The new bike lane on Church Street is protected by striping.Photo by Mary Mumbrue

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… that additional road repairs are coming over the next few weeks:  Pitner from Lee to Greenleaf;   Dewey from Kirk to Oakton; Brummel from Elmwood to Ridge; Elmwood from Lee to Crain; Milburn from Ridge to Orrington; Asbury from Central to Chancellor;  Jenks  from Eastwood to the dead end east;  Hartrey from Lincoln to Central; and  Bennett from Simpson to Payne.  These projects, according to the City, “involve” curb replacements, as needed; roadway base repair; replacement of asphalt surface from curb to curb; and selected sidewalk and driveway apron replacements.”  The start date for each of the projects will be noted on temporary “No Parking” signs, which will be posted 48 hours in advance.  Parking will be sporadic but the City promises that evening and night-time parking (5 p.m. – 7 a .m.)  “will always be available” and that street-sweeping and neighborhood parking restrictions will be waived for a one-block radius around the construction zone. The contractor is Chicagoland Paving Contractors of Lake Zurich. All projects are planned to be completed by mid-October.

… that the City will purchase 10 Union Metal Tallmadge street light poles from Graybar Electric of Glendale Heights. Readers may know that in 1981, the City Council selected the Union Metal Tallmadge street light as the standard light for Evanston’s neighborhood streets. Union Metal has been fabricating and supplying these street lights – of which the City now has more than 4,100 – to the City for 31 years.

… that the City will “rehabilitate” just under 7,000 feet of large-diameter (36-inch diameter to 72-inch diameter) sewer mains, if a 20 year, 2.5 percent interest loan from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) is approved. Readers will doubtless remember that many of Evanston’s sewers are more than 100 years old and, as the City puts is “have become severely deteriorated.” The rehab work is done via insituform “cured in place” piping process, by which a “raw,” malleable lining is placed into the old sewer pipe then “cured” by means of blown-in heat. The smell can be noticeable for a few days, but the reduced amount of digging, etc., may be worth the temporary stink. The tentative timetable for these repairs next year is as follows: Davis, – Jan. – March; Elgin Road, March – October; Emerson, March – May; Central, July (after the Fourth) – Sept. and Prairie, July and August. The City will also purchase 50 new brick sewer manholes. Every century or so, a sewer should be accessorized.

… that, in addition to the planned-for sewer work, the City has executed an “Emergency Contract Award” to Glenbrook Excavating & Contracting Inc. of  Prairie View. The expanded work will include the emergency water main replacement and street resurfacing work on Central Street from Cowper to Central Park, where there have been 16 water-main breaks in the past few months. At age 88, the pipe is only relatively old. Further north, the City of Evanston and the Village of Wilmette have worked out an intergovernmental agreement under which Wilmette will grant an easement for the relief sewer installation and resurfacing of Isabella from Highland Avenue Ewing. The Village has also agreed to connect the sewer structures on Evanston’s side to the new relief sewer and thus alleviate the street flooding on the Evanston side, according to the City.

… that the Church Street repair project is coming along. Here’s a pic of the protected bike lane, constructed so far on Church from Dodge to about Asbury. Folks may have experienced traffic snarls in the downtown area but construction will be done, say, mid-way into football season. Even though the brick-rimmed concrete-slag sidewalks will be more level, they will be a lot less attractive than the previous pavers. Good news, though: The City will purchase four new “pay and display” parking machines for Church from Oak to Maple and from Benson to Chicago. This is a pilot program, the City says, “to get feedback from residents.” One hopes that the time-limit on these meters is more than two hours. Meanwhile, up on Central between Lincolnwood and Ewing, IDOT (which has jurisdiction over that part of Central Street), has approved a similar streetscape project.

… that, as part of the City’s pedestrian safety blitz, the Evanston Police Department’s Traffic Management Bureau conducted a  “crosswalk enforcement initiative” between Aug. 8 and 31. Traffic officers monitored 10 targeted crosswalks that receive the most complaints by citizens, and 44 other crosswalks that the officers felt needed attention.  Two hundred seventeen hours of monitoring yielded 482 citations  and 12 warnings to motorists as follows: 217 for talking or texting on a cell phone;  123 for failure to wear a seat belt;  30 for speeding; 12 for crosswalk violations; 41 for not having insurance; 9 for driving with no valid (or a suspended) driver’s license; 1 DUI;  49 other traffic- or equipment-related offenses. Seems that drivers and walkers alike were careless. Here’s in part what the police reported: “What is of particular concern was the number of distracted drivers talking or texting on their cell phones while driving in a crosswalk.  … [P]edestrians should also be aware of their responsibility when crossing the street. Traffic officers noted several instances of pedestrians entering crosswalks without first checking for oncoming traffic, talking on their cell phone, crossing in the middle of the street, and crossing at a signalized crossing against a ‘Don’t Walk’ light.”

… that the City has implemented an email and text notification system for notice of planned adult – mosquito abatement operations (spraying). To sign up for the notification system, residents should go to www.cityofevanston.org/subscribe, select subscription type, enter their email or wireless number and then choose “Mosquito Abatement” under the “Special Interest” section. Alerts will be sent with the information provided to the city of Evanston by NSMAD. 

… that the Levy Center bus seems to have found a semi-permanent home in the fire lane in front of the Center, but only, TG hears, if not other City vehicles are parked there. Since ticketing seems out of the question, (who tickets City vehicles, anyway), perhaps the City should change the sign to “City vehicle parking only”.

… that City Council has designated the portion of Mulford west of Dodge, along James Park and near the Levy Center as “Lionel & Irma Carter Drive.” The couple was married for 55 years, and “became pillars of the community and the Levy Senior Center.” Long-time parade-watchers may remember Mr. Carter’s  presence as “The Last of the Horse Soldiers” in the Fourth of July parade.

… that Evanston made the national media a few times last month. In “The Cheapest Generation,” our fair City was noted as a great place for Millennials – that generation that does not necessarily want to own much more than a smart phone. Paying a landlord and renting the occasional car are fine. The ability to walk to shops and restaurants is important. And from “CNN Money” comes the news that Evanston is ranked #16 in “Best places for the rich and single.” At #13, Oak Park beat us by 3.

From our Readers:

TG: This has bothered me for some time so I finally decided to ask an officer and after he thought about my question he too was a bit miffed.

Travelling northbound on Sherman there is a stop light at the corner of Davis and Sherman.  It is legal to make a left turn on red to a one way street, therefore it seems perfectly logical that one can do that.  However, if you do so on the red you will be in the southbound lane traffic.

Therefore I think there should be a sign that is clearly visible that says No Left turn on Red.

You were the only person I thought of when I decided to write someone.   – Carl M. La Mell

From TG: TG sees your point: Drivers who make that left turn onto Davis at Fountain Square (where Sherman becomes Orrington) have to make sure that there is no southbound traffic coming at them, and one safe way to prevent that is to ban left-turns on red at that intersection. The southbound Sherman and northbound Orrington/westbound Davis lights appear to be coordinated so as to prevent accidents, but only when traffic proceeds according to the light. There is a left-turn arrow at that intersection (northbound), and a sign indicating “left-turn signal,” but perhaps there should be a clarification such as “left turn on arrow only.”

The Traffic Guy thinks…

… that a good place for a new crosswalk is on Bridge Street in front of the Ecology Center. The route from the big parking lot to the west and the circular drive of the EC itself, just at the north end of the bridge, is not marked but is certainly used. TG understands that the bridge is to be replaced relatively soon, but thinks the two are separate considerations.