Many people think these new lights are bike racks. Photo by Ellen Galland

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… that the Central/Poplar intersection, with Broadway thrown in, is the site of traffic logjams that irk (or worse) some residents and business owners in the area. Seems that kids going home from Kingsley, Haven and St. A’s don’t always stay on the sidewalks (surprise); drivers waiting for train passengers just stop and wait on the streets, and not a lot of folks are stopping for pedestrians in the crosswalk (a pan-Evanston problem). TG hears that Jane Grover, alderman of the ward, is working with City traffic engineers and concerned residents to see what can be done.

… that the City is planning to transfer some motor-fuel- tax revenues, which are used for street repairs and maintenance, into the General Fund, the City’s main operating budget. This can be a good thing, if street repairs and maintenance can be considered general “operations” – which seems to be part of the City’s pay-as-you-go plan for certain jobs that before were considered capital or semi-capital (TG’s designation) projects. It probably will keep the City from having to issue a lot more debt to pay for these and similar repairs.

… that, speaking of streets, City Council voted to allow many a short street segment to be called a “drive.” In other words, the term is now available. The City code designates east-west ones to be called “streets” and north-south ones, “avenues.” Short n-s streets are “courts,” and e-w segments, formerly just “places,” now can be “drives.”

… that next year’s vehicle stickers, commemorating Evanston’s sesquicentennial, are on sale now. Drivers should be sure to purchase their stickers by Dec. 14 and display them by Jan. 1 of next year, because the penalties for not doing so are steep – a 50 percent late fee, making the $75 sticker cost $113 if is not purchased in time. 

… that the City is thinking “winter.” For one thing, school kids are at work painting the City’s snowplow blades in the annual “Paint Evanston’s Plows” contest. According to the City, this contest saves the City money, in addition to sprucing up the plow blades: They would have to be painted anyway, so this way residents get free labor and nine mobile pieces of art. Further the City Council has approved agreements with the two School Districts to sell them salt for winter, that is, Nov. 15 through Tax Day. The School Districts will pay $66.67/T for 300 tons each, which includes a fee for administration and handling. Finally, the Council has approved free evening and Saturday parking during the holiday season – Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day – in the three downtown self-park garages (Sherman Avenue, Maple Avenue and Clark/Church) and or Lot 60 at 1234 Chicago Ave. Parking will be free in those places from 5 p.m. to midnight weekdays and all day on Saturday. The City projects it will lose about $45,000 in parking revenues, so, folks, stay in Evanston and shop.

… that the City has granted NU athletics (or maybe just NU) a special-use  permit for scoreboards at its tennis courts, the Vandy Christie Tennis Center, at 2250 Sheridan Road. NU proposes to install seven electronic scoreboards in the block between Noyes Street and Dartmouth Place – six small ones, one for each court, and the large one to display all the match scores. NU says the scoreboards will only be used during daylight hours, and there are no speakers or audio built in to the scoreboards. The small scoreboards will be positioned so that they appear to hang off of the existing 12’ fence that surrounds the tennis courts and they will not be visible from Sheridan Road. The larger one, 19 feet high, may be visible in part by pedestrians and others.

… that the zoning committee of the Plan Commission will be examining urban farms, rooftop gardens and aquaponics – growing fish, etc. for food, to wit, the “symbiotic propagation of plans and fish in an indoor or outdoor recirculating environment that may intends result in the harvest of said plants and or fish.”

From our readers: TG I’m sure you must be aware of this… but here goes. The intersection of Main and Elmwood in our ward is like a ticking time bomb … I walk my dog through there almost every morning…. and it’s the same story… School zone… 20 MPH speed limit… crosswalk with clearly marked sign informing cars that they must stop for pedestrians … and what happens every morning? Cars are racing down the chute to get through the lights at Ridge to the west and Sherman and Chicago to the east. Some of the cars going 30, 40, 50 even 60 miles per hour. This is happening even as the school children are arriving for their classes. It’s a very busy crossing – school children, seniors, college and middle-school students, people walking dogs, people from the nearby halfway house. Someone is going to get killed here if the laws are not enforced. Many drivers are speeding, ignoring the pedestrians in the crosswalks and talking on hand-held cellphones all at the same time.

–Thanks, Jonathan Labe

From TG: Thanks, Mr. Labe. Let’s hope your description of this dangerous intersection is a strong heads-up to the police.

TG: What are those little post- things on Church Street downtown? We thought they were bike racks but they’re not tall enough.

– Ellen and Julie

From TG: You are not the first to wonder, but you are the first to write and send a photo: Suzette Robinson, director of Public Works, sends the following information: The new lights on Church Street are pedestrian lighting designed to light the walk path.  The three feet height directs the light down and covers the sidewalk area not currently illuminated by street lighting. The new pedestrian lights are supplemental lighting that are designed to work in conjunction with the existing street lighting as a result there will be more light. Although the lights are installed, the contractor is waiting on the delivery of the appropriate power center. We anticipate delivery and illumination by mid-November.  

The Traffic Guy thinks …

… that everyone should be in costume on Oct. 31. Don’t forget to “fall back” on November 4.