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… that shortly after the last column went to press, TG learned that the City had in fact reached out to residents in the 900 block of Monroe regarding a problem with the snow being dumped by a City worker onto carriage walks.  TG regrets the error.

… that there are plans in the works for an extension of the Church Street protected bike path – on the south side of Church from McCormick to Dodge. The plan is for the lane to be wide enough to handle two lanes of bike traffic. This is for next year, 2015.
 
… that, speaking of bike lanes, the Dodge Avenue bike lane between Howard and Church will be reconfigured close to the curb, again with a lane of parking between bicycle and vehicle traffic.

… that State Senator Daniel Biss has presented legislation that would limit the circumstances under which law enforcement may use electronic location surveillance, including GPS tracking information from cell-phones, in criminal investigations. Sen. Biss said, “From your phone to the GPS system built into your car, the devices you use every day can reveal a surprising amount of detailed information most of us believe should stay private.” According to information from Sen. Biss: Senate Bill 2808 would allow law enforcement to obtain a tracking order – similar to a search warrant – if they can show a judge they have probable cause to believe obtaining current or future location information from an individual’s electronic device is needed to solve a crime or prevent a crime from taking place. In the absence of a tracking order, information collected through electronic surveillance would be inadmissible in court. The legislation contains exceptions for emergencies such as responding to a 911 call or locating a missing person believed to be in danger. It also clarifies that police and prosecutors may still make use of information already available to the public, such as locations posted on social media. In 2012, cell-phone carriers reported to Congress that they had responded to 1.3 million requests from law enforcement agencies for customer information [in 2011].”
 
… that it may soon be time to say goodbye to those wooden swings and castles at Penny Park. The grassroots, built-with-local-volunteer-labor and in-part-paid-for-with-children’s-pennies park at Lake and Florence is scheduled for renovation. Residents who had a hand in building PP may feel a twinge of regret at learning that the wooden structures will be replaced by plastic (possibly recycled) and metal ones, to conform to new standards of safety and accessibility. The City says it plans to work in conjunction with Leathers & Associates, the company that helped plan the original park 20-some years ago. The City will be looking to get nearby residents involved in a visioning process in the summer, and the renovation could be a two-year project, according to information presented at a recent Second Ward meeting.

… that, speaking of the Second Ward, the former KFC building will soon house Evanston’s first free-standing Starbuck’s. The City reports that the café could open as early as fall of 2014. Revision Group, LLC, the property’s developer, converted a KFC restaurant into a Starbucks café in Naperville (pictured above) in 2012, according to the City. Its  press release adds, “The transformation will provide residents, students
and visitors with another option for coffee and snacks, and give momentum to the City’s continued efforts to bring high-quality retail and services to the Dempster/Dodge area.” Of course, it won’t do much for the plaza. Or Ted’s Snack Shop.
Or Perla Café.
 
TG: Regarding the designated bike lanes, one aspect seems foolish to the point of dangerous. Cars turning right must yield right of way to bicycles coming up from behind. Who expects this to work in practice? The bicycle rider has a good view of cars to the front, but the driver must yield to a bike that may be nearly impossible to see – in the right rear blind spot on the other side of parked cars. – Dave Borland

From TG: Dear Mr. Borland: TG, who can only report from the Rules of the Road, is as mystified as you are.

From our readers: TG: Here are some frozen-bubble pictures taken in our Evanston house backyard to see if you are interested in using them for RoundTable. I am a professor at NU, living in Evanston with two kids (one is turning 4 and the other is turning 6.) My boys and I have been experimenting with bubbles since the Polar Vortex in January. We now are confident to say that the ideal temperature to watch bubble freezing is about 10-20 degrees. Below are some pictures I took in our backyard. Hope you find them as fun as we do. – Jannet Chang

From TG: Thanks, Prof. Chang – for these stunning photos and for the scientific research.

The Traffic Guy thinks …

… that, even though it might be tempting to think that winter is behind us, March is likely to come in or go out like a you-know-what (roar!). And the equinox is still three weeks away. By the way, TG recalls that a physics teacher at ETHS a few years ago cracked the legend that eggs can be balanced on end only at the equinox. Apparently, with enough care, a person can balance an egg any time, any season.