… that work on the Bridge Street bridge was supposed to have begun this week and is now expected to be completed by July, only seven months (most of them wintry) after the date promised last year. As before, there will be one-way traffic and there will be pedestrian access. The bike path through Butler park will be aligned at Brown and Bridge; new street lighting will be installed there, and the McCormick/Bridge traffic signal will be upgraded. While this is welcome news, what would be even more welcome is an explanation of the delay.
… that a permanent three-way stop sign may be coming to Greenleaf and Hartrey. There is already one there for vehicles traveling west on Greenleaf, but it’s pretty low to the ground.
… that the City has received a $200,000 grant from the Illinois Department of
Natural Resources to “construct an extension for the Church Street boat ramp to upgrade the facility and improve safety.”
… that the City apparently has a new street. Maps that were sent out recently have “Ashbury” as an Evanston Street. Maybe that will be the location of the first medical marijuana dispensary.
… that the City’s “Evanston Edge” online newsletter took umbrage at the neglect of Purple Line restaurants on the “Chicago’s ‘L’ Bar Map” posted recently by Thrillist.EE – or does one refer to it as E2 or E-squared? – would add the following Evanston eateries and drinkeries to the map, which suggests fine places to hop off the L and have a drink: EE says this list is not inclusive but does have “some of the finest establishments the Purple Line has to offer:” Ward 8 and Peckish Pig Brewpub on Howard; Firehouse Grill at Washington/Chicago (EE suggests the South Boulevard stop, but TG recommends disembarkation at Main instead), F.E.W. Spirits (also at Main); Union Pizza & SPACE at Dempster; Bat 17, Farmhouse and World of Beer at Davis; DMK Burger & Fish at Noyes; and Bluestone at Central.
… that a new app for iPhone and Android, SpotHero, is on the market to help drivers find a parking spot. According to SpotHero, 35 million parking tickets are issued each year, the bulk of them in Evanston – just kidding; no locations were given. The company claims that SpotHero can help drivers “compare and reserve a guaranteed spot at a discount” – up to 40 percent. It also recommends looking for “coupons from garage companies on websites like Parking.com & Clickandpark.com.”
According to a press release, SpotHero founders Jeremy Smith, Mark Lawrence and Larry Kiss launched the company [in 2011] to make life easier for the daily driver. SpotHero allows drivers to compare and reserve spots in real-time on the web and by using their mobile phone. The company partners with the top parking companies to fill their unused inventory by putting drivers in their spots.”
From our readers: TG: I have a question about this sign (see photo below) that is posted in the public parking lot in the Central Street business district. There are different interpretations of what the sign is saying and I’d like some clarification. Even the Evanston police officer I met at the local Starbucks wasn’t exactly sure what the sign meant.“Electric Vehicle Parking – only while charging.” Does that mean only electric vehicles are allowed to park in the space and they must be charging at the time? Or does that mean electric vehicles can park in the space while they are charging but any vehicle can park there if there is no electric vehicle in the space?
The employees at Starbucks told me they have never seen an electric vehicle park in either of the two designated spaces, charging or not. But I have often seen gasoline vehicles in the spaces, especially when the lot is full.
Please help settle my bet. There is a caramel latte riding on the answer. – John Kerr
From TG: Thanks, Mr. Kerr. TG agrees that the phrasing on that sign is, at best, inartful. It is difficult to tell whether the placement of “only” is careless or deliberate – that is, if “only while charging” is the intent of the phrase. If “only” has just been dropped in there, then the intent may be to reserve the space for electric vehicles (“only”), in which case the “while charging” is not needed.
TG’s interpretation is that electric vehicles would be able to park anywhere in the lot unless they are charging their batteries and that other vehicles are free to park there otherwise. If only we knew; if only there was some clarity. TG referred your question to Corporation Counsel Grant Farrar and received the following response: “Per the terms of Ordinance 57-O-13 approved last year, only electric vehicles using the charging station are permitted to park there while at the same time using the charger. Non-electric-powered vehicles are not allowed to park in those designated spots.” Sounds like this is another case where the signage muddles rather than informs. Please let TG know who gets the caramel latte.
