… that the Downtown Farmers’ Market opens for the season at 7:30 a.m. Saturday morning.

… that the City and contractor Kenny Construction will be rehabilitating the combined sewer on Central Park between Park and Simpson/Golf between now and July 18. Residents should watch out for temporary “No Parking” signs. A low-interest loan from the IEPA rather than a hike in sewer rates will fund the $1.4 million project, according to the City. The rehab work will include the usual cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) liner inside the existing sewer main. The City adds its usual monitory language about styrene: “The resins used in the lining process are the same resins that have been used in the fiberglass industry for many years, and contain a chemical called styrene that hardens when heated. Although styrene is not a pleasant odor, it is not dangerous at the levels at which people can detect it. Residents are advised to not be alarmed if they smell the chemical while the contractor’s personnel are working in their area. The odor can be prevented from entering buildings by pouring a gallon of water into each basement floor drain regularly.”  The project will be monitored and inspected by the City’s Utilities Department; questions should go to Mark Steinbuck, Sewer Division Supervisor, 847-448-8198.

… that, up in the same area, Nicor Gas and its subcontractors, United Meters Inc.  and NPL Construction, are currently working to replace 700 feet of old low-pressure gas mains and 20 service lines, including installing new meters and regulators, on Woodland Road (between Bennett and Ewing avenues). Work hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mon.-Thurs. “with some construction time on Fridays.” Completion date is projected as May 31. Keep an eye out for flaggers and for parking restrictions.

… that phase 2 of ComEd’s underground cable/utilities installation is under way. Through May 16, ComEd contractor trucks will entirely block off the westbound lane of Grove between Ridge and Oak, and parking will be prohibited on the south side of Grove between Ridge and Oak. Work will take place 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. weekdays. Contacts for ComEd are Brandon Bauer, senior project manager, 847-980-5567 or ComEd 24-hour emergency number: 1-800-Edison1 (1-800-334-7661). For the City the contact person is Pelayo Enerio Jr. (Jhun), 847-448-4311.

… that there were about 80 uses of the City’s newest electric car charging station – in the Maple Avenue garage – during its first month of service, according to the City. This is a CT4000 ChargePoint Charging Station, which, the City says, “is the latest generation station with a cord retraction system so drivers don’t have to touch charging cables. One vehicle can be charged at each of the station’s two ports at the same time, and there is no charge to use the station beyond the normal parking fees.” The cost of installation was about $12,000. The City counts 24 electric vehicles registered in Evanston, and they have a choice of eight charging stations: two at the Maple Avenue garage, two at Parking Lot 4 (Central at Stewart) and one at Parking Lot 3 (near the Library). So electric-vehicle owners in Evanston have a 3-1 parking spot ratio. What’s the ratio for the gasoline-powered vehicle owners?

… that, again this year, Open Kitchens Inc. of Chicago will have the contract for the summer food service program, which provides a cold lunch in some City parks to income-eligible kids.

… that the City will extend its contract with Denler Inc. of Mokena for crack-sealing on some City streets. Every three to five years after a street has been resurfaced, the burgeoning cracks need to be sealed to prevent moisture and salt from seeping into the base and forming you-know-what. A partnership of 10 municipalities, headed by Glenview and of which Evanston is one, was able to get what the City apparently considers a pretty good price for the sealant: $1.22 per pound. Here are the street segments slated for crack-sealing this summer: Custer from Howard to Oakton; Central Park from Central to Isabella; Sheridan from South to Main; Hinman from Lake to Dempster; McCormick from Emerson to Green Bay; Church from Ridge to Chicago; Forest from Davis to Main. “Secondary locations” – which TG takes to be runners-up or if-there-are-leftovers – are Fowler from Church to Dempster and Isabella from Ridge to Ashland.

… that the City will contract with Landscape Concepts Management Inc. of Chicago to “install rodent abatement and replacement plantings for the 14 planter beds in the City’s right-of-way adjacent to Sherman Plaza.” TG is very happy about this, having heard from a shopper in the area that she saw a rat rooting around in one of those planters. Perhaps knowing about the rats and the abatement will discourage folks from pouring out coffee and tea dregs and throwing debris there.

