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… that the Evanston Police Department released its catch figures for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, when the department “conducted enhanced traffic enforcement for seatbelt violators, drivers under the influence and distracted drivers operating a hand-held cellphone. These enforcement efforts were sponsored through the Illinois Department of Transportation’s “Click it or Ticket” program.” Here’s the haul: seatbelt violations: 37 citations issued; distracted drivers operating hand-held cell phones: 30 citations issued; operating a vehicle on a suspended license: four arrests; illegal transportation of open alcohol in a vehicle: six citations issued; possession of a fictitious ID card: one citation issued; excessive speed violations: seven citations issued; no proof of valid insurance: two citations issued; and other minor traffic incidents: eight citations issued.
… that the City has approved a contract with G&L Contractors, Inc. of Skokie to haul away and dispose of debris for the Utilities Department and Public Works Department. Here’s some of what might be hauled away: mixed dirt and construction spoils, broken concrete and asphalt, “hard-to-handle dirt and spoils,” mixed dirt and asphalt grindings from alleys, and stuff from the service center, 2020 Asbury.
… that, soon to appear in front of the zoning board of appeals (ZBA) and working its way to City Council is an application by Linda Jelinek to operate a bed-and-breakfast at 1722 Judson. At a recent meeting of a City committee, Ms. Jelinek said she has lived in the house for 38 years and plans to continue to live there and operate the B&B – five guest bedrooms, each with its own bath. According to the minutes of the meeting, the home was built in 1929 as a single-family home, but a sorority bought it in 1960 – and 38 young women, a house mother and a caretaker couple lived there then. Ms. Jelinek bought the property in 1975. There appears to be a lot of room in this mansion, including for parking. The minutes reflect that “Ms. Jelinek expects her best customers will be the sorority women who come back every year on a walking tour and the Ginkgo Society, because the largest Ginkgo tree in history was on her property.” This would be the third B&B concentrated in that relatively small area of Church and Judson.
… that another restaurant is coming: David Morton would like to open a DMK Burger Bar & Fish Bar at 815 Noyes. Mr. Morton lives in Evanston and owns six restaurants in Chicago, including two DMK Burger Bars, one at Soldier Field. Good news: The restaurant is accessible, since the door is level with the sidewalk – and Mr. Morton would like to have a neon sign inside but no outside signage.
… that the City has extended for two years its contract with Central Parking Systems of Chicago to manage the three downtown parking garages – Maple Avenue, Sherman Avenue and Church/Clark. The City will pay about $1.6 million each year.
… that the City has extended the contract of Parsons Brinkerhoff – but without cost to the City – for professional services for the Main Street Transit Oriented Development Study and Plan.
… that, speaking of the Main/Chicago area, developer John O’Donnell is drawing up plans and discussing with the City plans for his nine-story mixed use project there. Right now the plans call for 12,064 square feet of retail space, 15,670 square feet of office space, 112 dwelling units and 104 enclosed parking spaces.
… that a couple of outsized signs are moving into our air space. Big Twist, 1805 Howard, wants a wall sign that is not on the premises of the business and would be about twice the allowable size – 220 square feet instead of the regulator 125 square feet. And Burger King, 1825 Dempster, would like to have a wall sign that does not face a street or alley and would be a foot-and-a-half higher than the permitted 15.5 feet. Just what this City needs – more signs and bigger.
… but, speaking of more and bigger, NU has submitted plans for construction of its fourth behemoth, a 400,000-square-foot building for the Kellogg School of Management’s global hub. Seems like the overall plan for that lakefill is midtown Manhattan. TG envisions one or more Jumbotrons broadcasting highlights from athletic events, parties, concerts and plays – or maybe even digital images.
From our readers: TG: Has anyone ever pointed out how dumb the west-turning green arrow is at Ridge and Emerson? It only stays green a few seconds, not enough time for any north-bound cars lined up at the Ridge-Green Bay junction to make it through to Emerson. So what’s the point? – Frustrated Driver
From TG: TG is familiar with the intersection, the arrow and the wait-time and thinks that your complaint is with the timing of the arrow rather than with the arrow itself. As you acknowledge, cars want to get onto Emerson from Green Bay/Ridge and staying the course is the best alternative (that is, rather than going straight on Ridge and either making a U-turn in the parking lot of the shopping plaza there and exiting onto Emerson. Maybe adding 30 seconds or so to the arrow would help. Speaking of adding a few seconds – TG continues to wish that someone would pay attention to the continual mess at Golf (Emerson) and McDaniel. Often during the morning rush hour, cars turning east will make it onto Golf only to be stranded in the intersection, blocking oncoming traffic because the light at McCormick is still red.
The Traffic Guy thinks …
… that the City should be thinking 21st century, not 20th century in its crime-fighting (or, as is now conceded, crime-solving rather than crime-prevention) efforts. Drones. TG imagines drones buzzing up and down Dodge Avenue and Church Street, threading between pedestrians and weaving among cars, checking for weapons, drugs and other menaces. Maybe the City was too hasty in outlawing them. Or robots – on the civil side. TG can envision a little robot – R2D2-sized – that would greet customers at surface parking lots with pay stations, take their money to the pay station and return with the receipt to display in the window.
… that New Year’s resolutions are in order for the next issue, Jan. 2. TG has already come up with a few, but readers are invited to send in their ideas for New Year’s resolutions regarding all things traffic.
Meanwhile, Merry Christmas, Merry Kwanzaa, Happy New Year, and, with this timeless pole, TG wishes that peace will prevail on earth.
See you next year. We are here to listen.
Happy Christmas and Happy New Year, everyone.