us: Sheridan Road between Burnham and Emerson. According to the City, “This project will be completed in seven stages which will include installation of new storm sewer and drainage structures, reconstruction of portions of Sheridan Road, removal and replacement of curb and gutter, patching, replacement of asphalt surface from curb to curb along with selected sidewalk replacement and driveway aprons, traffic signal improvements, landscaping and striping.” With four stages under their belts, crews will begin Stage 5 construction next week. There will be a southbound detour on “Sheridan Road at Chicago Avenue. The detour route will follow Chicago Avenue to South Boulevard and reconnect at Sheridan Road. “Local Access Only” will be maintained to the Northwestern South Campus Drive. Construction will begin on the east side of Sheridan Road from the intersection of Sheridan Road and Davis Street to just south of Clark Street, and on the west side of Sheridan Road from Burnham Place to Davis Street. Stage 6 will be the mirror image of Stage 5. The remaining stages will consist of placement of final asphalt surface and landscape restoration with completion anticipated in mid August of 2011. Residents will receive notices which will detail changes in the traffic configuration and detour routes.” So watch for guerilla “No Parking” signs in the area and heed the regular signs as well.

… that there’s yet another sign of the upcoming fair weather: Council has approved a contract with Schroeder Asphalt Services for the season’s street-resurfacing projects.

… that, speaking of faith, NU is touting a recent study that youth who are “very religious” tend to become obese in middle age. Do these researchers think the extra weight is due to the Higgs-boson?

… that the library and entry hall of the Dawes House were used in a TV film about Hugh Hefner. As the person who alerted TG to that said, “Some hutch.” Some readers may know that Hef did live in Evanston for a while, before bunny fame.

… that this hawk flew to the top of a light pole – the tallest non-tree around – to get a good look at a recent ETHS girls’ lacrosse game.

… that Friday is Walk to Work day – lace up those walking shoes.

The Traffic Guy thinks …

… one good thing that seems to be resounding among some of the Parking/Transportation Committee members is the need to reduce the excessive number of signs around town. Next step (TG thinks) would be to change their tenor of “don’t do this, don’t do that” to one more welcoming. TG suggests welcome signs in several languages at our portals, maybe with the Wildkit mascot figure demonstrating those prohibitions.