… that Movoto Real Estate has determined that Evanston is the most exciting place in Illinois. In order from 2 to 10, here are the next-exciting places Movoto found in the Land of Lincoln: Woodstock, Rock Island, Chicago, St. Charles, Carbondale, Champaign, Edwardsville, Bloomington and Downers Grove.

… that Christopher B. Burke Engineering Ltd. of Rosemont will have the contract for the “Sheridan Road-Chicago Avenue Alternative Analysis.” This improvement project will, according to the City, “improve the traffic flow throughout the corridor for all modes of traffic … improve the streets’ pavement condition and … provide additional sustainable surface storm-water management techniques.” The project begins at Chicago/Grove and ends at Sheridan/Isabella. The first stage, the City says, “will begin with an alternative analysis of Sheridan Road and Chicago Avenue for improved biking, pedestrian, vehicular and transit operations. This stage will include traffic, accidents and intersection analysis, surveying, geotechnical investigation, public outreach, best practices for sustainable storm-water management and development of the best alternate plans for automobiles, bicycles and pedestrian flow along the corridors.” If all goes well, the project will be completed next year.

… that St. Mary’s church on Lake is getting a new roof. Ellen Galland snapped this photo (right) from the Merrick Rose Garden, across the street.

… that the Arrington Lagoon renovation project requires the City to purchase “replacement ice rink, stage and donor sign lighting materials.” And the $26,000 contract goes to Steiner Electric of Elk Grove Village.

… that A. Lamp Concrete Contractors will replace water mains and resurface the following street segments: Bennett from Elgin Road to Simpson; Davis from Wesley to Asbury Avenue; Lake from Judson to Sheridan; Prairie from Grant to Lincoln Street; Ridge Court from Ridge to Sherman; and Woodland Road from Ewing to Bennett. The project will also include new sidewalks and will establish parking on the east side of Oak between Davis and Church. The company is also embarking on a massive pothole repair project. New potholes can be reported by calling 311.

… that the ICE (Innovative, Coordination and Enhancement) program of the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) funded the installation of bicycle parking facilities at various CTA and Metra lines, including the Red Line station at Howard.

… that the City will receive its annual update of the Cook County Assessor’s database and other Geographic Information Systems data, “such as parcels, digital photographs of properties and aerial photography,” to augment its own GIS database. 

… that the City has amended parking hours on Howard and on Custer to prevent parking-space poachers from Chicago coming over during Evanston’s “free” hours – Chicago’s parking meters are 8 a.m. – 10 p.m. and Evanston’s are generally 9 a.m. –
6 p.m. So now Custer and the Evanston side of Howard will have parking meters operating from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., with a two-hour limit until 5 p.m. and up to four hours from 5 to 9 p.m. While these meters will have Evanston hours, they will have Chicago rates of $.75 per hour, not the downtown Evanston rates of $1 per hour. 

… speaking of parking, TG hears that Residential Exemption Parking District B now includes both sides of Greenwood Street from Hinman to Forest. Previously, and erroneously, the north and the south sides of those blocks had been assigned to different parking districts, causing some consternation among residents who were scrambling for places to park during street-cleaning hours.

… that the City has a postcard to mail to new Evanston residents, advising them of downtown dining and shopping and refuse collections and warning them about parking restrictions.

… that, speaking of the City, the Fleet Services Division received honorable mention in “Governing Magazine” as one of the top public fleets in North America. It has 360 motorized units, including police vehicles, fire apparatuses, public works and forestry trucks and equipment and utility vehicles. In its application to the magazine, the City highlighted its advanced fleet management information system; responsible waste stream, including its recycling of oil, anti-freeze and other fluids; and its use of alternative fuels, such as biodiesel.

… that the City is looking to update its policy on newspaper boxes located in rights-of-way.
The Traffic Guy thinks …
… that everyone who can should help out with ETHS’s next Community Build Day, this coming Saturday.

… that folks should keep their eyes and ears open regarding the possible new water tank. RT readers may recall that NU wants the City to build a new tank at a cost of $26 million – and the Mayor has said it is necessary. Two studies have said that a $4 million roof replacement is all that is needed. Yet, the City persists in wanting to cater to NU: It has commissioned a third study, presumably to try to show that the new tank, rather than the new roof, is what is needed.