Lake EgglestonRoundTable Photo

… that last week’s rainstorm flooded many of Evanston’s low-lying parks and yards, but the streets under viaducts appeared to stay dry.

… that those who think that late winter and early spring have been a bit wacky might be interested to know that  March was 21.2 degrees colder than the average statewide temperature in March of last year. State Climatologist Jim Angel (TG loves that name for a person who spends his time looking at the sky) reports that the statewide temperature for March was 34.1 degrees, 7 degrees below the long-term average of 41.1 degrees and the 11th coldest March on record. In contrast, March 2012 was 55.3 degrees, and the warmest March on record. The statewide precipitation was 2.85 inches, which is 0.15 inches below the long-term average of 3 inches. Precipitation amounts were the highest just east of St. Louis and lowest in east-central Illinois. The largest monthly total came from Kaskaskia with 6.42 inches of precipitation. Snowfall was above average for the month, as well.

… speaking of poor weather, TG hears that Steve Griffin, the City’s director of Community and Economic Development has headed for sunnier climes. He will be City Administrator in Gulf Shores, Ala., where he previously served as Community and Economic Affairs director.

… that City crews are out and about trying to repair winter-ravaged streets (fill potholes). The City reports it had 147
service requests in 2012 (through 311) to fill potholes and has had 70 this year. Cracks in the pavement happen, usually from traffic wear and tear. Potholes, as most readers know, are formed when water seeps into a crack, then expands in freezing weather. The spring’s freeze-and-thaw cycle exacerbates whatever winter put in place. The City uses UPM (Unique Paving Material, a brand name), a cold-patch material “for potholes and asphalt repairs,” that “can be used in either wet or dry potholes and is designed to perform in any weather condition,” according to the City. Even though the City touts the number of potholes reported by residents and fixed by City crews, its scorecard is the number of tons of UPM used: 129 tons this year, as compared with 109 tons in 2012, 239 tons in 2011 and 129 tons in 2010. Residents can report a pothole by calling 311 or online at www.cityofevanston.org/pothole.

… that last week Union Pacific Railroad removed a bridge deck because, according to the City, “the concrete slab is falling apart above the traffic lane and the sidewalk.”

… that, speaking of removals, the City released a list of trees to be removed over the next few months – most of which are victims of the EAB, the voracious and so-far-unstoppable emerald ash borer. The list, prioritized by health of the trees, will be continually updated, the City says, and updates posted monthly at www.cityofevanston.org/forestry. And – good news – the City is going to tackle the backlog (nice word – theirs, not TG’s) of stumps. The plan is to have crews – some City, some outside contractors – remove all of the 600 stumps. The process is one of grinding up the stump, clearing out the residue and restoring the parkway with new soil and grass seed.

… that between June and October, Nicor Gas plans to replace nearly 12,000 feet of gas main and 232 gas services in southeast Evanston with new meters and regulators. The project’s boundaries are the lakefront (east),  Chicago Avenue, Greenleaf (north)  and Main (south). Here’s the sequence: new gas main installations, followed by new gas service installations and gas meter relocations. Questions regarding this project can be directed to Dan Kellogg at 708-318-5021 or dkellog@aglresources.com or the City of Evanston’s Utility Department at 311.

… that work on the combined sewer on Cleveland between Pitner and the Sam’s Club parking lot is expected to be completed this week. Traffic was rerouted as crews from Insituform Technologies USA, LLC  rehabilitated approximately 900 feet of 57- and 60-inch diameter combined sewer mains on Cleveland. As with other similar work through the City, the rehabilitation work included installing a cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) liner inside the existing sewer main and came with a bit of a smell. The City says the smell comes from the resins used in the process that contain a chemical called styrene and that it is “not dangerous
at the levels at which people can detect it.”

… that, through May 8, sewer and water connections will be installed at the Trader Joe’s construction site in the 1200 block of Chicago. The City says northbound and southbound traffic will stay open, but there will be a few lane shifts on a daily basis. There will be no parking on Chicago from Hamilton nearly to Dempster. Watch out for equipment and flaggers.

… that the City is going to have to spend some money on its automated water meter information system. City Council approved a contract of $2.3 million with Water Resources Inc. of Elgin for a new system, because some parts are wearing out and some of the technology is no longer supported. 

… that the City and Evanston Athletic Club have again agreed on the location of a bike corral in front of EAC, 1723 Benson Ave. Every year for the next five years, the City will seasonally remove two metered parking spaces there (returning them in the winter months) and set up the corral.

The original plan was to have EAC pay $2,000 per year to the City for loss of parking revenue, estimated to be about half the lost revenue. Council instead decided not to charge them anything, since the residents of Evanston cash in on cleaner air and less congestion.   

The Traffic Guy thinks …

… that the RoundTable’s next magazine on Evanston history, called “Evanston: The City We Built,” looks just great, cover to cover. Here’s a teaser: What car is this and where in Evanston was it made? The first five people who contact TG with the correct answer can have early copies of the magazine.