The “eyesore” at Lincoln and Ridge

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… that a few more street segments will be repaired this summer: Asbury from Central to Chancellor, Bennett from Simpson to Payne, Brummell from Ridge to Elmwood, Dewey from Kirk to Oakton, Elmwood from Lee to Crain, Hartrey from Lincoln to Central, Jenks from Eastwood to the dead end, Milburn from Ridge to the Orrington dead end, and Pittner from Lee to Greenleaf. These, of course, in addition to the major street construction projects along Church and along Davis in and near the downtown area (plaza, protected bike bath, new sidewalks); at Dodge and Lake, across from the high school (plaza), and Sheridan (upgrading traffic signals).

… that the City will replace several of the lights in the Civic Center parking lot, hiring Jasco Electric Corporation of McHenry as the contractor. Anyone who has parked there recently has probably noticed the poles are (per City staff) “extremely deteriorated and do not provide adequate security lighting.

… Additionally, the light emitted by the poles is far below minimum recommended values by the Illuminating Engineers Society (IES), creating a variety of security issues for employees and the public.” There will be Tallmadge fixtures near the building and more contemporary fixtures in the outer lot, according to the City, all of which will be energy-efficient and have the “dark-sky” effect, which allows a larger halo of light and promotes greater visibility at night.

… that the City has approved repairs to the roof and chimney at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center, contracting with Altus Works of Chicago. Speaking of repairs, the City has also approved funding for asbestos abatement phase three at the water plant. In the first two phases of the abatement, in 2010 and 2011, 4,720 feet for asbestos-containing materials (ACM) were removed. With this final project “remaining known ACM pipe insulation, an estimated 1,220 feet,” will be removed. And some underground fixer-uppers: the “rehabilitation of approximately 2,891 feet of combined sewer main ranging in size from 12-inch diameter to 21-inch diameter at 15 different sites,” according to the City. These sewer mains were identified during a closed-circuit TV inspection of sewer mains. Four of them, well, came to the fore over the past few weeks with the many water-main breaks on Central Street. Water department folks say they believe these repairs will be completed by Halloween.

… that the City is going to get new signs (“signage” is the proper term, TG hears). The City has contracted with UrbanWorks, Ltd., for its “comprehensive signage design program,” the purpose of which is to “develop a universal and detailed sign development system that could be used as a benchmark for sign development throughout the City.” The RFP called for an “analysis of current signs by type and need, the development of Sign Family Concepts and branding schemes for parking, vehicular, pedestrian, bicycles, institutional, gateway, business and other avenues.” The company will also have to develop a “public participation plan” on “how to best engage the public, stakeholders and elected officials.”  Now, on to “sign families”: Each sign family must include a concept for parking signage, vehicular wayfinding, pedestrian wayfinding, institutional wayfinding, bicycle wayfinding, gateway/entry signage, historic district, walking trail signs, interpretive signs for landmarks, park and open space signage, information kiosks, neighborhood signage, block club signage and business district identity signage. There’s more, but TG is too weary to list them. Watch for signs about meetings about this new signage.

… that the City is going to stock up on salt for the coming winter. At $60.61/ton, the stuff from Morton Salt is still the best deal around, according to the City, even though it’s $1.54 higher than last year’s price. Depending on the severity of the winter, the City can vary its order by up to 30 percent (more or less). Last year the City used only about 2,400 tons of salt, compared to the roughly 7,000 tons of salt used each year during the previous three winter seasons; and at present the City has approximately 2,500 tons in storage ready to use.

… that the City will sell at auction more than 30 of its vehicles, listed in “poor” condition or worse. Replacements for most are on order.

… that Austin’s Tacos and Gio have closed, and Golden Olympic no longer serves alcohol, so the City has decreased its liquor licenses by three.

… that the City will make Forest Avenue one way south from Lee to Main during Lincoln School drop-off and pick-up hours. There will also be a four-way stop at Michigan and Lee.

… that the City has changed the speed limit to 25 miles per hour on Chicago between Dempster and South, on Central from McDaniel to Central Park, and on Oakton from Chicago to the City limit. The Oakton speed limit was decreased despite the fact that the police chief said it might not be effective. Watch out, speeders.

… that more than a week ago the police, the Evanston Fire Department and the EFD dive team, the Chicago Fire Department and the Coast Guard responded to Lee Street beach, where a woman reported seeing a swimmer struggling off the beach. She then lost sight of him and called 911. The coast USCG reported seeing a male exit the water north of the beach. After sweeps by EFD Dive team and EPD no one was found in the water and search was called off.

From our readers: TG: As you may know, on July 29 at about 2:30 a.m., the Skokie police apparently engaged in a high-speed pursuit into an Evanston residential neighborhood. The suspect drove south on Florence Avenue with the police close behind and, on the same block as the RoundTable offices, struck several vehicles, damaging some quite severely.  Rumor has it that the suspect escaped on foot near Robert Crown park. I haven’t seen anything in the RoundTable about the incident. Have you heard anything? HG

From TG: Your letter covers about everything the RT has heard, especially about the damaged vehicles right in the neighborhood here. We’ll keep checking, though.

TG: The most annoying intersection has got to be the Golf/Emerson/McDaniel/East Prairie/McCormick area. The street names not only change, but the traffic signals are incredibly ill-timed causing backups, especially during rush hours. You also have traffic in and out of the Citgo station, Chase Bank and TJ Maxx. I’ve seen drivers using the gas station and TJ Maxx parking lot as short cuts. Let’s not forget the bikers crossing the street to continue on the bike path. The red light at McDaniel was timed at 72 seconds. That’s almost enough time to turn off the engine, apply for a loan at Chase, then run over to TJ Maxx for some shopping.

– Milos Radojevich

From TG: TG heartily agrees with you. That double intersection is a mess, particularly in what has become Evanston’s morning and afternoon rush hours.

Dear Mayor Tisdahl, Alderman Tendam and the Traffic Guy at Evanston Roundtable: I’m wondering if anyone can give me any information on a local Evanston eyesore. The CTA viaduct bridge at Lincoln Avenue at Ridge in north Evanston has been a local eyesore with me for years. The rusty bridge needs

a paint job or better yet get a canvas tarp draped over it like the bridge at Emerson/Greenbay. I had friends in town last week and we were out for a lovely drive down to NU and got stuck at the light at Lincoln/Ridge and they commented to me on how such a lovely city can have such an ugly bridge. I said it’s been like that for as long as I can remember. Does anyone know if the CTA knows about the local eyesore and who else I can send this email to? Let’s keep Evanston beautiful.                                        – Chris Given

From TG: TG sees that you also included the response from Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl: “The CTA knows. We will revisit the issue, but to the best of my recollection there’s not much we can do.” Regrettably, that is likely to be the final answer.

The Traffic Guy thinks …

… that a 10-foot wide path in Perkins Woods, as proposed by the County, is no longer a path – it’s a road.

… or rather hopes that this new cascade of signs will replace rather than just complement the existing tacky and unfriendly signs all over the City and thus suggests several other sign families: “Don’t Do It In Evanston” (don’t park, don’t call, don’t text, don’t speed) Family; the Pet Ordinance (leash pets while walking or in parks, keep pets off school grounds, keep dogs out of the lake except at the dog park, clean up after your pet) Family; and the NIMBY (restricted residential parking) Family. Why doesn’t the City just combine eyesores and paint all these warnings on the parkway VRADs?