that destruction of the lakefront is underway. This photo, snapped last week, shows that NU fully intends to desecrate part of the lakefront adjacent to Clark Street Beach. Seems no place else will do for its visitor center.

… that street resurfacing began this week and will continue for the next eight weeks. The project, according to the City, “involves curb replacement as needed, roadway base repair, replacement of asphalt surface from curb to curb along with selected sidewalk replacement and driveway aprons. …The funding for the project will come from the city’s Motor Fuel Tax (MFT) funds and there will be no direct charge for the property owners on these streets.” There are two phases to the construction: Phase 1 streets: Forest, Keeney to Kedzie; Greenleaf, Chicago to Hinman; Oak, Greenleaf to Crain; Lee, Michigan to Sheridan; Washington, Dewey to Asbury and Ridge to Chicago. Phase 2 streets: Elinor, Ashland to Wesley; Forestview, Grant to Colfax; Lake, Elmwood to Sherman; McDaniel, Church to Lyons; Princeton, Central to Dead End North; and  Sherman, Greenwood to Lake. Watch for daytime “No Parking” signs – temporary but enforced. The City says it will waive street sweeping and/or neighborhood parking restrictions for a one-block radius around the construction zone when temporary daytime parking bans are in effect. The contractor is Chicagoland Paving Contractors, Inc., of Lake Zurich; the resident City engineer is Pankaj Chokshi; and questions about the street resurfacing projects in general should be directed to Sat Nagar, P.E., senior engineer, at 311.

… that a second City project, replacing water mains and resurfacing streets, also began this week. This 14-week project involves replacing water services and replacing deteriorated water mains with new ductile iron pipe. On the streets, curbs will be replaced as needed, the roadway base repaired, asphalt replaced curb-to-curb, and some sidewalks and driveway aprons replaced. Five street segments will get the new treatment: Lake, McDaniel to Pitner; McDaniel, Lake to Church; Central, Sherman to Sheridan; Church, Chicago to Hinman; and Wesley, Simpson to Leonard. Funding comes from the Water and the Capital Improvement funds. As above, residents should watch for “No Parking” signs, which are supposed to be posted 48 hours before the start of the work. As with the project noted above, the City says it will waive street sweeping and/or neighborhood parking restrictions for a one-block radius around the construction zone when temporary daytime parking bans are in effect. The contractor is Glenbrook Excavating & Concrete, Inc., of Wauconda; the resident City engineer is Angeleo Alonzo, Jr.; and questions about the street resurfacing projects in general should be directed to Sat Nagar, P.E., senior engineer, at 311.

 that last month was the 12th wettest May on record in Illinois, reports Jim Angel, Illinois State Climatologist at the Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois. The wettest May on record was 1943, with 8.87 inches. In comparison, May 2012 was much drier with 2.50 inches for the entire month. The statewide average temperature for May was 63.6 degrees, just 1.1 degrees above average.

… that some residents in the RT area are wondering if it is possible to get a flashing cross-walk at Dodge and Crain – something like the one on Main Street in front of Washington School. Cars do not always stop at the crosswalk there, and, as one resident put it, “You are basically crossing at your own risk most of the time. … It would be good to have a button to push to flash the cars that come by to actually stop for people crossing the street. Many people walk to shop there and school kids cross on a daily basis.”  

… that the Central/Stewart parking lot was deconstructed in about a day. The new lot – and the luxury (or, costly, at least) bike shelter should be done in just a few weeks.

… that, speaking of Central Street, folks are reminded not to put chairs out to mark their Fourth-of-July-parade-watching spots until 6 a.m. on July 1.

… that, speaking of the Fourth of July parade, TG has heard more and more grumbling about the idea of moving the parade to a downtown location. TG joins the grumbles and fears that with a relocation of the parade there might even be a rechronization  (TG’s word) of the celebration – that is, celebrating on the closest weekend day rather than on the Fourth itself.

