Wires downed by strong winds knocked out power from this northwest Evanston neighborhood.RoundTable photo

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… that residents can now sign up for text message or email alerts about the closing of any beach (six operated by the City of Evanston and one by Northwestern University) because of water-quality issues. Beach patrons can sign up for this service at www.cityofevanston.org/beachstatus.

… that the City will have an agreement soon with the Cook County Assessor’s Office for access to GIS (Geographic Information System) data.

… that it looks like the new retaining wall along Chicago Avenue between Washington and South is completed, except of course for new landscaping. Chicago Avenue is going to be looking mighty fine, with the AMLI development and the new streetscape. Meanwhile, expect some delays in that area, as Chicago is one lane in each direction in some spots.

… that other construction is going on apace throughout the City. Watch for temporary “no parking” signs as crews repair water mains and resurface street segments.

… that City has renewed its leases to the U.S. Postal Service for spaces in Lot 25 (1616 Maple, just north of Davis) and in the Maple Avenue garage. One is a five-year lease, and the other is a four-year lease. The U.S.P.S. would like two new four-year leases. The City expects revenues totaling $318,240 from the leases: $27,360 for two years and $28,800 for two years from the Maple lot, and $50,160 for two years and $52,800 for two years from the garage spaces.

… that a couple of new parking prohibitions just hit the streets: on the south side of Lincoln between Sheridan Road and Campus Drive (24/7) and between 3 and 5 a.m. daily on both sides of Davis from Hinman to Chicago, from Sherman to Oak and from Chicago to Sherman.

… that, as happens a few times a year, the City plans to sell some of its surplus vehicles at auction, eight of them this time. The condition of each of these vehicles appears to include “poor out of service” and “poor being replaced,” as well as “totaled” and to be “retired not replaced.” Seems like we’ve gotten our use out of them.

… that the Secretary of State’s mobile driver services unit will be at the Levy Center in a couple of weeks. Residents of Illinois will be able to renew their drivers’ licenses, obtain duplicate or corrected ones and get Illinois information cards between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. At 9:30 a.m. there will be a Rules of the Road review course, which includes an explanation of safe-driving techniques, state laws and a practice exam. Anyone renewing a current license or Illinois ID card need only present a current valid driver’s license or ID card; if there is no pre-existing card, then two forms of ID are needed.

… that service on the CTA’s Purple Line was suspended on May 30 “due to fire department activity,” according to information from the City. Speaking of “fire activity,” there were quite a few fire trucks on Simpson just before Memorial Day – seems some tree branches became caught in the wires and twisted slowly, slowly in the wind until a transformer blew up and knocked out power to houses in about a four-block radius.

… that the reason Chicago Avenue between Church and Clark streets was closed on Saturday was so that a new chiller system could be hoisted to the roof of the apartment complex at 1715 Chicago Ave.

… that last week Chicago DOT Commissioner Gabe Klein and Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez kicked off the Green Lane Project, an initiative to bring protected bike lanes to six U.S. cities. Evanston is not one of those cities, but readers will recall that there soon will be protected bike lanes on Church and Davis. 

… that there have been reports of a large heron wading in the North Shore Channel (the canal) – a great blue from the size of it, but perhaps a muddy grey.

Speaking of reports about birds, a few people report every year that they’ve been dive-bombed by red-winged blackbirds. These birds seem to be very territorial and protective. Folks have reported these attacks occurring on NU’s landfill and in the Skokie part of the Arboretum (Gorell Park). And speaking of the landfill, swallows continue to build nests in the wall holding up the sidewalk that leads toward the lagoon from the sailing club.

… that there was a groundbreaking for the new Bienen Music School at NU.

… that the community media center (ECMC) is relocating from its Hartrey Avenue facilities to the City’s service center on Asbury, kitty-corner from the Civic Center parking lot.

From our readers: TG: Can you explain to me and other bewildered citizens of Evanston the purpose of the traffic-turning arrow from northbound Ridge west on Emerson?  Whenever I’m waiting first in line in the left-hand turning lane at the red light on Ridge, even if I get a fast start when the light turns green, the arrow at Emerson changes to yellow just as I get there.  I’m pretty sure it’s not the traffic gremlins doing this just when I come along, so why is the light timed so that no one can make a safe turn on the arrow?  Your expert opinion would be much appreciated. – Kelly

From TG: TG’s “expert opinion” was to try to get you, Kelly, in contact with one of the traffic guys at the City. Please let us know what you learn. TG has a pet-peeve traffic signal, although not that one.

The Traffic Guy thinks …

… that summer festivals kick off soon with the Custer Street Fair (note that “Street” in the title is a noun used as an adjective. It’s a “street fair.”) Although it began on Custer Avenue, it has expanded a lot to be a Main/Chicago festival these days.

… that readers could let us know what and where their least favorite traffic light is and why. Send your comments to info@evanstonroundtable.com with the subhead “annoying traffic light.” TG has no prizes in mind right now, nor any to give, but readers could also include a photo of themselves at their least favorite traffic light, preferably gnashing teeth or reading a RoundTable. We are here to listen.