… that turkeys have been seen recently around Evanston.
… that residents in extreme northwest Evanston won one of their battles against encroaching commercialism but lost another. McDonald’s withdrew its application for a drive-through restaurant at 2500-12 Gross Point Road. Residents had complained about potentially increased traffic congestion, light and litter. Just down the block a ways, at Gross Point and Crawford (2628 Gross Point), Chase Bank prevailed in getting permission for a 4,200-square-foot branch bank with two drive-through lanes. As with the previous meeting’s override (of the Preservation Commission), Council this time amended the Central Street Plan – which prohibited drive-throughs – to allow the bank to chase what apparently mattered to it: another branch in Evanston. As a give-back, Chase reduced the size of its original proposal and has offered to donate the residential lot – part of the parcel it purchased – to the City. According to the City, “56 percent will be developed and maintained as a green space and a municipal parking lot will be developed on the remaining 44 percent of the lot. This municipal lot will be leased to the developer for daytime use by the bank when the bank is open and will be available for neighborhood parking when the bank is not open.” The open space creates about a 7,000-square-foot buffer between the residential and the commercial zones there. The City concludes that since the residential portion of the lot was not rezoned, “concerns brought forth by the neighborhood concerning the future use [as commercial] as of right are no longer applicable.”
… that the City will lease space to VJF Enterprises, Inc., d/b/a Chicago’s Home of Chicken and Waffles, 2424 Dempster. VJF will pay the City an annual fee of $11,000 for 39 parking spaces and the “drive aisle” on McDaniel.
… that Evanston has received a silver-level award for being a “Bicycle-Friendly City” from the League of American Bicyclists for its education, outreach and protected bike lane. Among the City’s partners in promoting bicycling are the public schools, Northwestern University, Active Transportation Alliance, Citizens Greener Evanston, Evanston Bicycle Club, the Environment Board and 1027 Cycles. Another reason for the award was the protected bike lane on Church that stretches all the way to downtown. Look for the return on Davis next year – maybe that will up the City to the gold, platinum or diamond level. Chicago was the only other city in Illinois to receive a silver award; Naperville, Schaumberg and Urbana received bronzes.
… that the Evanston Police Department is really, really encouraging everyone to drive safely and wear seatbelts. The EPD says, “Late-night hours are when the highest percentage of motorists die in alcohol-involved crashes and the lowest percentage of vehicle occupants wear seat belts. In this day of cell phones, texting and other driving distractions, young people are even more at risk.” Over last year’s Thanksgiving holiday there were eight fatalities and over 800 injuries as a result of traffic crashes. The EPD continues its participation in “Click It [the seatbelt] or Ticket” and “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”
… that the Public Art Committee is reportedly “looking into options” to replace the 110-foot mural at the Ridge/Emerson/Green Bay intersection (well, just north
of) entitled “A Loose History of Evanston.” The mural was the senior studies project of then-ETHS senior Theodore Boggs. The paint-over was characterized as “unexpected and accidental.”
… that readers may enjoy the photo below, taken by Evanston resident and Knox College student Sinead Wainwright. Not only does it show an immense arc rarely seen up here in the urbs and burbs, it appears to end at Wal-Mart.
From our readers: TG: With the installation of the new stop lights on Sheridan Road along NU, I thought I had read that they would be synchronized and coordinated to assist traffic flow. I drove Sheridan south on 10/31 and 11/1 and found that the stop lights are anything but coordinated unless they’re purposely designed to slow traffic. I turned onto Sheridan south from Lincoln and came to the stop at Noyes. That was followed by consecutive full stops at Garrett, Foster and Chicago on both occasions. I agree the Garrett light is absolutely necessary to allow traffic from campus to access Sheridan, but having to halt at every single stoplight down the road will have us, and perhaps many others, use alternative streets to Sheridan.
Also, I thought Sheridan Road was going to be repaved this year. When will that be done? When they do, will they include the current and favored method of cutting traffic lanes in each direction down to only one with lots of useless pavement to be used for left turn lanes, even where there are no streets onto which to turn? If so, that would force through traffic to slow behind the slower drivers and stop for buses when they pick up and drop off passengers. Under that scenario, more traffic will divert to other streets and through residential neighborhoods.
– Payson S. Wild
From TG: Mr. Wild, thanks for your description of the immediate and potential problems as Sheridan Road gets back into shape. TG has twice sent your letter to the City and expects an answer shortly. Stay tuned.
TG: I’m really concerned about the bike lanes in front of Evanston Township High School. ‘The lines are barely visible and I’ve seen cars and buses drive right over them into and through the bike lanes. It would be terrible for a car/bike accident to occur right outside the school. The City should repaint these lines two or three times a year to ensure this doesn’t happen.
The Traffic Guy thinks …
… that the City seems to be soft-pedaling the destruction of the mural at Emerson/Ridge/Green Bay. How does one “accidentally” paint over a mural?
It might be that the painters were asked to paint over the obscenity that someone had put in next to Miss Willard and they just got carried away. The Public Art Committee apparently has suggested that it be replaced by a “similar-themed” mural next year.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
Support our Evanston merchants when you head out for holiday shopping.