This sidewalk in the 2000 block of Lincoln becomes a skating rink (or worse) when the snow melts into the below-grade concrete walk.            Photo by Taber Moore

… that last week’s snowstorm came and went without much fuss. City crews were out early and most folks appeared to observe the parking regulations.

… that the new I-Go electric solar canopy for recharging electric vehicles was put up on March 7 in the Library parking lot on Chicago Ave. The reader who sent TG this photo also sent this evaluation of the structure: “Unfortunately, the plan here is to go green, but the structure is an eye-catching (not in a good way) blue. It looks more like a day at the beach than the next-door neighbor to imposing historic icons like the Evanston Woman’s Club and the WCTU Historic Preservation District.”

… that the City will pay the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago about $344,000 for disposal of sludge. Here’s how the sludge comes to be, according to the City: At the water treatment plant coagulants are added to “raw” lake water, forming a “floc” that helps trap and solidify impurities. The material “settles out as part of the mixing, sedimentation and settling process” into underground basins that are emptied twice a year. “The makeup of this sludge varies greatly depending on the time of year, the turbidity (cloudiness) of the raw water and the quantity of water treated. The sludge is analyzed for biological oxygen demand (BOD) and suspended solids (SS) prior to pumping to the MWRDGC.” MWRDGC fee varies according to the volume of the sludge and how much SS and BOD  it contains.

… that the brew pub (Smylie Restaurant and Brewery) going in at 1615 Oak got a parking reprieve from the City: The owners can convert the car-parking spaces there to bicycle parking and an outdoor seating area. Customers can park on the street.

 … that the City will purchase three new vehicles: a Ford F-550, an I.H. 4700  and an I.H. 7400 W/Vactor.

… that the cost of renovating the men’s washrooms on the third and fourth floor of the Morton Civic Center is going up again – this time by about $60,000 – and the completion time extended by about seven weeks. It seems a “substantial portion” of the integrity of a structural slab has been compromised and the problem must be addressed.

… that a couple of new eating establishments will receive liquor licenses: La Macchina Café  at 1620 Orrington Ave. and Coast Sushi Central, 2545 Prairie Ave.

… that free parking is available for next Saturday’s orientation on Women Out Walking at the high school. 

From our readers: 

      TG: Does this city have any source of revenue other than parking tickets?      – Allie Payne

From TG: Hard as it may be to believe, the City does have other sources of revenue, but it is disconcerting to hear that Rick Voss,
who used to be the City’s parking manager, now has the title of Parking and Revenue Manager. But, oh, my, yes; there are many other sources of revenue: fines for letting grass grow too high, for not having visible numbers on your garage, for not having construction permits and vehicle stickers properly displayed, for using leaf blowers at the wrong times, and for paying some bills late – to name a few. There are the 1 percent home-rule sales tax, the entertainment tax and the athletic tax. There is also the state tax on gasoline, part of which is remitted to municipalities. And there is the property tax, which eats up about 21 cents of every dollar paid in residential property taxes. Parking ticket revenues are not the largest source of City revenues – probably just the most consistently annoying. Read below:

TG: Regarding your suggestion of a sesquicentennial name change for Evanston, how about Ordinance City? After all, this has become the city of ordinances. It’s difficult to walk out your door without violating one or another ordinance. I
bet there is even one preventing sex during daytime hours.     – K.B. Mark

TG:  John Evans may have been involved in an Indian massacre, but changing our town name may not be the best or most practical solution. How about if we find another Evans to name the town after, such as Dale Evans or Dame Edith Evans to name two? I’m sure there are many other candidates. Let’s have an election. – Richard Holland

From TG: What a great idea. Does anyone have any more Evanses whose names we can throw into the ring?

TG: Once again I write about the skating rink at 2000 Lincoln St. The sidewalk was initially built below grade and every year it gets worse. I notice other sidewalks in Evanston with a similar problem but I bet we have the best skating rink. Unfortunately most people using the sidewalk are walking. The rock salt that I use melts through the 3-inch ice leaving the surface still dangerous. – James L. Moore

From TG: Arena 2000 Lincoln sounds pretty deep and treacherous for pedestrians. TG has seen this phenomenon in other parts of Evanston as well. Perhaps the City could elevate its sidewalks above grass-level. Maybe boardwalks, built about 6 inches above the present sidewalks, would be preferable and safer but then, they do get slippery. They did something like this along Davis Street in the 1860s or so. TG wonders whether they would have to be shoveled, since snow-removal implements could damage the wood. Hmm. This requires additional thought. Meanwhile, good luck with the lake and kudos to you for trying to find some way to address it.

TG:  I have a question for the Traffic Guy: I ride to work on my bike when I am able, wondering what happened to the westbound bike-lane markers on Central Street between Central Park and Crawford, with last year’s sewer work, they are gone.   – Patty Bastian

From TG: TG referred your question to the City and received this response: “The bike lane on Central Street will be reinstalled as part of the street-resurfacing project this year.”

The Traffic Guy thinks …

… that, while TG has heard complaints from several residents that the City “over-reacted” and made too much of a fuss about last week’s snowstorm, in fact it is likely that all the fuss and the declared snow emergency and parking bans that made things look so easy.

… that it’s time to think about spring – clearing off winter’s debris and planting cold-weather vegetables such as carrots, radishes, peas and lettuce.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day