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… that, beginning next week, crews will be replacing deteriorated sections of curbs, sidewalks and ADA curb ramps in 17 places around town. Work could be completed by mid-November. Watch out for the temporary “NO PARKING” signs that will be posted 48 hours prior to the start of work. The City says the construction “will create some inconvenience for abutting residents, but workers will attempt to minimize these problems. The day-time sweeping parking restrictions will be waived for a block surrounding the project limits. The streets will be open for evening and nighttime parking.”

… that, also next week, vehicle stickers will go on sale. With the pre-printed application from the City, residents can go to the website and make the purchase, beginning Oct. 3. The deadline for purchasing the stickers is Dec. 16 (Beethoven’s birthday, as readers doubtless know) and the deadline to get them on the windshield is Jan. 5.

… that the City is going to replace 200 davit-arm street lights along Church Street from McDaniel to Darrow and along Chicago from Howard to Sheridan. This is great – brightening the streets just as the nights grow longer.

… that funding has been cleared for the Chicago Avenue Streetscape project, between Main and South Boulevard.
Basically, it looks like the City and IDOT agree how federal money will be spent.

… that, speaking of streets, the City has imposed a four-ton weight limit on City streets “unless otherwise designated.” The limit will not, of course, apply to streets under the jurisdiction of the Illinois Department of Transportation, City des-ignated truck routes or prohibited truck routes.

… that the City will install solar canopies and electric vehicle charging stations at two City parking lots. One at Central Street and Stewart Avenue and the other not selected.

… that a new fast-food restaurant, Pret a Manger, may be coming to 1701 Sherman Ave. Let’s hope they have refuse containers there that are pret-a-user.

… that AT&T proposes to add nine antennas to an existing monopole and install an equipment shelter at 1155 Hartrey.

… that Sept. 22, the first full day of autumn, was a car-free day. Turin Bicycles, Citizens Greener Evanston, PACE and Whole Foods set up temporary shop in the 909 Davis plaza, offering maps, apples and other green tidbits.

… that, speaking of CTA stations, TG hears that  Evanston’s el stations are included in the CTA’s 2011-12 station-cleaning schedule. The City reports that “CTA indicated that the South Boulevard station was worked on over the past few weeks as part of this new program.  CTA workers and contractors power-washed the station, replaced the roof over the stairs and made other miscellaneous repairs. …” Work has begun on the Noyes Street station, the City reports, with “rotted roofing over the passenger waiting area” having already been removed. This station will also see other repairs and a “deep cleaning.” According to the City, “The rest of the Evanston CTA stations will be addressed in 2012 with Davis scheduled to begin sometime in the early summer. All others will follow.” Hey, Metra: Hint, hint.

… that another one of Evanston’s unsightly holes could vanish into development. The property at 2500 Green Bay, just north of Lincoln, where the building was demolished and some preliminary work done, is pretty much surrounded by a construction fence now, but @ Properties, the new owner, is hoping to get some zoning relief from the City to build there. They want to build 12 units with 15 parking spaces, whereas the site had been approved for eight units by right. With 12 units, 18 parking spaces would be required under present zoning. Stay tuned – City Council has the final say.

From our readers:

TG: A few years ago, when the City installed upgraded stoplights at Ashland and Asbury, they were set up in such a way that when traffic approached Central on either street, the light would turn red on Central to allow passage. Sometimes approaching traffic would have to wait a while if the signal had just recently permitted traffic to cross or turn onto Central. Of course, none of the stoplights was even remotely coordinated with each other or with the stoplight at Central and Green Bay to the west. However, there was at least a measure of predictability to those signals as opposed to the normal rule of “stoplight roulette” that passes for traffic movement coordination.

Lately, however, the Ashland light and now the Asbury light just simply turn red on Central even when there is no cross traffic. Since the power failures of this summer when the stoplights were out or just blinking, these signals have joined the throng of stoplight roulette signals, albeit with some deference to oncoming traffic on Ashland and Asbury. When these lights just turn red for no reason, traffic on busy Central can back up quite a distance. Vehicles sit and wait for up to half a minute at a time for no reason, only to proceed and get stopped at the next light. All of the backed-up traffic makes it more difficult for the frequent ambulances going to Evanston Hospital to navigate around.

Can someone please explain why the stoplights at these two intersections are now turning red at times for no reason? Ironically, when we did have the power failures and these lights were inoperable, traffic flowed more smoothly than ever. Why not just blink them and make them 4-way stops? During NU athletic events, the police direct traffic and either manually run the lights or don’t use them. Why not use stop signs/blinking red lights for cars to stop and go at both intersections at regular times? If there is deemed to be need, for some reason, to run the stoplights during the day, why not at least blink them and create 4-way stops during evenings, nights and other times when traffic is reduced?

One compliment to the City is due for the four-way stop signs at Lincoln and Asbury. That’s a measurable improvement in safety, though some day one of the bikers on Lincoln who fly through and ignore the sign will run into a car turning off of Asbury who would have stopped but couldn’t see oncoming traffic unless it stopped too. However, these signs are great progress.
                   – Thanks, Payson S. Wild, Jr.

From TG: Dear Mr. Wild: TG received your letter several weeks ago and referred the question to the City. Since there has been no response, TG decided to toss your questions out into the public arena but will keep you posted about any response.

The Traffic Guy Thinks …

… that some bicyclists are simply intrepid, blowing through stop signs and traffic lights as if they’re invulnerable or riding double to slow traffic behind them.

… that everyone should consider taking the online survey about a possible CTA Yellow Line station at either Asbury or Dodge. The Ridge Avenue option has, well, gone by the wayside, for several reasons: the proximity to the CTA’s Howard Street and South Boulevard stations, the potential impacts to the Oakton Historic District; traffic, operational and safety and other impacts from a station there. The survey will be on the City’s website, cityofevanston.org, through Nov. 4.

… that, since this does seem to be a bicycle-permeated column, TG will also put in a plug for Bike the Ridge, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Oct. 2. This is really a great, fun time. Decorate your bikes (or not) and put on your helmets – Church to Howard, here we come. And, the night before BTR, there will be a fundraiser for the Ridgeville Park District Cultural Development Foundation (RPD is the place where everyone at BTR stops for stuff and socializing).

… that this City could use a good welcoming sign, something like that iconic “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign. Readers may recall that TG harps often about the multitude of signs barking at residents and visitors “Not that! Not Here! Not Now!” and thinks we need a way to soften it. How about a “Welcome to Fabulous (this is a “working adjective – readers will doubtless come up with one better) Evanston” then below it a message conveying something like “We’re glad to have you. To protect our visitors and residents we have a few strict rules: Don’t speed, don’t use hand-held devices while driving, don’t stay too long in the parks and do follow our exotic parking rules.” Or, more succinctly …