… that Leonidas Chocolate Café is coming to Evanston, 1907 Central St. That should help in the RT’s mission, to search for truth and the finest chocolate. And, speaking of chocolate, here’s a pic of a 112-foot-long, 2,775-lb. chocolate sculpture of a train by Maltese chocolate artist Andrew Farrugia, who spent more than 700 hours constructing the masterpiece. According to an email the RT received, “After measuring the length of the train and confirming no material other than chocolate was used, officials from the Guinness Book of World Records added a new category to the collection of world records and declared the train to be the longest chocolate structure in the world.” Mr. Farrugia said he came up with the idea of the train last year after visiting the Belgian Chocolate Festival in Bruge: “… A train you can make it as long as you like. .. Actually it was going to be much smaller than it was, but I kept on adding another wagon, and another wagon, and it’s the size it is today.” Wonder if he also does falcons?

From our Readers: TG: The “jury” is not “still out on whether Styrene is a carcinogen.” It was declared a carcinogen in 2011 by the Department of Health and Human Services. When the city did the “cured in place” project in our neighborhood, the smell was so overwhelming that one could taste it in one’s mouth when inside our house. The injection company says it dissipates quickly outside. Not so with inside air. Insituform Technologies,Inc., cure-all of putting water in one’s drain in the basement doesn’t work when one does not have a floor drain in the basement…as is true of many Victorian homes in Evanston.

The company who first contracted with the City to do this very untested process relocated me and my dog to a hotel for the time that our sewer was being injected. (Styrene has been proven to adversely affect the respiratory systems of small animals. It hasn’t been tested on humans. Since my dog is not able to tell me if it hurts when he breathes, I wasn’t taking any chances with his health.)

The workers are supposed to wear hazmat outfits when working with this, but they don’t. (Don’t want to alarm the public, I’m guessing.) Public buildings have been evacuated when styrene gas escaped the sewer and inundated the inside air. (Google it).

And no one knows the long term effects of this carcinogen on the public and our ground water. Shame on the water department for cutting corners and taking a giant risk with the public’s health. And shame on you, Traffic Guy, for helping whitewash this.                       – Sari Kadison-Shapiro

From TG: Thank you for the information, Ms. Kadison-Shapiro. The RoundTable forwarded your letter to the City Manager, the Corporation Counsel (City attorney) and the Utilities Department head, Dave Stoneback. Mr. Stoneback responded: I have been contacting the contractor that is performing the work to try and get the level of styrene released into the air during the installation process.  … What I can tell you is that the material safety data sheet (MSDS) indicates that the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for styrene in 100 parts per million (ppm).  The MSDS continues to state that respiratory protection is needed if the PEL is exceeded.

The levels of styrene in the air are likely to be much lower than this. The smell of the styrene is so pungent that humans smell it at much lower concentration, even less than 10 ppm. 

Ventilation to dissipate the smell is the best recommendation. With the work taking place outside, residents should keep their windows closed. However, if the smell travels up through a floor drain into the home, then it would be best to open windows to ventilate the basement.

Insituform Technologies sent a 2009 report about work they performed in Denver, Col. The styrene levels were tested at that worksite and the Industrial Hygiene Evaluation, “Styrene Exposure Evaluation,” for that worksite found that “The styrene vapor exposure concentration at the jobsite were low.” No information was provided about any testing in Evanston.

TG understands that the vapor is malodorous and emanates widely from the site but reports only and takes no position on the toxicity thereof.

The Traffic Guy thinks…

… that it would be nice to calibrate the Church and Lake street lights on Dodge so that drivers who obey the speed limit (and there are a few) could make both lights without speeding up at the edges of the school property.

… that the City ought to consider getting a certificate of need so it could just raze the Harley Clarke mansion and expand the park there. Selling the beautiful windows, the bricks and other accoutrement from the mansion might net about enough income to cover the cost of demolition.