… that work began yesterday on the Purple Line track (they’re replacing ties). Tonight’s schedule is 9 p.m. to 4:30 a.m., as was last night’s. Work begins again Sunday evening on that same nightly schedule through May 23. May 18 and 19 the work schedule will be 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The CTA reports that residents can expect noise from various sources: “engine noise from diesel track maintenance equipment; beeping from back-up alarms on track maintenance equipment; crunching rock; and metal-on-metal hammering.” There will be light in the work zone and possible delays to train service along the Purple Line. Questions and concerns can be directed to Ryan Mouw, CTA Government and Community Relations, 312-681-2751, or mouw@transitchicago.com or contact the City at 311. Full project information can be found online at www.cityofevanston.org/purpleline.

… that the peregrines are again nesting on a ledge of the Library – seems there are four eggs. Check them out at www.epl.org/falconcam.

… that the 700 block of Dobson was closed for a couple of days last week for pavement repairs. A sewer collapsed there, and the areas of pavement that were destroyed are too large to patch over with metal plates.  

… that the alley north of Madison and east of Sherman will be paved, cost to be shared by the City (lion’s share) and the homeowners (the rest).

… that, in a recent study, Evanston was ranked as one of the top 10 cities with the greenest commuting habits. NerdWallet, a financial literacy website, analyzed 439 U.S. cities whose residents display environmentally conscious everyday behaviors. Evanston ranked number 10 overall because of “the community’s commitment to the environment and sustainable practices,” according to a press release. Evanston ranked higher than such notable green cities committed to sustainable practices as Philadelphia (12th), Chicago (14th) and Seattle (15th).

… that, speaking of green commuting habits, the Active Transportation Alliance is looking for participants in its annual bike commuter challenge, during Bike to Work Week, June 8-14. The ATA has added features that allow organization and participants to measure mileage, greenhouse gases prevented and calories burned. More information is available at www.bikecommuterchallenge.org.

… that construction on the new Bridge Street bridge could begin in mid-July. The construction firm will be Alfred Benesch & Company of Chicago, and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) will reimburse the City 80 percent of the engineering cost – $192,000 of the $240,000 –  through its Highway Bridge Program. The other $48,000 will come from CIP funds. Highway Bridge/IDOT will also provide $1.5 in construction funding (80 percent of the cost). The remaining construction costs will come from the City’s Bridge Street Bridge Project capital improvement account. The City reports that the bridge “has been identified as structurally deficient on the basis of serious deterioration of the pier walls that are adjacent to the North Shore Channel.” The new bridge will be wider to accommodate pedestrian, wheel-chair and bike traffic.

… that construction on Central Street is expected to be fully completed by the third week of June. The project involves replacement of existing curbs, roadway base repair, asphalt surface from curb to curb and selected sidewalk and driveway aprons, installation of accessible ramps at the intersections, and the widening of the south-side sidewalk. Folks should look out for “NO PARKING” restrictions, which the City says “will be intermittent throughout the duration of the project,” but evening and night time parking (5 p.m. to 7 a.m.) “will always be available.” Questions about street projects should be directed to John Nero or Sat Nagar, P.E., senior engineer, at 311.

… that the City is participating in a statewide “debt-collection” program: coming after parking-ticket scofflaws. Anyone who pays parking fines incurred during the seven years prior to Sept. 30, 2012, will have the late fees waived if the fines are paid by June 30 of this year. The City reports that some “40,000 accounts are eligible for this program.” Scofflaws who do not pay their fines by June 30 “will have their accounts submitted for state income tax refund interception through the Illinois Local Debt Recovery Program and all late fees associated with these delinquent parking tickets will be reinstated,” per the City.

