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… that folks who returned “Gratitude/Attitude” pages to the RT seemed to agree on several items: Gratitude (unanimous: Erie Family Health Center; approval of the community school initiative and the joint literacy goal; the “diverse and delicious” new restaurants; the new green Walgreens store on Chicago Avenue; working out the problems between the City and Noyes tenants; and Evanston Township High Schools Geometry in Construction, where students are building a home to be moved off campus and sold to an income-eligible family through Community Partners in Affordable Housing.  The revamped and enlarged Starbucks on Sherman, the protected bike lanes on Church, Evanston 150 and NU’s continued desecration of the lakefront each garnered unanimous “Attitude.” The rest had split, but not equal, voting.

… that a reader left a message asking TG to clarify the respective rights and responsibilities of bicyclists and motorists, with particular regard to driving in empty bike lanes and turning when a bike lane ends. TG checked the Rules of the Road for both motorists and the bicyclists and found the following information, which gives some clarity but does not address that specific quesiton. All these rules – and more – can be found at www.cyberdriveillinois.com.

Bike lanes: A motorist should not park or drive in marked bicycle lanes.
Doors: After parking and before opening vehicle doors, a motorist should check for cyclists.

Intersections:  Stop at a red light. [This is universal.]
When [the cyclist comes] to a stop sign at a two-way stop intersection, [the cyclist] must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and vehicles on the cross street before going ahead. At a four-way stop intersection, the driver or cyclist who arrives first at the intersection should be the first to go. Take turns and go one by one through the intersection after coming to a complete stop. Proceed only when it is safe to do so. At an unmarked intersection or crossing where there are no traffic signs or signals, the driver or cyclist on the left must yield to those on the right.
 
If a motorist is turning right and a bicyclist is approaching on the right, the motorist should let the cyclist go through the intersection first before making a right turn.
When a motorist is turning left and a cyclist is entering the intersection from the opposite direction, the driver should wait for the bicyclist to pass before making the turn. Also, a motorist sharing the left-turn lane with a cyclist should, stay behind the cyclist until they have safely competed the turn.

Left Turns for cyclists: When making a left turn, a cyclist has two choices:
1) Make the turn as a vehicle would. When a left-hand lane exists, stay in the right side of that lane, then after entering the intersection look in all directions and make the turn when safe. Or 2) Stay as close as practical to the right curb or edge of the roadway as you enter the intersection. Proceed straight across the roadway to the opposite corner, and then wait out of the way of other traffic. After obeying any traffic control device, you may directly cross the street again to complete the turn in the new direction.

Drivers must yield the right of way to a cyclist just as they would do to another vehicle.
And here is another rule for bikes, gratis, from ROTR: Always ride single file.

… Big Twist restaurant at 1805 Howard St. may be allowed to put up a large sign on adjacent property. Because it is set back from Howard, the owners feel it needs greater advertisement than the City would normally allow. The Site Plan committee recommended that Big Twist be allowed to place a 220-sq.-ft. sign on a pole on the property next door. Generally speaking, the City does not allow signs larger than 125 sq. ft. and likes to have business signs on the owner’s property. Still, the Big Twist folks say they would provide approval from the adjacent owner. Larger wall signs have been permitted at Dominick’s (and remember what they did), Jewel and Office Depot. The approval for this sign – fabric, not metal – is for two years – if City Council gives its approval when the recommendation finally meanders up there.

… that, farther north, the Burger King at Dempster and Dodge would like to put up a 17-foot-high sign, about 18 inches taller than is allowed by the City. The proposed sign would be “integrated with the architectural features as part of the complete rebuilding of the Burger King,” according to the Site Plan minutes. Although some City staff thought this should not be a 24/7 sign – having recommended that it not be lighted between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. – the rest of the committee disagreed, and the Site Plan committee decided to kick the can up the road to the Sign Board.

… that, speaking of supersizing, folks may recall that NU wishes to construct a six-story 400,000 sq. ft. building for the Kellogg School of Management just north of the cooling pond (aka, the lagoon). The place will house the Jacobs Center, classrooms, a study area and dining facilities open to the public. The lower floors will be “connected by bridges,” according to a presentation to the City, and there will 25 below-grade parking spaces. There will be athletic fields, some for practice, to the north and the east. And, good news for bird-lovers, NU is “researching anti-bird-collision glass.” NU says it hopes to be silver- or gold-LEED-certified (silver is the minimum standard required by the City).

… that Megabus.com has won the American Bus Association’s “Green Operator” award for 2014 from Des Plaines-based Motor Coach Industries.

TG: I second the comments by Steve Cohen (Jan. 16) that the “Stop for Pedestrian” signs are a valuable addition to our streets. But I submit that there is a design problem: the word “stop” is enclosed in a red octagon. Some drivers see this as a proper stop sign and stop, even when no pedestrian is anywhere in the area; this slows traffic. As you noted, other drivers view this as an optional stop and proceed at speed, regardless of whether or not a pedestrian is crossing.

The problem is that this optional stop is generalized to the free-standing octagonal stops at street corners. Drivers are learning that these, too, are optional stops. It would have been preferable to write “STOP” in bold, red letters without the octagon.
– Mike Levine

From TG: Thank you, Mr. Levine, for framing the issue so clearly. Optional stops, as you point out, can mean optional safety.

The Traffic Guy thinks …

… that Feb. 7 (the opening day of the 2014 Olympic Games) should be named Kori Ade Day in Evanston. This would follow the lead of Highland Park which has named that day Jason Brown Day in honor of the Olympic figure skater. After all where would an Olympian be without his long-time coach.