Prices are already higher.

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… that the City has installed more precise “No Parking” signs for street-sweeping, replacing, it would seem, the ambiguities of last year, when folks were caught wondering whether to be guided by the permanent signs or the seasonal website information.

… that crews will be working on roads and water mains over the next 12 weeks. Streets will have curbs replaced, the roadway base repaired and the asphalt surface replaced. Some sidewalks and driveway aprons will also be replaced. Watch for temporary “No Parking” and other signs. The work begins May 2 on Lee between McDaniel and Pitner. Other work will be on Grey from Church to Emerson, on Marcy from Grant to Colfax and on Hovland Court from Church to Emerson.

… that the downtown library has two new energy-efficient cooling units. These 9,800-lb. units replaced two 13,000-lb. less-efficient ones on the Library’s rooftop. Here’s a pic from the City of the removal of one of the units. The “huge” replacement process, the City said, “went off with very minimal disruption to residents and traffic.” Gatwood Crane Service and International Piping Systems did the work. The City is likely to get a $16,000 rebate from the Illinois Department of Commerce for this energy-efficient measure.

… that the City is getting some new fire hydrants. Wonder if they’ll be the standard red or whether we’ll ask for a customized purple. And if they’re plain, maybe they’ll be “open” canvases for public art.

Speaking of public art, or, rather, art in public, there have been a few more incidents regarding the Guy Who Cares: The image appeared on a 5-foot particle board leaning for a short time against a planter in front of Whole Foods North (Church and Chicago), with the words “Good Times.” Two people reported seeing a (or the) brick with the image near Dawes Park lagoon. Another reported the image on a paper-towel holder at the Unicorn Café (1723 Sherman). Stay tuned and keep the RT posted.

… that the Liquor Commission was scheduled to vote yesterday on a liquor license for a Tilted Kilt pub, which hopes to open at 1601 Sherman Ave. Tilted Kilt operates a chain of pubs in about 20 states. The waitresses’ scanty garb looks like a Scottish version of Hooterwear. Some people, TG hears, are upset about this, so TG would suggest a dress code rather like those enforced upon Catholic schoolgirls, for the tops and for the “skilts” (skimpy kilts).

… that a few more places are applying for sidewalk cafés: Other Brother Coffee House, Casteel Coffee, Royin Sushi Bar, Jimmy John’s and Bar Louie.

… that NU proposes to install a solar panel array at 2133 Sheridan Road.

… that TG was unable to attend the distracted-driving summit at the high school a couple of weeks ago. Even folks who didn’t attend can take note that texting or talking on a hand-held phone while driving is taboo. An article last week in the New York Times (Science Times section, April 19) reported on a study that distracted driving is one of the top three reasons that teens get into accidents. The other two reasons, the study found, are that teens tend to look only at what is immediately ahead of them, rather than being aware of traffic or activity on the periphery or a few cars ahead or behind them. The third top reason for teen accidents (in this study) was poor road conditions, particularly those caused by weather. Seems a lot of folks don’t have their kids practice driving in snowy, rainy or icy conditions, so when kids hit this kind of weather on their own, trouble lurks.

… that, speaking of studies and roads, NU reports that Joseph Schofer, director of the Infrastructure Technology Institute at Northwestern University, says the country’s “considerable infrastructure problems,” addressing which necessitates spending money, coupled with the mandate to control expenditures at all levels of government, present “a conundrum without a simple solution.” He says this in the context of the recent legislation that would cut $318 billion in federal transportation investments during the next decade. “Almost anything that affects transportation costs influences economic competitiveness – and that means jobs,” says Professor Schofer. He points out several symptoms of “neglected infrastructure problems,” such as roadway congestion and crowding on urban transit systems, weather-related breakdowns in transit services in major cities and out-of-service escalators and elevators. He also says, “In times of panic about the deficit, it is too easy to ignore the costs of not maintaining the infrastructure. These costs are widespread, insidious and, in the end, our children and grandchildren will be forced to pay.”

… that the display on the billboard  at Green Bay and Simpson advertising NU’s athletics has been torn off, possibly because of the obscenity that had been spray-painted there. If indeed the sign was ripped off because of the obscenity, one wishes the City and the Arts Council were so diligent about a similar obscenity on the mural a few hundred yards south of it.

The Traffic Guy Thinks …

… that the City’s possible barter with Wilmette, dead animals for a dead-animal truck, could generate some carrion conversation. Seems that our Animal Control wagon is nearly worn out, and Wilmette has a serviceable one. They’re willing to trade their vehicle, which they say is worth about $10,000, for five years of dead-animal pickups. We already do this for Wilmette, at $35 per animal corpse, and we pick up about 70 animals per year, according to the City. So, is it a fair trade or not? What if we want to increase our carrion-hauling prices? What if they get more than $10,000 worth of dead animals over five years? All this brings to mind that Loudon Wainwright lullaby:

“Dead Skunk in the Middle of the
        Road (Stinkin’ to High Heaven):

“Yeah you got yer dead cat and
            you got yer dead dog

On a moonlight night you
            got yer dead toad frog

Got yer dead rabbit and yer
            dead raccoon

The blood and the guts they’re
            gonna make you swoon!”

… Hope everyone enjoys the rest of Earth Month.