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The Traffic Guy hears …

… that there is a new pedestrian sign at Main and Florence, just outside the Washington School and Robert Crown play areas. Instead of one in the middle of the street, there is one on each side of Main, with a button to activate lights around the yellow pedestrian sign mounted on a 6-foot or so pole. The whole thing is solar-powered.

… that construction season continues. Here is some info about crews around town: The Davis Street Improvement project in downtown Evanston is expected to be completed by Aug. 11. It includes the protected bike lane similar to the one on Church – this one from Ridge to Hinman. Folks are asked to heed the temporary “No Parking” signs and to park legally. The City says that when there is a temporary parking ban, “street sweeping and neighborhood parking restrictions will be waived for a one-block radius around the construction zone.” The contractor, Chicagoland Paving Contractors Inc., of Lake Zurich is, according to the City, “contractually responsible for the means and methods of the work.” The City’s Infrastructure & Engineering Division monitors the project. Anyone with questions or concerns about this project can contact Senior Project Manager Rajeev Dahal at 311 (847-448-4311 outside Evanston). General questions about the street improvement project should be directed to Sat Nagar, City Engineer, at 311, as well.

Just south of this project, on Sherman between Lake and Grove, the street improvements will involve replacing existing brick pavers with concrete and a brick border; replacing the existing curb and gutter, repairing the road base, grinding the existing asphalt pavement, repaving the street with new asphalt and reconstructing deteriorated utility structures. Traffic will continue on Sherman; crews will notify businesses of upcoming driveway closures; and pedestrians will have access to the businesses there. The same parking considerations as above will apply, and the same City engineers will answer questions.

… that Nicor will continue to install new meters and replace gas service in two areas, one bordered by Dodge, Lyons, Green Bay and Payne, and a second bordered by Dodge, Mulford, Ridge and Oakton. After the new gas services are installed, United Meters Inc. will begin scheduling the installation of new gas meters. New gas meters will be installed outside residences and old gas meters inside will be removed, but appointments are necessary. Folks who need an appointment but who have not yet been contacted may call United Meters at 800-603-8964. For the most part, construction hours will be 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday-Thursday. The Nicor project supervisor is Dan Kellogg, dkellog@aglresources.com, 630-816-5645; for the City the contact person is Pelayo Enerio (Jhun), 847-448-4311.

… that Ryan Field is slated to receive a new primary scoreboard with a larger LED video screen and a replacement “ribbon” board in the south end zone and behind the north end-zone. City Council approved these on July 28 so NU can have everything done by Aug. 20, the date of the home opener against University of California.

… that renovations to the Arrington Lakefront Lagoon have continued despite heavy rains in June and early July. So far, crews have demolished parts of the lagoon frame, installed basin piping, excavated the site, sub-graded it, installed some of the pavement base and reconstructed part of the waterfall masonry and several other tasks. The City says it expects the project to be completed by mid-October 2014.

… that the Evanston Public Library debuted its new Book Bike at the lakefront on July 16, with book checkouts and library cards available. The Evanston Bicycle Club and Benjamin Schapiro, a longtime member of the Club and an Evanston Public Library trustee, donated the bike. Mr. Schapiro said of the book bike, “If you want to reach reluctant [users] or non-users of the library, you need to bring the library to a place where people can trip right over it. The Book Bike meets that requirement.” Folks can expect to see the book bike at fairs, festivals, parks, community centers and other places around town.

…that the City is inviting community members to provide feedback about public transportation in and around Evanston by taking a survey at surveymonkey.com/s/evanstontransitpool, or by calling 311 (847- 448-4311 outside of Evanston). TG would be interested in knowing the survey results.

From our readers: TG: [Regarding where bicycling is permitted] I am amazed that you didn’t check the Evanston code yourselves. Really, TG, you are better
than that.                            – Jo Ann Budde

From TG: Thanks for the back-handed compliment, Ms. Budde. TG did read the City Code, as well as the addenda that had not been incorporated, and, because of the contradiction, referred the matter to the Corporation Counsel, who did not respond. TG also notes that you forwarded a note from the alderman whose website TG consulted, and that website has been corrected.

TG: Don’t know where else to send this. I overheard what I felt was a quintessential Evanston quote in Andy’s Frozen Custard. A woman was talking to her friend and sadly admitted, “You know,
I want to love kale, but I just can’t.” 

                                           – Matt Simonette

From TG: Thanks, Mr. Simonette. TG encourages others to send to the RT things “heard in Evanston” or “heard aRound Town.”

TG: It would appear that neither Evanston, Skokie, the MWRD or the Vineyard Church cares about the gang signs that adorn an apparently abandoned building in the church parking lot. I was hopeful that you would be able, with your multiple connections throughout the area, to get this matter resolved.

It completely amazes me that nothing can be done about that, or the aggressive panhandling and traffic hazard engendered by panhandlers at the intersection of Howard and McCormick going west. At the same time, a Skokie policeman stations himself at the Shell Station kitty-corner for the purpose of catching drivers who violate the “no turn on red” sign. I think this is the same cop who gave me a seat- belt ticket many years ago, so at least the City of Skokie is partially enforcing the law. Perhaps they could consider giving one of the panhandlers the job of painting over the gang signs, and whoever owns the property could pay for it. Best regards and keep up the good work with your paper.

                                                – Bill Graham

From TG: Thank you for your letter, Mr. Graham. You are right about the
Howard/McCormick intersection’s being in Skokie; Evanston begins east of the
canal. A RoundTable reporter spoke recently with a representative of Vineyard, who provided some information about the shed. The shortest and best news is that it has been removed. Vineyard rents the parking lot from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, and apparently a nearby radio station also rents land from MWRD. The radio station thought it was going to be evicted and put the storage shed on the lot for some of their equipment. Apparently they did not lose their lease, and the shed was likely removed by the station.

Keep us posted on other eyesores – you and other readers as well.

The Traffic Guy thinks …

… that Evanston really does need a nickname – not a brag name like “the most livable City in America” but a fun nickname like other cities have – Charm City, Queen City, Bay City, Windy City, Toddlin’ Town, Big Apple. Maybe the Beacon City – that could incorporate our aspirations to be a model for sustainability, education and more.

… hope everyone can enjoy the Lakeshore Arts Festival, the rest of the Starlight Concerts, the Duck Pluck (relocated to Lovelace Park lagoon), movies in the parks, Thursday night dancing, Shakespeare in the Park and on the Ridge and  other free outside fun – all hallmarks of a great Evanston summer.