The new viaduct for Greenleaf Street is set up, and work is ongoing for a roll-in in a few weeks.

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… that new CTA viaducts have landed.  The one for Grove is sitting in the middle of the street, between The Keg and the Rotary building, and the one for Greenleaf is sitting in the Jewel parking lot on Chicago. Roll-ins are planned for June 4-10; meanwhile, the eastbound Grove detour is via Lake. Here is the timeline for the replacement of the Grove, Dempster and Greenleaf viaducts, a $10.3 million project: Dempster will be closed near the viaduct (detour provided); eastbound traffic on Grove will be restricted. June 8-10 the Greenleaf site will have work 24/7. Purple Line service will be by bus between the Main and Davis stations. June 18-24 will see the roll-in of the Dempster and Grove viaducts, and Purple Line service between Main and Davis will be by bus. Residents are invited to the roll-ins. Stay tuned.

… that the City will hire Municipal Sales, Inc., of Queensbury, N.Y., to apply foaming herbicide in 25,000 feet of the sewer system to keep roots at bay.

… that the City will purchase an assortment of fire hydrants, 31 in all. Wonder if they’ll be painted purple next year.

… that the City, again a Tree City U.S.A., will purchase 250 trees, some of which will replace the some 100 ash trees lost already this year to the emerald ash borer (EAB).

To ensure they’ll all be planted in a timely fashion, the City will outsource the planting of 100 trees.

… that the City will replace 20 of its fleet vehicles. A few of these are parking Jeeps, which will be replaced by Ford Focus cars.  Nicely enough, the police department will be getting some Ford Interceptors. The new vehicles will add to the sustainability of the fleet, according to the City: They will “meet or exceed” the 2010 EPA emission standards and will use a bio-diesel blend of fuel. Some cars with six-cylinder engines will be replaced by ones with four cylinders; some eight-cylinders by sixes. This will increase gas mileage and decrease emissions. The City also says the seven Ford Focuses are “E.P.A. Green Certified Vehicles.”

… that, sure as street-sweeping began earlier this month, it’s getting to be time for street construction. As noted previously, the City tries to coordinate the water and sewer repairs with street repairs.

… that the Sheridan Road traffic signal modernization on Sheridan will kick in again in June. The signals, including the new (and unwelcome to some) one at Garrett Place, will be modernized, interconnected and coordinated. Next year part of Sheridan will be resurfaced and reconstructed. Then maybe we can “Bike the Road” as well as the Ridge.

… that repairs and aesthetics are coming to Chicago Avenue, with the Chicago Avenue streetscape between Main and South. There will be roadway curbing, concrete planters, trees and perennials, an irrigation system and pedestrian signal heads at the Chicago/Kedzie intersection. The City says the project is “expected to be substantially completed by June 15.” Until then, drivers and bicyclists should watch for one-way traffic in each direction on Chicago.

… that, speaking of Chicago south of Main, the Walgreens store at Southpoint Plaza will be expanded (taking over the former video-rental store), including a new, more capacious drive-through. 

… that last week the City began installation of electric-car charging stations (which power two electric vehicles each) at three lots: Central at Stewart (lot 4), the Main Library (lot 3) and Hinman south of Main (lot 32). I-Go cars will lease two vehicles at each parking lot, and the remaining two spots will be available to the public for electric-vehicle charging. The City says the construction will last about six weeks “with very little inconvenience to public-parking-lot users.” The City also says the electricity produced by these canopies “amounts to about 200,000 kilowatt-hours annually and will power up to 600,000 miles driven every year.”

 … that, farther north, Phase II (design engineering) of the Bridge Street bridge project may get under way. Nearly eight years ago the City submitted a request for Highway Bridge Program funds to reconstruct the bridge, which had been identified as “structurally deficient.” The bridge (and presumably the raised sidewalks) will be widened to accommodate wheel-chair, bike and pedestrian traffic.

… that the City saved (well, did not spend) about $300,000 of its snow-removal budget this winter because of the mild weather. So far so good – but November and December await.

… that, moving in the opposite direction, TG hears that some Evanston residents who had no outstanding parking fines nonethless received letters asking them to pay (in some cases noting that $0 was due). A few days later, at least one resident said she received a second notice saying “Disregard Previous Notice.” Seems like a more frugal option would be to check records.

From our readers: TG: The RoundTable seems to be all about living green, but it also seems to be backing the new bike corrals, hardly a green enterprise.

If you want to encourage bike riders, let them continue to lock their bikes to convenient parking meters. Let the meters do double duty so bikers can park near where they’re going, as an incentive for doing the green thing and riding their bikes.

Bikes have been parked this way for decades and do not reduce the size of the sidewalk if they are left standing parallel to the curb when hitched to meters.

The new proposal of so-called bicycle corrals will waste one perfectly good automobile parking slot for every corral. Corrals won’t be as convenient because bikers won’t be able to park next to where they’re actually going. They won’t be eagerly used as bikes get jammed up in a jumble. They will each cost $3,000 to buy and install plus the City will lose revenue from the former metered car slots.

These bicycles corrals aren’t green or cost effective. They just seem to be a new wrinkle in the efforts of Evanston’s pretty police yet, funny thing, they’ll be ugly like the bright blue recycling can tops. When I’m in downtown Evanston, I want to see the beautiful city we live in by having my eye drawn to handsome buildings, planters in bloom, Talmadge streetlamps, and store windows. I don’t want my eye drawn to masses of corralled bikes or brightly colored garbage cans. – Janet G. Messenger

From TG: Thank you for your observation, Ms. Messenger. TG thinks the RT endorses biking, not necessarily bike corrals.

The Traffic Guy thinks …

… that the uproar (again this year) over the RT’s April Fool jokes seems (again this year) to be a horse-to-water problem. Apparently the fake names (Filch, Armand A. Legg, Grafton), the statement in each article that whatever it was took effect on April 1, the icon on the front page advising readers that stories with that icon were April Fool stories just didn’t do it for some readers. April Fool’s Day will be occurring again next year on the same date. Be afraid; be very afraid.

… that Crossing Guard Day, May 1, is a good day to thank crossing guards for keeping the children of the community safe. Perhaps we should also thank Gov. Quinn for designating what should be a lovely day to thank them. How many would want to celebrate crossing guards
in mid-January – a time when they are
really, really earning their keep?