TG: A technical correction if you don’t mind. The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago charges for the sludge based on the liquid volume of sludge in gallons (“flow”), the weight in pounds of materials causing biochemical oxygen demand (organic material or BOD) and the weight in pounds of the suspended solids (“SS”). The flow is measured by a metering device and the concentration of BOD and SS is determined from chemical analysis of samples collected during the period of discharge.
However, I would agree that turbidity and quantity is enough for most folks. – Dick Lanyon
From TG: Dear Mr. Lanyon, Thanks for the clarification. Knowing, as many readers
do, your very impressive credentials and your history with MWRD, TG knows it is accurate.
TG: Isn’t it about time for the Evanston campus of Northwestern University to adopt a speed limit for motor vehicles on university property? There appears to be no vehicle policy regarding speed. The result is that at any given time, individuals, contractors, campus police, facilities and maintenance personnel may be operating their vehicles at speeds that are unsafe for pedestrians traversing the campus grounds. Without clear speed limits communicated by signage or other means, vehicular use is neither safe nor orderly. Moreover, pedestrians on walkways often are forced to share the same space with moving vehicles making deliveries, etc. – Margaret Schott, Ph.D
From TG: Dear Dr. Schott: RT folks called the Northwestern Police Department, who apparently passed the request along to the media relations. Storer Rowley, director of Media Relations for Northwestern, sent this reply: “Our University Police office passed along your inquiry to me and gave me the pertinent info. You are correct. There is not a posted speed limit for campus. Because Northwestern University is private property, most traffic laws related to the Illinois Vehicle Code do not apply – only on public streets. And yes, we try to get people to drive around 10-15 MPH, but again this is not posted nor enforced. Once in a while, I’m told, people drive too fast on campus. The University Police occasionally stop folks and give them a warning. We have no other method of enforcement.” Apparently, it’s laissez-faire or “Watch out!” or something like that once anyone is east of Sheridan and north of Clark.
From TG: Natalie Wainwright, who designed “VRAD couture” for TG’s March 13 column, received the following cyber-missive from knitter and alderman Jane Grover (7th Ward): “Natalie: While it would require many months of knitting to create enough fabric to adorn a VRAD, we could solicit donations of old sweaters to make it happen. I imagine creating a covering that looks like a little house, with doors, window flowers, vines trailing up
… Or a mini-mountain with waterfall
… Or a clump of knitted wildflowers
… Or a troll head.… I think I’ll be taking my measuring tape with me next time I walk the dog. Thanks for the inspiration.
TG: The section of Sheridan Road north of Emerson has been patched, re-patched, re-re-patched, and now pot-holed. Is it ever going to be fully rebuilt like it was in the south half of town? – Thanks, Zack Sackheim
From TG: TG referred your question to Suzette Robinson, the City’s director of Public Works, who responded with the following information: “The north end of Sheridan Road is currently under design and will be reconstructed in 2015 from Isabella to Chicago Avenue. We are planning for a sustainable parkway and bike lanes that will connect to Wilmette on the north and to the protected bike paths on Church and Davis via Chicago Avenue. Chicago Avenue will be resurfaced in 2015 as well from Sheridan to Lake Avenue. In the meantime we are planning some temporary large-scale patching along Sheridan for the spring of 2014 that will hold until June 2015, the estimated start time of the project.”
The Traffic Guy thinks …
… that the City ought to retire the Dempster/Dodge tax-increment financing (TIF) district, purchase the shopping center from Bonnie Management for less than the $8 million, which was their purchase price, relocate the businesses in the out lot onto the west wall and create a water park out of the rest of the property.
… that, even though City officials may be chummy with NU, folks out in the community ought to keep their eyes open as to what is going on along the lakefront. How much now is, or soon will be, closed off to public access? Of course, NU says it’s a private university, but if one considers how much public money it takes, is it still “private”?
… that replacing the paths in the Ladd Arboretum with asphalt is a thoughtless and destructive measure. The proponents of this are some of the same folks that brought those dysfunctional bollards downtown that many think are vertically challenged bike racks and the Bridge Street bridge repairs that were supposed to have been completed last November. With a little more consideration, TG is sure that a resolution can be crafted that will allow winter passage but not destroy the woodland ambiance and not pave the way for speeding bicycles.