Snowy sun sculpture.

… that last week’s winter storm left most Evanstonians relatively unharmed – annoyed, perhaps, and with achy muscles, but hardly surprised, and, at best, enjoying winter recreation.

… that it is now a violation of City code as well as state law for drivers and passengers not to wear seat belts. 

… that it’s official: Parking meter fees go up Feb. 1; fines go up (get this!) April 1.

… that the City will soon install those canopies for electric and hybrid cars in the public parking lots at 1702 Chicago Ave., 825 Hinman Ave. and 2122 Central St. 

… that the Evanston Police Department has posted the results of its holiday traffic enforcement initiatives: 8 for driving under the influence; 1 for driving with a suspended license; 17 for speeding; 14 for having no motor vehicle insurance; 5 for failure to wear a seat belt; 5 for operating a cell phone while driving; 2 with an expired driver’s license and 2 for driving with no valid license; 17 equipment violations, 2 for possession of cannabis and 1 for illegal transportation of open alcohol.

… that a student group called Sincerely, America, striped about a half-mile of sidewalk on the east side of Sheridan Road with (they said) water-soluble orange paint. This was an attention-getting stunt, but University and City police issued citations to two of the co-founders for defacement of City property. The organization hopes to defeat the City’s “brothel” law. Although at least one City official has told the RoundTable, “There is no brothel law,” the moniker is a common one in university communities for ordinances prohibiting a lot of (in Evanston’s case, more than three) unrelated persons living in the same dwelling unit. 

… that someone has suggested that since the company that purchased Evanston Plaza is named Bonnie Investment, perhaps they would like to invest in a Tilted Kilt (the bar with bared-midriff waitstaff that was rejected for downtown Evanston) franchise.

… that Northwestern University is planning to upgrade some off-campus lighting in order to improve student safety. The Daily Northwestern reports, “The pilot program will improve lighting in an area of the Fifth Ward extending north from Emerson Street to Noyes Street and west of Sheridan to Ridge Avenue, which includes many student apartments. The program involves increasing the power of street lamps from 85 watts to 165 watts, and the University expects to complete it by the end of January, said Lucile Krasnow, special assistant for community relations at NU.” The City has partnered with the University in evaluating the lighting and any problems there, the Daily said. The University and Evanston will share the cost of improvements to off-campus lighting, according to University officials.

… that Patrick DeHaan and Greg Laskoski, senior petroleum analysts for GasBuddy.com, report that the average price of gasoline last month, $3.26 per gallon, may represent a significant decline in recent months, but is still $.21 per gallon higher than the average price a year ago. In the Chicago area in 2009, the price was $1.78 at the start and $2.95 at the peak on June 5; and in 2010 the prices were $2.81 and $3.33 (Dec. 28). Last year the start price was $3.32 and the peak, on May 11, was $4.52.

… that, speaking of stats, state climatologist Jim Angel reports that the statewide average temperature for December 2011 in Illinois was 35.7 degrees, 5.9 degrees above average, making it the ninth  warmest December on record (that is, since 1895). The highest temperature for the month was 67 degrees at Cairo on Dec. 5, and the lowest, not even a week later, was 0 degrees at Monmouth on Dec. 10. He also reports the following information: The statewide average precipitation last month was 3.43 inches, 0.74 inches above average. Snowfall, though, was much below average across the state, with the highest (4 inches) at Stockton. In comparison, by mid-December last winter, much of Illinois had experienced 10 to 25 inches of snow.

From our readers: TG: I read the Dec. 21 edition of the Evanston RoundTable and wanted to know if in Shawn Jones’ “Council Bytes” about the new license plate recognition system, if “moving the car around the block is no longer an option” as the article states, will the system allow a car to park one car spot from the parking spot just vacated? What will the system flag as a violation? How far from your old spot does the new spot have to be in order to be safe? – Brian Scott Peters

From TG: As far as TG could ascertain, answers to questions like these will essentially “evolve” as PEOs (parking enforcement officers) and the citizenry
get accustomed to what this software will and will not do. Right now people who do move one space up in a two-hour limited non-metered area are ticketed. Who knows if that will change.

TG: I’ve left messages twice with Streets department to please paint stripes on Main on the bridge over the canal. Because there are no lane markers, a third lane of westbound traffic forms as a left-turn lane that actually occupies the eastbound lane. It often happens quickly during a light change, and if you’re eastbound you’re suddenly forced to merge into a single lane of traffic. Several times over the last two years I’ve seen and/or been in near misses due to this situation. Can you please bring it up with the City or in your article?  – Thanks. Susan Chaney

TG: I second Susan Chaney’s comment, or maybe she’s seconding mine. … In the past few years I’ve complained to a number of Evanston Skokie departments, along with the canal authorities, and got nowhere. The crown of the bridge puts eastbound traffic in a blind spot to westbound cars wanting to turn south on McCormick. As I’ve said before, are they waiting for someone to be killed in a head-on collision? – Kathy Stohrer

From TG: Thank you for your letters, Ms. Chaney and Ms. Stohrer. The problem of the stripeless bridge is either a recurring problem or a long unaddressed one. In either case, it is one about which TG has carped before. It seems that Ms. Stohrer has gone even further but to no avail. TG will again forward these complaints to the City and let you two, and readers, know of any response.

The Traffic Guy thinks …

… that Winter Bike to Work Day is Jan. 20. Hope the weather will give us a brrrrreak.

… that the City may be onto something: In recognition of a donation of $5,000 to the farmers’ market, Evanston Hospital was able to get its own day,
Jan. 9 of this year. This leaves 300 potentially eponymous days to sell this leap year. At $5,000 (minimum, TG thinks) per day, the City could rope in another $1.8 million. And all it would cost Evanston is the paper and printing costs for a proclamation.

CTA Yellow Line Meeting Set for Jan. 24

The City of Evanston is finalizing an engineering feasibility study to identify a preferred location for an infill station along the CTA Yellow Line (Skokie Swift) service in South Evanston. A meeting to present the findings of the study and the preferred station will be held from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Jan. 24 in the Linden Room of Levy Center, 300 Dodge Ave.

The meeting will be accessible to persons with disabilities. Further information about the project and a survey is available on the project website, www.evanstonyellowline station.org.