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… that, writing in The Atlantic, Richard Florida ranked the country’s 10 brainiest cities, all of which are college/university towns. Evanston  was fourth, beaten out by Stanford, Cal., Princeton, N.J. and Storrs Mansfield, Conn. The others are Cambridge, Mass. (5); La Jolla, Cal. (6);  Amherst, Mass. (7); West Lafayette, Ind. (8); Ithaca, N. Y. (9); and Davis, Cal. (10).

… that, through July 7, the Evanston Police Department will join the Illinois State Police and hundreds of police and sheriff’s departments in a statewide enforcement of traffic laws, particularly those relating to impaired driving. Here is advice from the EPD for those who have been, well, overserved, and those who might come across them: “Plan ahead. Designate a sober driver before going out and give that person your car keys. If you are drunk, call a taxi, use mass transit or call a sober friend or family member to get you home safely. Promptly report drunk drivers you see on the roadways to law enforcement by pulling over and dialing 911. Make sure everyone in your vehicle wears their seat belt. It is your best defense against a drunk driver.”

… that the Public Works folks presented to City Council an array of options for street furniture on Davis in the downtown area. The City persists in wanting to have those annoying bollard/lights, so the Council is left with the choice of “Which one?” rather than saying “Let’s not.”

They’re also looking at locations for bike racks, bike corrals and newspaper corrals. The City’s regulations of the press may walk the tightrope. Yes, the RT still believes in an unfettered press.

… that the City will pay AVI Systems of Bensenville about $43,000 for the purchase and installation of new video cameras, mixer and microphones for Council Chambers. 

… that the City will purchase leak detection equipment for its closed-session meetings … Just kidding. The leak-detection equipment is for water mains, to be purchased from Fluid Conservation Systems of Milford, Ohio. Although $60,000 was allocated, the cost is likely to be about $7,000 less, according to the City.

… that two police patrol cars were totaled in separate accidents last month, so the City is replacing them ASAP.

… that, speaking of EPD vehicles, TG hears that some will be getting new Flashback 2 Video Recording Systems. The cost is about $52,000 for 20 systems, to be purchased from L3 Mobile-Vision, Inc., of Boonton, N.J.

… that  there’s a bit of rezoning going on around town: 2153, 2143 and 2145 Ashland,  1515 and 1523 Payne Street, and 2150 and 2156 Green Bay Road have been rezoned from C2 (commercial) to MXE (mixed-use employment). Likewise 1715 Church and 1703 and 1711 Darrow were rezoned from I2 (Industrial) to MXE (mixed-use employment). The City justifies the rezoning by saying that it reflects the character of the land’s use at present. It doesn’t seem like there’s much industry in the Church/Darrow area now, except the transfer station, which TG hopes, as do others in the area, will choose to relocate. 

… that the City is answering some of those FAQs about markings on parkway trees: A white dot means the tree has been marked for removal for one of several reasons – it is dead, it is hazardous or “just in general decline with no possibility of recovery.” A green dot means that the tree is an elm that is part of the City’s inspection program; these trees are inoculated every three years against Dutch elm disease (DED). A red dot means the elm tree has been diagnosed with DED. Other markings may appear, and the light blue dot means the tree is “beyond hope.” A horizontal lines means the DED was caught early and the diseased section has been removed. Such surgical amputation gives the tree better than a 50/50 chance of recovery.

… that NU is holding “Run for Walk” on July 28 in honor of NU’s late head football coach Randy Walker. It will be a 4.1 mile run, 5K family walk that begins and ends at Ryan Field. Those who sign up for the race will receive a free ticket to the Syracuse (Sept. 7), Western Michigan (Sept. 14) or Maine (Sept. 21) football game. Early registration (before July 15) is $37.50; $40 on race day. All proceeds go to C.A.R.E, Evanston’s animal shelter.

… that, speaking of NU, the folks in charge of the free Summer Cinema series over there on the lakefront (east side of Norris at about dusk) included two films as part of the Evanston 150 celebration “for the following reasons. ‘Sixteen Candles’ features scenes that were filmed in Evanston and the name ‘Evanston’ is mentioned in the dialogue of ‘The Sting,’ requiring the film company to pay the City of Evanston $14,000 for the rights to include the name in the 1973 film.”

From our readers: TG:  I don’t read your column every issue, so I don’t know if you have looked into the cameras that Skokie has installed at many intersections with Evanston (I’m thinking particularly of McCormick). There are no signs, as in Chicago, alerting drivers to the presence of cameras and the signals do not provide the second-by-second countdown that now is common at many big Chicago intersections.

I have no idea whether there is any state requirement that municipalities provide signage or even some kind of advance notice. It is possible that Skokie has been telling its residents about these cameras for some time, but I just noticed them recently.  I read an article on MSNBC that a Florida newspaper had done some investigation of such cameras down there and was suggesting that municipalities, by cutting the yellow light time, might be increasing the likelihood that they would “trap” more motorists and garner more revenue.  The article suggested that yellow light time should be adjusted to legal speed limits at these intersections.  If you are legally doing 35, and the yellow signal is very few seconds, you might find yourself entering the intersection after the light has turned red – because you don’t really have time to stop. If you can enlighten me (and other RT readers) about this, I would much appreciate it.  Thanks.              – Elliot Zashin

From TG: TG assumes you are referring to the light at McCormick and Dempster.  The camera there faces the intersection from the north, and there is a sign there warning motorists that the light is “photo-enforced.” Anthony F. Scarpelli, Skokie’s chief of police, told the RoundTable that only southbound traffic is recorded at that intersection. Commander Brian Baker, also of the Skokie P.D., said they have not changed the timing of the yellow light in that intersection. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has control over the traffic signal.

TG: It would be nice if the City synchronized lights on the major boulevards, specifically Chicago, Green Bay/Ridge and McCormick, as well as Central, Golf, Church, Dempster, Main and Oakton. The benefits are significant: Traffic would move more smoothly and save people time, speeds could be regulated and pollution could be reduced.      – Frequent Traveler

From TG: TG referred your complaint to the City and received the following response: The Public Works Department is modernizing and coordinating the traffic signals as opportunity arises. Within the last few years, traffic signals on the Ridge Avenue, Chicago Avenue, Central Street and Sheridan Road have been modernized and coordinated. Plans are in progress to do the same with Dempster Street and Ridge/Green Bay/Emerson intersection in the near future.  

The Traffic Guy thinks …

… that folks are really droning on: With drones used in news-gathering now, some wag posed the query whether the City’s drone-ban violates the First Amendment.

… that drone technology is the wave of the future.

…that, that said, TG hopes everyone enjoys the parade tomorrow.