Yarn-bombing on Howard Street.Photo from the City of Evanston

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… that the City will purchase two new vehicles for the utilities department – one from Currie Motors of Frankfort, Ill., and one from Rush Truck Center in Springfield – and eight for the police department from Currie Motors as well – all new vehicles replacing old and worn ones. The new utilities department vehicles, a Ford F-2 50 and an International Harvester, “will be capable of operating on B-20 bio-diesel fuel and are equipped with ‘exhaust gas recirculation’ (EGR) systems which emit only harmless water vapors with no particulate matter,” according to a City staff memo.
Similarly, according to City staff, the vehicles from Currie Motors are “six-cylinder units with eco-boost technology for increased miles per gallon driven [using 87 octane fuel] and reduced emissions.” All these new vehicles will now have the “latest vehicle emission technology available in the market place” according to a City staff memo.

… that police officers issued tickets (or worse) for the following violations during the St. Patrick’s weekend “Click It or Ticket” campaign: 64 seat-belt violations; three child-restraint violations; five driving while having a suspended or revoked license, including one felony; two driving without a valid license; eight without insurance; 14 operating a cell phone; 22 speeders; and 16 other miscellaneous scofflaws.

… that the City will kick in another $25,000 as its share of the Safe Route to School Sidewalk Replacement and Curb Extension project. Seems the lowest qualified bid for the project is $275,000 – about $25,000 more than what City Council previously authorized.

… that – and this is no April fool – the City has “released an informational YouTube video to help users navigate the functional and convenient meters with ease.” It can be found at www.cityofevanston.org/parking/parking-meters. The new parking meters are, according to the City, “solar/battery powered and accept both coin and credit cards.” Wonder if the City will make a video on how to interpret their signs

… that the City is asking residents to provide feedback about “snow removal efforts, parking notifications, restrictions and more” by means of a survey. The survey will be available at www.engageEvanston.org or by phone at 311 here or 847-448-4311 outside of Evanston. This information will, according to the City, “be utilized as the City reviews and revises operations and regulations ahead of next season.”

… that, through June 20, Nicor Gas will replace 15,000 feet of old low-pressure cast-iron gas main and 327 gas service lines and install gas meters and regulators between Dodge and Green Bay. Some of the large swaths are Emerson between Dodge and Green Bay, the west side of Green Bay from about Emerson to McCormick, Simpson from Dodge to Jackson and Darrow from Church to Payne. The City says construction will take place Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Additional work on Fridays may be necessary at times. Parking restrictions will be placed as needed to provide a safe work zone. The project contract for Nicor is Project Supervisor Dan Kellogg, 630-816-5645; for the City, it is Pelayo Enerio (Jhun), 847-448-4311.

… that those who missed last week’s meeting about improving the Emerson/Ridge/Green Bay intersection will have the opportunity to attend at others in June and in August. According to the City, “ESI Consultants, Ltd. will spearhead the research to determine ways to meet the needs of the area through data collection, public involvement, safety analysis, traffic modeling/analysis, stormwater evaluations, lighting review, landscape/streetscape planning, and preparation of a conclusive report. … Specifically, the focus will be on improving Green Bay Road south of McCormick Boulevard, Ridge Avenue between Dempster Street and Simpson Street and Emerson Street between Benson Avenue and Asbury Avenue. More information is available at www.emersonridge.com.

… that a yarn bomb hit this parking meter on Howard recently. … that Deborah Byrd of EarthSky.org reports sky buzz about the lunar tetrad of 2014-15. A lunar tetrad is “four successive total lunar eclipses, with no partial lunar eclipses in between, each of which is separated from the other by six lunar months (six full moons).” During a full lunar eclipse the moon appears red, and Ms. Byrd writes that the reason for this “stems from the air we breathe. During a total lunar eclipse, the Earth lies directly between the sun and the moon, causing the Earth to cast its shadow on the moon. If Earth didn’t have an atmosphere, then, when the moon was entirely within Earth’s shadow, the moon would appear black and invisible. Thanks to Earth’s atmosphere, what actually happens is much more subtle and beautiful. Depending on the conditions of our atmosphere at the time of the eclipse (dust, humidity, temperature and so on can all make a difference), the surviving light will illuminate the moon with a color that ranges from copper-colored to deep red.”

From our readers: TG: Thank you for printing the letter from John Kerr in the last issue of the Roundtable regarding the city signage used for electric car charging spaces at the city lot on Central Street. I own an electric car and agree with your view that it “muddles rather than informs.” Last year when this lot was under construction I contacted a City official shortly after the two charging stations were installed. I expressed my concern over the vague nature of this exact signage since it was already in use at another location. Let’s face it; the 99.99% of drivers that don’t drive electric could easily decide this sign doesn’t apply to them. Unfortunately this confusing sign was used again. The result? Gas-engine vehicles fill those spot regularly, especially when the lot is busy. I came up with a simple layout that speaks to all drivers. NO PARKING in red is unambiguous, and the wording in the middle lets electric car drivers know it’s OK to pull in and charge up. Hopefully your publicizing this need for more clarity results in better signage. By the way, I have used those charging stations more than once myself. – Mr. Tracy Ahr

From TG: Thanks, Mr. Ahr. A sign like that would definitely cut the Gordian knot of ambiguities.

Dear TG: On Election Day, I noticed that there were Megan Goldish for judge signs on the parkway corners on Ridge starting around Greenleaf and continuing up to Lake and then I noticed the next day that there many more on corners on Asbury. I was under the impression that such signs (put up on the parkway but not on people’s property – where you are supposed to request permission) are not allowed. I saw an Evanston city truck taking many of them down on Wednesday.
So assuming they are not allowed (I don’t recall seeing signs for other candidates put up like that in my area: Asbury, Ridge, Oakton to Lake), how does our newly elected Judge Goldish explain this behavior? – Elliot Zashin

From TG: Thank you for you civic interest in well-conducted elections, Mr. Zashin. TG feels, though, that that is a question for Judge Goldish.

The Traffic Guy thinks …

… that even though the City did a good job with snow removal, it may be premature to ask for residents’ feedback from this endless winter – it’s only April.

…that TG is having somewhat of a Goldilocks moment. TG hears that some aldermen are saying the column is too “snarky” and some residents are complaining it has become “too soft.” TG feels a challenge coming on.