Photo by Tom Clark

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… that construction around town continues, even with the brutal weather of recent weeks. With the protected bike lanes on Church and Davis, the new curbs and sidewalks and the plaza by ETHS, the Sheridan Road traffic signal and other street improvements, in just a few short, hot, dusty weeks, Evanston will be set for fall and winter. At the Sherman Avenue garage, the engineering firm performing the façade inspections determined that minor routine maintenance façade repairs will not be needed until next spring. The City says new light poles – shorter and more energy-efficient ones – will be installed on the upper deck to replace poles that failed last year because of high winds. And, oh, yes, the water mains. City crews acted quickly again a couple of weeks ago when a water main break occurred on Dodge just north of Mulford, in front of the Levy Center and another one on Lake by King Lab School. As the City has said several times, these water mains are octogenarians at least. Perhaps in between the disbelief and frustration there could be a little note of gratitude that they have lasted this long.

… that the block of Elinor Place between Wesley and Ashland will carry the honorary designation “Sharlene Garfield Way.” In designating this honor, the City noted that “in the 1980s, Mrs. Garfield opened her home to a family from Laos … placed their children in local schools and helped them to find work an eventually build their own home in Evanston … [and that] over 15 years Mrs. Garfield became a foster parent to eight children. … [She] helped countless individuals who have sought refuge at her house, by making them all feel welcome in providing a safe place, a foundation, from which they could move forward.”

… that the City will replace four of its vehicles with new ones: a Ford Escape, an ambulance, a wood-chipper and a Zamboni.

… and now from streets to parks and parkways: TG hears that the City will inject 241 public elm trees with Arbotect, to protect them against Dutch elm disease. Don’t forget what the injection process looks like: Rubber tubing attached to a container sends the fungicide directly to the root of the trees. What may appear at first to be damaging or scary for the trees is in fact warding off the ravages of that beetle.

… that Metra held an open house last night at the Civic Center to get input from residents and riders about what they’d like in the way of upgraded rail transportation. The City reports that last fall Metra CEO Alex Clifford and UP North Line officials toured Metra infrastructure in Evanston and that Fourth Ward Alderman Don Wilson testified before a Metra budget meeting discussing Union Pacific Railroad infrastructure needs in Evanston, among other topics.

Residents and riders, whether they attended or not, are invited to take an online survey at metra.com. It will be available until Aug. 10.

… that the City kicked in $25,000 so it could get $100,000 from the RTA (the Regional Transportation Authority) to “conduct a transit-oriented development planning study and implementation process focusing on the new private development opportunities and transit system and station enhancements at Main and Chicago and within the surrounding business districts and neighborhoods.” 

This follows in the footsteps of the City’s underwriting a $40,000 study of the same area, particularly the southeast corner, to put anything-but-residential units there. Looks like lots of folks are itching to get into the place. Here’s what the City says about the study: “The City of Evanston, in partnership with RTA, CTA, Metra, Pace and CMAP, will work to develop a detailed Transit-Oriented Development Plan for the area surrounding the Metra and CTA Main Street Stations.” With new viaducts from the CTA already installed, and apparently some from Metra on the way, the City says this study is “needed and timely.”

The study will focus on land use and zoning (including parking); station design concepts and articulation between the Metra and CTA lines (including buses); identification of vacant or “underutilized” properties; (and “concepts” for development and open space/plaza) a plan for an elevated bicycle path adjacent to the rail lines; and a survey of businesses, residents and property owners to ascertain their preferences and needs. Estimated time for the project is 9-12 months, beginning in October.

… that the Trader Joe’s discussion continues about Where the Delivery Trucks Will Come. Third Ward Alderman Melissa Wynne issued this statement about trucks in the alley: “I want to assure everyone that from the start of this project I opposed any access to the alley for Trader Joe’s deliveries. As a resident in the 1100 block of Hinman Avenue with a home that backs up to Whole Foods, I am intimately aware of the day-to-day experiences of living next to a grocery store. After learning of resident concerns, I immediately convened a meeting with the developers of the property to discuss how we can revise their proposed site plan to close any vehicular opening to the alley. …  Terraco and Trader Joe’s worked to re-orient the site to close the eastern lot line to restrict all vehicle access to the alley from the site.”

By the way, I completely agree that the left-turn signal from north-bound Green Bay to west-bound Emerson is completely useless. The traffic engineers who designed that didn’t earn their money and wasted the taxpayers’. They should be condemned to try that left-turn themselves several times a day.

From our readers: TG: As you must know, the Evanston Public Library baby peregrine falcons fledged last week and are now enjoying rooftop views from many locations in the downtown Evanston area.  I captured a rare sighting of the entire falcon family together, on the bell tower of the First United Methodist Church, on June 21. The fledges are on uppermost corners of the gutters – Marigold on the left, Gribley on the right. Their father, Squawker, is on the left gargoyle; mother, Nona, is on the face of the tower, on a ledge. Marigold hatched May 3. Gribley hatched May 7.
— Mimi Katz

From TG: Thanks for the photo.

TG: Let’s improve the looks of the ugly, rusting bridges at Davis Street.

From TG: What a wonderful, creative idea. The City, the CTA and Metra need innovative thinking such as this.