… that more than 50 trees were damaged in the July 11 storm. Some were uprooted; others lost branches, both large and small. About half of the ComEd customers in town were without power for at least a few hours, and service on the Purple Line was suspended temporarily on July 11 (as it had been during the June 25 storm). Noyes Street between Wesley and Asbury was blocked off totally – even the alleys (except for the wily TG and a camera). For some, it was four days or more before lights, TVs and computers were back up and running.
… that traffic lights that had turned into four-way stops because of the power outage were causing backups at Main and Ridge, Dempster and Asbury and several other places. The Greenleaf/Dodge light, however, was knocked out not by a storm but by a traffic accident that knocked down the traffic signal mast arm and a traffic signal pole on the southwest corner, Utilities Director Dave Stoneback told the RT. The mast arm controls south bound Dodge traffic, and the traffic signal pole handles east/west Greenleaf traffic. With both of these down there was not enough signal visibility to operate the signal safely, so that is why it was operated in flash mode, he said.
… that the City has engaged Schroeder & Schroeder of Skokie to replace this summer’s quota of curbs and sidewalks. The bid for alley paving was awarded to A. Lamp Concrete Contractor of Schaumburg. And the City has renewed its agreement with Motorola for police radio services.
… that, despite former misgivings by some City Council members, the City will purchase a 2007 Ford F-250 animal control vehicle from the Village of Wilmette for $19,700. Instead of the proposal for us to pick up their dead animals, the City is buying just the truck and will pick up our own animals with it.
… that the new 2012 vehicle sticker, designed by graphic artist and Sixth Ward alderman Mark Tendam, combines the logos of the five organizations that had vied for exclusive position on the sticker: The Cradle, The Evanston Day Nursery, Mather LifeWays, Evanston Community Foundation and the Chessman Club of the North Shore. Some City officials think this may be the last vehicle sticker ever, as the City may purchase vehicle-recognition software that recognizes (sans sticker) whether the wheel tax has been paid. However, it was pointed out that vehicles without some sort of sticker often receive tickets in Chicago.
… that a water main near Wesley and Dempster burst last week, gushing up though the street and prying some of the parkway sod loose. No one seemed particularly upset about this minor gusher erupting curbside on an otherwise calm, sunny afternoon. Water was shut off in the area for a few hours the next day.
… that the City will receive planning staff assistance services delivered by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) to develop a water efficiency program for the City of Evanston. This could be a good deal, because our water rate and sewer rates frequently increase so the City can pay off the loans taken out to pay for infrastructure upgrades. Compounding the problem (for the ratepayer, that is) is the fact that as residents kick into conservation/stewardship mode and use less water, the City still needs money to pay off these loans … and, ta-da, rate hikes. So a plan could benefit everyone, even if it just gives notice of proposed cost increases.
… that the City Council continues to ratify the largesse – or you could call it ‘seed money’ – of the City’s Economic Development Committee. The Central Street Business Association, the Dr. Hill Merchants Association, the Chicago-Dempster Merchant Association, the Main Street Merchants Association, the WestEnd Business Association will each receive $5,000. Hecky’s Barbeque, 1902 Green Bay Road, will receive about $11,500 for façade improvements (going halvsies with the City). Gordon Foods (for whom the City secretly gutted the green building ordinance) will receive $100,000 for environmental remediation (about a third of the estimated cost) at their proposed new site at 2424 Oakton. Finally – and of course TG loves this one – the City has agreed to absorb up to $66,000 “for costs associated with construction permit fees for the Chicago Transit Authority’s project replacing the viaducts on Grove, Dempster and Greenleaf streets.” Speaking of the CTA, TG hears that universal fare cards for PACE, Metra and the CTA might be in the offing in the next few years. This makes a lot of sense. Metra charges by the distance and CTA by the ride, so there has to be a computer program somewhere that can combine the two.
… that Governor Pat Quinn recently signed into law two bills aimed at spurring “electric vehicle (EV) adoption in the state,” according to information from the Center for Neighborhood Technology. I-GO Car Sharing a part of CNT has been “instrumental in fostering EV deployment in the state and advocating for passage of the two bills. … House Bill 2902 puts in place a framework for electric vehicle policy development for the state. … House Bill 2903 amends the Alternate Fuel Vehicle program at Illinois EPA to create a grant opportunity for car sharing organizations to receive funding for the purchase of EVs. The existing program provides rebates to owners of alternate fuel vehicles, using money from a vehicle fleet fee dedicated for this purpose. The program has been underutilized in recent years, and this bill will allow more of the funding to be used to meet the program goals,” according to CNT.
… that former Mayor Lorraine Morton was proud as a peacock on June 25, when her granddaughter Elizabeth K. Brasher gave the commencement speech for the National-Louis University graduation exercises at Aerie Crown Theatre in Chicago. Elizabeth was graduated with honors in psychology and is now working toward her master’s in communication at Northwestern University.
From our readers: TG: As you observed in your column that certain off street parking garages in downtown Evanston are free for an hour or less but they charge $2 for between one hour, one minute and two hours. On street metered parking is only $1.50 for two hours. Why would anyone want to park less conveniently at a garage when they can search for more convenient street parking and pay less?
The Multi Modal Transportation Plan prepared by T. Y. Lin International in 2009 shows that off- street parking in downtown Evanston is not being used efficiently, with off-street parking never more than 55 percent of capacity where on street parking is utilized as much as 80 percent.
Simply stated, people enjoy paying less for something that is more convenient.
– Daniel Joseph
From TG: While TG is able to understand your points, they may be difficult for some at the City to grasp: In the downtown parking garages, the information about charges is incorrect; the cost at times is greater than on-street parking; and navigating the poorly designed Maple Avenue garage remains a nightmare. And while TG is whining, something should be done about that deplorably slow money-taking machine in the City parking spaces adjacent to the Best Western on Sherman. The machine is slow and there is often a line of befuddled then smoldering would-be customers. No wonder the street beckons.
From our readers: TG: Want a
different take on the 4th? How beer and other alcoholic beverages are being consumed and the bottles and cans flaunted around, kids drunk and the
bottles and cans then littering the grounds west of the tennis courts?
From TG: That behavior is unacceptable. Maybe the City should place parade-day behavior rather than pre-parade chair placement in the police department’s sights.
The Traffic Guy thinks …
… that it was somewhat ironic that the storm that caused the most power outages was not the one that dropped the most rain.
… that, speaking of ironic occurrences, TG thinks this is right up there: Even though Northwestern University said it did not wish to participate further in wind-farm discussions, it is promoting its business school, Kellogg, with an ad that shows Kellogg’s logo and colors superimposed on an off-shore wind farm.
… that the disruption of so many traffic signals should have allowed the City’s traffic engineers to assess traffic flows. Wonder if we’ll see any changes in signal time (hint, hint: at Greenleaf/Dodge).