Land-rush on Central Street.

… that some folks have been concerned about these hose-and-cannister devices lurking around elm trees. The cannisters contain Arbotect, the Dutch elm disease fungicide, and the hoses are the hookups.

… that the beaches are open and summer camps are in full swing, creating new traffic patterns and temporary congestion at community centers and along the lakefront. Honking horns is not necessary – the kids want to get out as quickly as possible in the morning, and the parents want them back safely (in) afterwards. Think of it as, at most, a temporary inconvenience – the cost of having summer. Beaches are open 10:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m., weather and beach conditions permitting. 

… that construction began this week and will continue for 10 weeks on water-main replacement on parts of Dodge, Ashland and Lee. The project, according to the City, includes the replacement of the existing deteriorated water main. Dodge Avenue and Ashland Avenue will be resurfaced from curb to curb.

… that, speaking of streets, the City is considering amending the City Code to establish a City-wide limit of weight – four tons – for streets not designated as truck routes or restricted truck routes. In conjunction with that, the City proposes
to ease the restrictions on other streets. While this might ease weight, noise and pollution on some streets, it would allow trucks to be on more streets. The full list can be found as a sidebar to this article on the RoundTable’s website, evanstonroundtable.com, but unless you live way inland from an arterial street, expect trucks.

Here’s the background, as provided by the Public Works Department: Right now we have truck routes, truck-restricted routes, and routes with 8,000-pound limits. Placing 8,000-pound limits on primary streets pushes some of the trucks to use adjacent parallel residential streets to deliver service. Well, everyone knows what can happen then: vibration, noise and hastened deterioration of streets. So staff proposes a City-wide limit of four tons except on truck routes or truck-prohibited routes. “Staff will notify all major businesses in the area of the changes and work with the Evanston Police Department to arrange for target enforcement of problem areas. Establishing a City-wide weight limit will save the City thousands of dollars in signage, since City-wide weight limit signs would only need to be posted on all approaches to the City instead of each individual street.”

The four-ton restriction will not apply to the designated truck routes or the overweight permit routes that are under IDOT jurisdiction.

… that the City is getting seven new vehicles, five for Streets & San and two for Parks/Forestry: six dump trucks with plows and one pickup. Hope the City gets lotsa money for our old trucks with those beautiful (albeit somewhat worn) painted plow blades. The City is also getting a vacuum truck that’s fairly green. According to the City, “this vehicle exceeds the present 2010 EPA Emission Standards and does not require diesel exhaust fluid tanks for a chemically-based liquid urea compound. This allows less equipment (no additional storage tank) or chemically based diesel exhaust fluid as a result of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) technology. In addition, this unit will be fueled with a B-20 bio-diesel blend of fuel.” The City says that because of the “special operational requirements of this vehicle there is no suitable field tested hybrid alternate available at this time.”

… that the City will hire KLF Trucking of Markham to haul and dispose of construction debris for the Utilities Department and Public Works Department. The “debris,” according to the City, “consists of spoils from maintenance and repair of the streets, water distribution and sewer conveyance systems” – but not detritus from street-sweeping.

… that the VRAD-landscaping contractor, Weiler Nurseries, revisited the City recently to inspect their plantings. Paul D’Agostino of Parks/Forestry and Facilities Management for the City said the company will return in the next few weeks “to replace quite a few plants that have died, and will also trim those that have
just ‘died back’ but are actually healthy. They … will also plant the screenings along a VRAD on Wesley” that was missed previously.

Speaking of plants and growing things, the Traffic Guy hears that some of the kids in the Summer Youth Employment Program will  trim brush from alley right-of-ways.  Workers will dispose only of brush that they have trimmed. Flyers will be distributed 48 hours in advance to notify residents of the alley right-of-ways to be trimmed to allow residents time to trim shrubs on their own should they choose to do so.

… that Bike to Work Week did not appear to fill bike racks at the Civic Center or a lot of downtown racks. Still, for the long-range commuters and others, there was a bike pit stop on Friday, hosted by the City and by Turin bike. Hot coffee and goodie bags were available. The City has kicked off a pilot program designed to increase public safety and reduce conflicts between pedestrians and bicyclists and between motorists and bicyclists. The project is called the Walk Bikes on Sidewalk, Ride Bikes on Street Pilot Project. The Chicago Avenue business district corridor between Clark Street and Davis Street in downtown Evanston has been chosen as the pilot area. The program includes sidewalk stencils at curb ramps, posters for shops and police education efforts.

