Gas prices on April 11 at the Dempster/Fowler Citgo station.

… that Dirk Cumulo’s (that is, Shawn Jones’s) story on snow-removal stickers really had a lot of folks going wild, believing that the Council would do something like that. Like many readers, TG initially misread the intention and thought that residents had to place our snow (including street snow) into special bags and then put the stickers on to get the bags removed. What a relief TG felt by the end, knowing that residents would have to fork over only the money for the stickers, cones and balloons but not for the bags.

… that it’s April and the shoosh of street-sweepers returns to Evanston’s residential areas and business districts. The City has published the April-November schedule on its website, www.cityofevanston.org, and in its newsletter “In the Works,” so residents should be able to tell when their streets will be swept.

While the schedule is revised each year, the “No Parking” signs on parkways are permanent, and the City has discontinued its practice of hanging on them seasonal placards with the exact dates that section of the street would be swept.

This leaves some residents wondering whether they can park on a non-street-sweeping day – say, a Tuesday – even if the permanent signs state a flat parking ban that day of the week. The answer is, well, “In the Works:” In a sidebar on page 5 is the statement: “Parking is prohibited only on the sides and dates published in the schedule.” Some parkway signs are now more specific, but RT and TG disclaim responsibility for any tickets received.

…  that the resurfacing projects on Isabella and on Emerson are slated to begin on April 18. The work, scheduled for completion by mid-June, looks like it will stretch from Reese to Green Bay on Isabella and from Foster to Asbury on Emerson. There’s a map on the City’s website, www.cityofevanston.org. These projects, the City says, “involve sewer repair, spot curb replacement, base patching, selected sidewalk replacement, driveway aprons, grinding and paving asphalt surface, striping and landscaping. The roadwork is a part of the City’s continuing program to improve the road system throughout the community. The project is state funded and there will be no direct charge to the property owners on this project.” During construction, watch out for “No Parking” and street-sweeping signs.

… that the crosswalks on Sheridan Road have not yet been repainted. Watch out for pedestrians there – and everywhere.

… that yard-waste pickup began on April 4 and will continue through Dec. 9. The pickups are on the same day as refuse/recycling collections. Now, remember, don’t commingle garbage or trash or recycling with yard waste. It’s not just a bad idea to do that – it’s a violation of state law. Don’t forget to buy stickers or get yourself a City yard-waste cart.

… that there will be a “Distracted Driving” summit this afternoon at Evanston Township High School. It will be held from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. in room N112. AAA Chicago, Active Transportation Alliance, Allstate Foundation, American Defensive Driving School, ETHS Safety Department, Evanston City Council, Evanston Police Department, FocusDriven, National Safety Council and Northwestern University’s Traffic Safety School are all sponsors. 

Here’s some scary data about distracted driving, according to information gathered from various sources and provided by the City: 20 percent of injury crashes in 2009 involved reports of distracted driving; of those killed in distracted-driving-related crashes, 995 involved reports of a cell phone as a distraction (18 percent of fatalities in distraction-related crashes). In 2009, 5,474 people were killed on U.S. roadways and an estimated additional 448,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes that were reported to have involved distracted driving. The age group with the greatest proportion of distracted drivers was the under-20 age group – 16 percent of all drivers younger than 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported to have been distracted while driving. Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. Using a cell phone while driving, whether it’s hand-held or hands-free, delays a driver’s reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent. Kind of makes you want to turn off everything and enjoy the traffic. More information is available at www.distraction.gov.  (Sounds like a website applicable to many government activities – that is, when we have an operating government).

… that Secretary of State Jesse White and the Chicago Bears have unveiled the new permanent Bears Illinois license plate.  Twenty-five dollars from each license plate goes to the Professional Sports Teams Education Fund, earmarked for the Common School Fund supporting Illinois public schools. The Chicago Bears are the third sports team in the state to take advantage of the law. Fans can order random number, personalized or vanity Chicago Bears license plates at www.cyberdriveillinois.com.

… that folks at Cornell University’s ornithology lab say February’s Great Backyard Bird Count “produced a gold mine of information.” Here are the top 10 birds spotted:  Northern Cardinal, mourning dove, dark-eyed junco, downy woodpecker, American goldfinch, blue jay, American crow, black-capped chickadee, house finch and tufted titmouse.

From our readers:

TG: With regular gasoline rapidly approaching $4 per gallon, why is there no apparent concern for the billions of dollars in wasted gasoline and untold thousands of hours wasted sitting in traffic? Traffic in Evanston has become a tortuous exercise due to redundant lights, excessive stop signs and improperly timed lights. How does one get the attention of the proper authorities to begin a serious evaluation
of how driving through Evanston has developed into an exercise of utter
frustration and unmitigated waste?

Your help and guidance would be
appreciated by all who live and drive
in our community.

Thanks. – Barry Goldberg

From TG: TG agrees with you wholeheartedly, Mr. Goldberg, but does not know – short of writing April Fool stories – how to get the attention of the proper authorities. It’s difficult to believe that having traffic lights timed to improve the flow of traffic is an irremovable roadblock, but maybe someone in Streets and San really likes the Sisyphean notion of sporadic speed, with cars stopped at nearly every corner by a stop sign or poorly timed light.

The Traffic Guy thinks …

… that, speaking of traffic and downtown and congestion, TG has also thought of a couple of things, which, granted, at first might seem to add to congestion but which could ultimately make for a saner lifestyle. The first is turning on-street parking spaces into angle rather than parallel spaces. While this would make the streets narrower, it might reduce all that gas used to rock and roll into a parallel space. Also, TG hopes the City would consider making a couple of the downtown streets two-way and bricking in sections of the others to make a paseo or piazza – a place where people would deliberately stroll, drink coffee and take life more slowly. Say, maybe this is an Evanston 150 idea.