Evanston’s Traffic Management Bureau was recognized for its first-place finish in the Traffic Safety Challenge.

… that construction projects for schools are coming to fruition. The City still apparently believes that the Lake/Dodge plaza will be completed by the time school opens. Further south, on Forest Avenue, the City will implement new traffic-flow patterns starting next Tuesday: Mornings between 8:30 and 9:30 and afternoons between 3:15 and 4:15 (student-arrival and student-dismissal times at Lincoln), there will be southbound traffic only – no northbound – on Forest between Main and Lee. Watch for “Do Not Enter” signs on Forest at Main, starting next Tuesday.

… that, also under the topic of new traffic patterns, TG hears that the CTA plans to eliminate the 201 night bus, which runs from Central to Howard along Ridge and Chicago. It’s kind of a night-owl service to fill in the gap when the Purple Line isn’t running. This is part of its “CTA Crowding Reduction Plan,” to “restructure bus and rail service throughout its service area.” Even though the title refers to “crowding reduction,” CTA says it is eliminating services with “extremely low ridership” or duplicate services. CTA is working with NU’s Transportation Center on the restructuring. Sounds like they’re working with politicians on the language. There’s to be a public hearing about this at 6 p.m. on Sept. 4 at CTA headquarters, 567 W. Lake in Chicago. The CTA board plans to take action on the plan at its Sept. 12 meeting, and, if it’s approved, the bus service will cease on Dec. 16. About 46 folks will then have to figure out new night transportation in the cold weather. The public can comment on the plan at www.transitchicago.com/feedback.

… that earlier this month the Evanston Police Department’s Traffic Management Bureau was recognized by the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) for its first-place finish in the 2011-2012 Traffic Safety Challenge Champion Class category. The challenge, characterized as a “friendly competition between similar sizes and types of law-enforcement agencies,” encourages a comprehensive review of traffic enforcement initiatives in order to increase traffic safety in the respective communities. The Illinois Department of Transportation gives funds to the TMB for eight annual campaigns such as “Click It or Ticket.” and “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.” The Labor Day Campaign, currently in progress, resulted in 79 citations written during a seatbelt enforcement zone on Aug. 17. Evanston has seen a decrease in crashes involving pedestrians in the past three years. The EPD notes that “The Traffic Management Bureau, formed in 1929 as the Accident Prevention Bureau, came into national prominence in 1932 by winning the National Safety Council’s Traffic Safety Award, bringing Evanston the title as America’s Safest City.”

… that a brew pub might be coming to the old Oak Avenue Market space across from the main (not Main Street) post office. And, speaking of that post office, there was a bit of frenzy there last week, when a worker was dusted with an unknown white powder coming from a package. This triggered a call to the County Hazmat team and the Evanston fire and police departments. The building was evacuated and the worker treated at the scene. The substance was determined to be “flour sent by resident to himself along with cooking spices purchased during trip to California.” Wonder who pays the extra freight for hazmat et al?

… that the Site Plan and Appearance Review Committee was not lovin’ an application for McDonald’s with a 24-hour drive-through at 2500 Gross Pointe Road. They rejected it unanimously. McDonald’s representatives noted that the area is zoned commercial and is not pedestrian-oriented and it is not within the Central Street Master Plan (which prohibits drive-throughs). As proposed, the Mac’s would have seating for 50-54, rear parking and storage, 12 employees at peak time, 18 parking spaces, egress onto Old Orchard Road, queuing for 14 cars in the drive-through site, ADA-accessibility, a new sidewalk and a new green area, minimized noise from the speakers, and no odors from the restaurant and no-glare lights along the western border. Traffic congestion and configuration was a big part of the discussion. Mark Tendam, in whose Sixth Ward the proposed McDonald’s would be, said he was concerned about congestion on NU game days and about the effect on nearby residents of sound and fumes of a queue of 14 cars. Nutrition and lighting were two other concerns expressed by residents. The committee voted unanimously to deny the requests, but McDonald’s representatives said they would make changes and request another meeting.

From our readers:

TG: Many of us seem to think we can solve traffic congestion better than a City traffic engineer. However, I would like to debate some suggestions: Regarding the improved Green Bay Road that was joined with Ridge Avenue southbound at the Emerson/Ridge viaduct at Clark Street: A traffic control light was originally installed at this point – but was later removed. The two merging lanes of southbound traffic on Ridge and Green Bay create a “bottle- neck,” since both south lanes have a concurrent green light. I have two questions: 1. Why was the traffic control light removed from Clark Street at the Green Bay Road entry to Ridge Avenue’s southbound lanes? 2. Is it possible to redirect all Green Bay traffic southbound to exit on Asbury Avenue? (Such traffic could then turn left at Church Street or Dempster Street to continue on Ridge Avenue.)  All truck traffic naturally continues to be denied on both Ridge Avenue and Asbury Avenue.                  – Howard Bronson

From TG: Thanks for your input.

TG: Are there any plans or proposals to modify the signal configurations on Sheridan Road at Church Street and at Clark Street? The new signal at Church Street was installed prior to the lakefront renovations, and now the problem has moved to Clark Street, where the new park entrance drive is located. I have seen numerous rear-end close calls at the pedestrian crossings, and cars with boat trailers have trouble exiting the drive onto Sheridan Road. This intersection clearly needs a traffic/pedestrian-activated signal during the warm weather season, but what to do about Church Street?    – Matt Siegel

From TG: TG has referred your very thoughtful question to the City.

The Traffic Guy thinks …

… that Alderman Don Wilson is spot-on with his assessment of the City’s pedestrian-safety study: “You have to assume that kids are not going to follow the rules, bikes are not going to follow the rules, cars are not going to follow the rules, people are not going to follow the rules.” Given that, we all need to be careful out there.