At least it’s not kudzu.

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… that it’s official: passengers in the back seat now have to wear their seatbelts.

… that repairs continue on Dodge Avenue, right now between Lake and Dempster but this will be a moveable beast. Southbound Sheridan detours continue. Watch for signs.

… that, speaking of street repairs, the City is purchasing stuff to repair streets and curbs. We will procure 500 tons of modified hot mix surface and hot mix binder, plus a lot of concrete: regular (400 cubic yards); high early strength concrete (250 cubic yards); and flowable fill (50 cubic yards).

… that the City has purchased the property at 623-627½ Howard St., partly in hopes that Polarity Theatre will relocate up here from way down in trendy Wicker Park. What a treat it will be to have live theater on Howard Street again. Does anyone remember those great plays at Wisdom Bridge? 

… that the bike in this photo may be vined in for the summer.

… that the National Safety Council has promulgated this information on distracted driving: Distracted driving – a preventable risk – is a factor in about 80 percent of all motor vehicle crashes. A driver who uses a cell phone is impaired four ways – visually, auditorally, physically, and cognitively. A driver who uses a cellphone is cognitively impaired to the level of drunk driving. A driver who uses a hands-free device has the same cognitive impairment and crash risk. Drivers using cellphones account for approximately 11 percent of drivers on the road at any time.  While TG does not promote distracted driving, it might also be prudent to note that cellphones are not the only distractions, and that the problem may be distractable drivers.

… that folks all over town – not just in the north – want to keep Chandler-Newberger Center open. These “Save Chandler” yard signs are popping up all over the City.

… that, speaking of signs, Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl recently dedicated this sign honoring the women’s lacrosse team at Northwestern University, national champions again this year.

… that the Talking Farm announced that it now “has something to grow and someplace special to grow it.” The Skokie Park District agreed to lease a two-acre site just west of the intersection of Howard and McCormick. The TF folks say they plan to “grow produce using sustainable methods; to offer classes in growing, preserving and enjoying local foods, and to conduct research relevant to urban agriculture.” This year they’ll break ground on a 10,000-square-foot raised-bed demonstration garden, and they have plans for “larger growing areas, a permanent net-zero energy building with greenhouse and root cellar, a small orchard and agro-forest, fences for vertical growing and hoop houses for season extension.” This farm not only has something to say – it has lots to do. Readers doubtless recall that the TF people manage the Edible Acre at ETHS and helped establish Kingsley School’s Green Acres at Twiggs Park as well as gardens at NU and Oakton Community College.

From our readers: TG: Re: Truck routes. I live on the 400 block of Dewey. As you go east on Oakton at Dodge, there is a truck route sign that shows arrows pointing north and south on Dodge, but not straight ahead. Does that mean trucks can’t go down Oakton from that point forward? If so, then the 18-wheelers that come down Dewey several times a day should not be doing this. Will the new proposals restrict these semis on our residential street? I sure hope so as they rattle the windows, have cracked plaster at a neighbor’s house and strip the branches off the trees, all to get to Clesen’s greenhouse at Dewey and Mulford.

– Pat Frank

From TG: TG understands that your alderman made a valorous but ultimately vain attempt to keep trucks out of the area there. The answer – and you should verify this with your alderman or the City’s traffic maven – is: It depends on the weight of the truck and the designation of that part of Dewey. The weight limit is four tons on most of the street, and 18 wheels does indicate a pretty heavy truck. The City has a map on its website, which could also be of some help. 

TG: I understand from calling the RoundTable office that you have been trying for over a year to get the City of Evanston to reconsider its use of stop signs when advising motorists that it is a state law to stop for pedestrians within crosswalks. The confusion caused by these signs is getting worse. Not only are motorists suddenly stopping when no one is around, as acknowledged on the City’s own website, but now pedestrians are acting as if cars will automatically stop at marked crosswalks.

I just had to slam on my brakes when a woman jogged into Sheridan Road without hesitation and knowing full well that I was close to the intersection. The woman did stop jogging in order to point to the sign and lecture me on how it is a state law to stop. What this woman and others don’t realize is that the new law also clearly states: (b) No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a moving vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.

It should go without saying that it is also incredibly stupid to run into the street in front of a moving vehicle.

My suggestion is that the “stop” signs in the crosswalk warnings should be replaced with “yield” signs. Yielding to pedestrians is, after all, what the law has always required. The new law just made it clear that when “yielding,” the motorist must come to a complete stop.  I have seen “yield” signs in other jurisdictions and they seem to be just as effective as, and less confusing than, ours. If the City wants to make it clear that when “yielding,” one must stop, they could add “Stop Here” in text to the larger signs with the arrow.  I think those larger signs cause most of the confusion because the stop sign incorporated within them is so large.

How can we get the attention of the City to hear our concerns and recommendations? Should we organize a protest at City Hall?

– Thanks, Thomas J. Rehwaldt

From TG: Thanks for your letter, Mr. Rehwaldt. Although the time of about a year is correct, TG fears someone at the RoundTable has exaggerated TG’s efforts. TG and at least one other writer here have tried to explain and expose the confusion that reigns because of these at-best ambiguous and at worst disastrously accident-promoting signs but have demonstrably been unsuccessful. Below is an example of the “Yield” sign to which you refer. Using these could make a world of difference here – lessening the potential for accidents and decreasing frustration all around.

Your other point – about some pedestrians who taunt drivers by walking into roadways when they can see a car – is also well-made. The converse is also true: At some point, where there is a cluster of pedestrians waiting for traffic to clear, drivers should courteously yield to them. And then there are bicycles. We all have to share the road and act reasonably, not selfishly. And those “Yield” signs could help with those efforts.

The Traffic Guy Thinks …

… that the next two summer festivals are coming up: Ethnic Arts in mid-July and Lakeshore Arts in early August. The RT is delighted to be a sponsor of each.

… that it sure would be nice if the City Council could stop their divisive power plays and do something nice for the residents of Evanston. If anyone asks, though, TG has a wonderful plan for reconfiguring some public spaces and buildings here.