This bike corral is similar to the one coming to Benson Avenue: racks enclosed by a pen of metal tubing.

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… that the City has granted a utility easement to Sunesys L.L.C. of Oakbrook Terrace to install about 101 feet of new dark fiber-optic cable. The cable will connect various AT&T sites throughout the City by establishing “the connection from the existing AT&T manhole in the alley east of Orrington Avenue, south of Davis Street to the 1603 Orrington Avenue property.”

Sunesys will receive a temporary construction easement and a 20-year exclusive agreement for a 3-foot wide by 101-foot long easement, and in return, the City will receive $2015.

… that the City will spend about $2.4 million for new vehicles and another $1.1 million in equipment replacement to help maintain its fleet, 105 vehicles of which are due (or more than due) for replacement.  Public works is hoping for a plow with spray tank for liquid anti-icing and deicing chemicals (yes, the City does use geomelt), a small sidewalk tractor plow and a snow plow with a snow blower attachment for the front end loader for use along the lakefront. Staff says the new plow/spray tank combo should reduce by 10-15 percent (700 to 1,000 tons) at minimum the amount of rock salt used each year. Sounds good – if we ever get another winter. Fleet services will continue some “green initiatives” such as using bio-diesel fuel in some of the older vehicles and recycling tires, batteries, motor oil and antifreeze.

…that the City will pay about $304,000 to the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago to dispose of sludge generated in the water treatment. This is an annual charge. City staff say the initial phase of the water treatment process involves adding coagulants to raw Lake Michigan water in order to form a “floc,” which helps to trap and solidify impurities in the water and allow them to settle out prior to filtration. During October and April of each year, this sediment, or sludge, is removed from the basins by manually washing and rinsing it into a sewer and sending it to the MWRDGC for treatment. The cost for treating the sludge depends on both its volume and its content of biological oxygen demand and suspended solids. The City has to pay a lot more this year because storms in the lake churned up alot of mud and stuff from the battom. To pay for sludge removal, the project to clean, strip and repaint the south water standpipe has been deferred.

… that the obsequiousness to Trader Joe’s continues. The City proposes to purchase the improved property at 1223-25 Chicago Ave. for $1.4 million so they can tear down the building and put up a parking lot for TJ customers. Of course, nobody thought it was paradise – just L.A. Tan.

… that the new location for a pilot bike corral is in front of the Evanston Athletic Club, on the east side in about the middle of the 1700 block of Benson. The corral, which would occupy space previously dedicated to two metered parking spaces, would have six or seven racks, thus accommodating 12-14 bikes. The idea is to have a central location for bikes that would be convenient for the bike-riders, many of whom now hitch their bikes to parking meters and street signs, which can make the narrow sidewalk there seem pretty crowded.  The cost for construction and equipment would be about $3,000, and then of course the City would lose the revenue from those two metered spaces. But some gains (pedestrian safety, decreased car use and congestion) are often non-monetary. The bike corral could be operational by Saturday. Potential locations for other bike corrals, as suggested by the Environment Board, are on Maple between Church and Clark, Chicago and Church, and Sherman between Lake and Grove.

… that, speaking of bikes, voting closed on March 19 on the color of the protected bike path that will be built along Church from Dodge to the lakefront. The color will help demarcate the bike lane from vehicle lanes, as will, presumably, other physical barriers. 

… that the City will be spending about a quarter of a million dollars this year for 50 new streetlight power centers. There are 109 of these centers, which control the street lighting throughout the community, and 86 of them are 25-30 years old. This makes repairs no longer a reasonable

… that the City has a pretty good deal on the purchase of street cold patch material (the pothole’s friend), in this case Unique Pavement Material, by going through the Municipal Partnering Committee rather than going it alone.  Instead of paying $148/ton, which was the asking price by the former supplier, the City will pay $114/ton for the same UPM. Streets and Sanitation folks say the “formulation of UPM” makes it so crews have to fill potholes only once per season and can last several years.

… that the City will purchase its needed auto parts locally for the next three years, from CARQUEST on Main Street.

From our readers:

TG: This letter is in response to the frustrating tale told by Michael Moran about enforcing the anti-idling ordinance. Have you tried speaking to your children’s school staff? The reason I ask is because I was also really offended by the exhaust on our walk home. So, one day I asked our assistant principal at Oakton, Jerry Success, if there was anything he could do about it. He was outside at the time and walked right over to the bus drivers and told them not to idle. There has been no idling at all since. And now Oakton is going to move the “NO IDLING” sign to the new bus turn-around. We may just be more fortunate at Oakton, but still I recommend you start at your school. 

-— Good luck. Clare Tallon Ruen

From TG: Good going, Ms. Ruen

The Traffic Guy thinks …

… that one way to tell the April Fool stories in this issue from the other stories is by looking at the headline font: the April Fool stories are headlined in, what else, Comic Sans. Font geeks know, of course, that that font is controversial in its own right. TG has seen, in homage to Rene Magritte, “This is not a font.”

… that if this unseasonable weather continues, folks will be saying that whether March comes in like a lamb or a lion, it goes out like a fire-breathing dragon.