Says  First Ward Alderman Judy Fiske, “Cyclists are reminded to be good neighbors by recognizing the hazards they create for business patrons and pedestrians when they ride on the sidewalk.”

… that the City will purchase 111 gallons of Arbotect fungicide to inject about 225 public elms against Dutch elm disease. This will be the second inoculation of this set of trees; they were first treated in 2008, and the survival rate is phenomenal. Now if we could just get something effective and affordable for the emerald ash borer. … The City says the elm-tree injections – to be done in-house – plus the 2,200+ injections being performed by the outside contractor, must be completed by the end of August.

The Traffic Guy thinks …

… that the City Council did a nice thing for residents by amending the leaf-blower ordinance to ban the use of commercial leaf-blowers on Sundays and on holidays (City, state and federal) that occur within the legal-use window. The $75 minimum fine is intact.

… that the proposed bag ordinance has been sent to the Human Services Committee, where perhaps it will receive some deliberation. TG opines that this is a state-wide issue, not solely an Evanston one, and that the City should do as it did when folks wanted to ban smoking in restaurants: Be the leader of a movement, not a pilot program.

… On your marks, get set – sit. Parade fanatics can put their chairs out at 6 a.m. on July 1.

The Run-Down on Trucks in Evanston

There is an 8,000-pound (four-ton) limit on streets, with the following exceptions: The state has jurisdiction over these as truck or overweight-permit routes: Gross Point Road: south City limits to Crawford; Crawford: Gross Point Road to Central; Central: Lincolnwood to Sherman; Church: west City limits to Dodge; Simpson: west City limits to Elgin Road; Elgin Road: Simpson to Leland; Dempster: west City limits to Sherman Place; Asbury: Oakton to Howard; South Boulevard: Chicago to Sheridan; and Sheridan: South to south City limits. This looks like it means no trucks can use Evanston streets as through streets – either at all or in most cases. But wait, the City also has power to allow trucks and has designated or proposes to designate these street segments as truck routes: Central: Sherman Avenue to Gross Point Road (will be amended from Lincolnwood Avenue to Gross Point Road); Chicago: Howard to Clark; Church: McCormick Boulevard to Chicago (will be amended from Dodge to Chicago); Dodge: Howard to Simpson;

Emerson: McCormick to Sherman (will be amended from Leland to Sherman); Green Bay Road: Emerson to Isabella; Greenwood: Chicago to Sherman; Main: McCormick to Chicago; Oak: Clark to Davis; Ridge: Clark to Emerson; Sherman: Dempster to Central; Simpson: Dodge to Ashland and Ashland Avenue to Green Bay; Dempster Street: McCormick to Oak (will be removed since it is under IDOT jurisdiction).

In addition, the City Code would be updated to “include the following streets to

provide service delivery routes to trucks that weigh over 8,000 pounds and to connect the designated truck route network”: Ashland: Green Bay to Simpson (because of the angle of the Noyes/Green Bay intersection); Asbury: Green Bay to Emerson, since southbound Green Bay Road left turns are prohibited onto Emerson); Clark: Oak to Ridge, to complete the truck route to access Emerson; Crawford: north City limits to Gross Point Road, and Central Street to

the south City limits to connect IDOT overweight permit routes; Davis: Chicago to Oak to complete the network so that trucks can exit the area and not loop back to use Sherman; Dempster: Sherman Place to Chicago (connecting the IDOT overweight permit route to City truck route) and Elgin Road/Clark Street: from Emerson to Chicago (so that trucks do not proceed on Emerson to Sherman; the viaduct clearance on this segment of the street is greater than on Emerson); Gross Point: north City limits to Crawford (to connect IDOT overweight routes);

Oakton: west City limits to Dodge (to serve the commercial/industrial area to the west; this section was previously a Cook County route); McCormick: Emerson to Green Bay Road (to connect Emerson to Green Bay; this section was previously an IDOT route).