… that the City and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago have come to an agreement about a couple of tricky sewers that the MWRD owns but the City wishes to resurface. One is on Davis, where the street will be repaired and a new protected bike lane installed, and the other is on Main, where MWRD would like to have a check valve in a City-owned manhole (person-hole). Seems the City will do the work, be reimbursed in large part by MWRD and then take ownership of the new block-and-a-half-long sewer on Davis. MWRD has offered $853,153, because it does not wish to pay for the street resurfacing or “for bid items associated with relocating the sewer main north of its current position.” Their offer is short about $170,000 of the City’s estimated cost of $1,023,500 for the entire project. The City is looking for that $170,347 and may use Washington National TIF funds or Sewer Fund reserve or may issue GO bonds or bonds to be paid from the Sewer Fund. That amount seems pretty small to warrant a bond issue. The value of the check valve on Main, including installation, is $7,200, for which MWRD will reimburse the City, and the City will assume ownership of and responsibility for maintenance of the check valve.  

… that the City will lease seven Harley Davidson motorcycles from Chicago Harley Davidson Inc. in Glenview for a year. Let’s see, which two aldermen won’t get one? (Just kidding, of course – they’re probably for the police department.)

… that the City will purchase 200 trees (mostly 2-to-2 ½- inch-diameter) from the Suburban Tree Consortium, half of which will be planted by City crews and the remainder by STC.  The cost will be roughly $55,000. Most of these will be planted in parkways; in most cases, residents were able to choose a tree for their parkway space from a list of five trees. STC will get the trees from Beaver Creek Nursery, Inc. of Poplar Grove and Possibility Place Nursery in Monee.

… that there will be one-lane traffic in each direction on the south-side lanes of Golf Road between Lincolnwood and McCormick for the next few weeks while 1,960 feet of 60-inch diameter brick sewer is rehabilitated by Insituform Technologies USA, LLC. As with other areas in town where the sewers are rehabbed, Insituform will install a cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) liner inside the existing sewer mains. A new person-hole will be installed. The City says this process is “generally less disruptive and the work can be completed much faster than if the sewer were excavated and replaced.”

Residents can expect here, as everywhere this is done, to smell styrene from the resins. The City says, “Although styrene is not a pleasant odor, it is not dangerous at the levels at which people can detect it.” The work will be 24/7 through May 17, and the City anticipates that the site-restoration work will occur the week of May 20 and normal traffic patterns will resume by May 24. Questions can be directed to Mark Steinbuck, City Sewer Division supervisor, 847-448-8219.

… that the City has awarded a one-year, $25,000 contract to Landscape Concepts Management of Grayslake to maintain the Green Bay Road Railroad embankment from Isabella to Central and from Noyes to Foster. This amount is about $800 less than the City paid last year for these services. The work on the native planting areas involves, according to the City, “a mass-cutting of all areas, weekly litter and debris cleanups from April through December, and seeding and re-plugging (transplanting) of native plant material as needed. The mass cutting of these areas does not include the removal of any mature trees. The scope of the formally planted areas involves a spring and fall cleanup; weekly litter and debris cleanups from April through December; annual mulching and fertilization, weed/insect/disease control and tree and shrub pruning as needed; grass cutting, irrigation-system maintenance and three seasonal flower plantings through the growing season.”

From our readers:

TG: Here is a photo of a traffic light on Emerson Street just west of the CTA tracks.

From TG: Since a picture is worth a thousand words, TG has no comment except “?!”

TG: I find the traffic light at Dempster and Fowler to be frustrating and irrational. There’s hardly any traffic along Fowler, while Dempster is a heavily used thoroughfare. Yet the red light seems timed to be equally long on both streets. Maybe the City could make an adjustment to reflect traffic volume.     – Frequent Traveler

From TG: Dear FQ: You certainly have a point about the length of the Fowler light. Maybe it’s to let the traffic from the gas station get out safely?

The Traffic Guy thinks …

… Congratulations to Ashley Kennedy, who correctly identified the Muntz Jet in TG’s last column. These cars were assembled here for about three years in the early 50s. The plant was at Lee and Grey, in a building now used by C. E. Niehoff. And thanks to the person who faxed the RT some pages from an early catalogue of these marvelous cars.