Jack and officer Schienbein

… that there will soon be a three-way stop at Church and Judson. The City reports that a majority of the residents in the area support it, out of concern for pedestrian safety. There is now (many readers already know) a stop light at Church and Sheridan, which could increase pedestrian traffic to the beach and summer festivals and concerts. 

… that, it being winter, the City is sending street-sweeper #661 to Standard Equipment Company in Chicago for biannual inspection, overhaul and required maintenance. Two others, #667 and #668 will be serviced in-house.

… that the City will purchase about seven months’ worth of fuel, at a cost of $555,000 from World Fuel Services Incorporated in Riverside. That company won the bid of the Northwest Municipal Conference, of which the City of Evanston is a member, for all grades and types of fuels used by City vehicles. The $555,000 represents about 60 percent of the budgeted amount, so if the City folks can extend that fuel over seven months instead of six, well, that could be a good thing.

… that the speed limit on Oakton between Dodge and Ridge has not changed. The alderman had sought a reduction, to 20 miles per hour, but her colleagues rejected the request 5-4. Maybe speed humps and curb bump-outs will be in order.

… that Jack the police department’s K-9 patrol dog, has retired because of poor health. Though he will not be on duty any more, he will remain with his handler, Officer Ted Schienbein. The two lived together while they worked together, and Officer Schienbein has purchased Jack from the City to care for him and keep him as a pet.

… that it was great to have the chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts and the chairman of the Illinois Arts Council here last month for a boots-on-the-ground tour of the arts-district potential in downtown Evanston. Speaking of Downtown Evanston, TG hears that Oak Park’s downtown underwent a similar rebranding process and came up with the name Downtown Oak Park. Now, how much did we pay our consultants to come up with the name and how long did it take? Let’s compare notes with DTOP.

… that Polar Plungers, mostly police officers, will be dipping their toes or even their whole bodies into Lake Michigan from Northwestern’s beach starting at 1 p.m. on Feb. 25 – always a great time of year to jump in the lake for a good cause, in this case a fundraiser for Special Olympics.

… that CTA will hold a meeting at 7 p.m. on Feb. 6 at the downtown Library to update folks on the progress of the Purple Line repairs.

From our readers: TG: Since I live in the neighborhood, I am often driving north on Custer, trying to make a left or right turn onto Main Street. The parking space on the southwest corner in front of Lupita’s turns any driving experience into a bona fide thrill ride. It is nearly impossible, with a car parked in that spot, to see traffic coming from the west. Add to this the fact that there’s plenty of Metra foot traffic and a mailbox near our local post office directly across the street where cars pull up … well, you get the idea. I realize that the parking space represents City revenue, but what about public safety? – Linny Hansen

From TG: TG has been in that very position at Custer and Main, Ms. Hansen, inching out to see who’s about to hit and to be hit. Your suggestion about clearing one parking space for the sake of a wider vista from Custer is a good one, and TG also agrees with the probable reaction of City official to a loss of parking-meter revenue. Maybe they could squeeze one extra space in the lot behind Trattoria DOC or the one west of Ten Thousand Villages. Not being in possession of a tape measure at present, TG has no idea how this would be done. 

TG: If you are into a winter sidewalk walking adventure, please explore the sidewalks adjacent to parking lots of major businesses. Though most businesses are diligent in shoveling the walkways alongside their buildings, some are lax in cleaning the sidewalks by their parking lots. For example, along the west side of Dodge north of Dempster the entrance to the McDonald’s lot is clear but the snow was used to create a barrier pedestrians must climb to continue on the unshoveled sidewalk. At the same location, the closed KFC has its parking lot but not its sidewalks plowed. Finally, the Bank America parking lot at Greenwood and Sherman is perfectly plowed but the parallel sideway is neglected. Businesses should be reminded that customers walk to building entrances.     – Dan Joseph

From TG: Your examples are stellar, Mr. Joseph, but probably not singular. This poor showing on the part of too many businesses is found all over town. But the sloppy job of snow-clearing reflects poorly on them, as it betrays an arrogant attitude toward residents, customers and potential customers. 

The Traffic Guy Thinks …

… that City Council has just added to the move-in costs of new residents by approving a moving-van fee of $100. Welcome to Evanston. Maybe we could put the moving-van fee up on a sign and post it at all our gateways, making this mostly wonderful City seem more junky and unfriendly. ’Course, the moving-van fee applies to those who are leaving, so maybe it’s just an exit penalty. Or maybe the City should impose the fee only on those who are leaving Evanston, not on intra-city movers and newcomers. Application of the ordinance aside, the logic behind it seems eerily similar to too many other City fees: “Let’s gouge our residents.”