The poles along the bike lane are meant to separate vehicles from bicycles.               RoundTable photo   

… that the poles separating the bike lane from vehicles lanes on Church Street are back, surely a sign of spring.

… that Denler Inc. of Mokena will perform crack sealing under the Municipal Partnership Initiative for about $55,000. Here’s what the City says about crack sealing: “The Streets and Sanitation Division implemented a crack sealing program designed to extend the life of recently resurfaced streets in Evanston. Crack sealing is performed three to five years after the street is resurfaced.” Cracks, as readers might guess, are really nascent potholes.

… that Fire Station #4, 1817 Washington, will get some interior rehab by Evanston-based O’Hara Construction. The fire station was built in 1989 and the “kitchen cabinets, appliances and all floor, wall and ceiling finishes are original to the building.” Minor roof leaks have damaged some ceiling tiles and wall and floor finishes; the kitchen cabinets “no longer function properly.” In other words, it’s old and obsolescing and firefighters deserve better. 

… that the City will allow ComEd an easement at the Municipal Service Center for $529/year – a nickel per square foot for the 1,058 square-foot easement. ComEd will install transmission and distribution electrical facilities near the intersection of Asbury and Simpson.

that average retail gasoline prices in the Chicago area rose 2.1 cents per gallon during the last part of March. A report from GasBuddy.com, issued April 1 “no joke,” said according to its survey of  1,437 gas outlets in Chicago late last month, the average price was $4.08/gallon. “This compares with the national average that has fallen 1.9 cents per gallon [in late March] to $3.61/gallon. Those prices were 43.1 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago and are 0.6 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. The national average has decreased 10.3 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 28.1 cents per gallon lower than this day one year ago,” according to GasBuddy.com.
     … that the City will purchase a 17-foot utility Boston Whaler boat and trailer for its aquatics camp.

… that the Andersonville Galleria is opening a permanent location, called “Galleria in Evanston,” at 1627 Sherman Ave., in the former Hanig’s Shoes space. 

… that the Old Neighborhood Grill on Central has given up its liquor license (but remains open).

… that Naf Naf Grill (Middle Eastern) will open on Orrington in downtown Evanston.

… that, speaking of restaurants, folks planning to dine at Chicken & Waffles will not be able to park in the neighborhood. The City is making the east side of McDaniel between Dempster and Greenwood for residents only 24/7 (that’s what the City says, but TG thinks a more reasonable prohibition – to protect the neighbors – would have been Dempster to Greenleaf).

… that crews were working on the Main Street “sinkhole” last week. Apparently the washout beneath the concrete was larger than previously thought.

… that demolition/construction continues at the lakefront for NU’s monstrous visitor center/parking lot.

that the City’s weekly yard waste pickups have begun. Remember that yard waste has to be completely separate from household waste and placed either in a green City bin ($25 annual fee for the pickups from these, plus $82.50 for the cart) or in approved bags with yard-waste stickers (no joke; these must be purchased). Or residents could use the clippings, leaves, etc. as mulch and compost.

… that, speaking of yard waste, TGF Forestry & Fire conducted a controlled burn around  Northwestern University’s lagoon. The University obtained state and local permits for burning wild grasses. As many folks know, controlled burns are the best way to manage grasslands and prairies, and they are certainly easier to handle than wildfires caused by lightning strikes (or worse).

… that the City will negotiate an agreement with Twin Eagle Resource Management, LLC, of Houston for the purchase of natural gas for the 16 City-owned buildings.

  … that Patriot Park LLC, Col. Pritzker’s bed-and-breakfast company, is hoping to establish another one at 1622 Forest Place. He has to apply for a special use so City Council will have to weigh in. Speaking of Col. Pritzker and the City Council, TG hears that in some of those closed meetings about his desire to purchase the Harley Clarke mansion (where the Evanston Art Center is), he proposed creating a 55-unit hotel there. TG eagerly awaits the release of the minutes of those sessions, held, it now seems in violation of the Illinois Open Meetings Act.

From our readers:

TG: I want to let you know of a few pedestrian safety improvements coming to the Sixth Ward this spring and summer. The City will construct two new crosswalks to access city parks. One will give access to Lovelace Park from the west across Crawford Avenue. Another will give access to Cartwright Park from the north across Grant Street. To be ADA compliant, the City will be constructing a new sidewalk along Thayer Street to Lovelace Park and a new sidewalk on Grant Street along the north side of Cartwright Park. There will be neighborhood meetings to review and discuss the plans.

And, taking advantage of the resurfacing of Central Street, the City will be widening the sidewalk on the south side from Central Park to Cowper Avenue to a total of 6 feet. As it is now, the sidewalk is almost impassable due to bad surface and street lights in the middle of the walk. This improvement will also begin the process of narrowing Central Street to calm traffic and prevent its use as a four-lane street.  – Mark Tendam, Sixth Ward alderman

From TG: Thanks, Ald. Tendam. These seem like much-needed and quite beneficial improvements, particularly the ADA-compliant access to Lovelace and Cartwright parks.

The Traffic Guy thinks …

… that all interested folks should attend tonight’s meeting at Lincoln School, 910 Forest Ave. (7-9 p.m.), to give input on the City’s transit-oriented development study for the CTA (Purple Line) and Metra Main Street station areas. According to the City, “The study is intended to enhance multi-modal mobility between the Main Street stations, the Main Street business district and surrounding neighborhoods. TG thinks that, while studies may inform, they do not enhance anything.