Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, left, and State Representative Robyn Gabel enjoy a chat on the parklet.Photo from City of Evanston

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… that, starting this week, crews will be working on Oak Avenue between Church and Clark, and on Clark between Ridge and Oak, replacing curbs, gutters, deteriorated concrete pavement and driveway aprons and doing “necessary incidental construction.” Accessible ramps will be built at the intersections, and a new porous concrete parking lane will be constructed on Oak. Clark will be closed to eastbound traffic and Oak will be closed to southbound traffic, but local traffic can get through. Drivers can use Church for eastbound access to downtown. Watch for and heed the “no parking” signs. The project is expected to be completed by the first week of October.

… that a couple of new places are in the works to help get Evanstonians more fit: Tier One Training on Davis Street and Goldfish Swim on Dempster, both “commercial indoor recreation areas” for zoning purposes. Goldfish Swim will offer classes in swimming, safety and survival skills to kids 4 months to 13 years. There will be a 25-yard-long pool with three lanes, and the place will be open daily.
… that another new Type 2 (fast-food) restaurant may be coming to downtown. This one is Blaze Pizza at 1737 Sherman Ave. Of 250 Blaze stores worldwide, two are in Chicago. They will offer an 11-inch thin-crust pizza that will be ready in less than eight minutes and cost less than $8. The notes of the City meetings where these matters are discussed always say that the fast-food owners and operators have been advised they must clean up trash within a 250-foot radius of the place. Would that this requirement were strictly enforced.

… that the property at 1413-15 Howard may become an all-residential building.
… that Evanston’s only – and some hope, first, – parklet opened in front of Hewn Bakery, 810 Dempster, last month. The owners of Hewn led the project, but the parklet is open for the public to enjoy.

… that the City will purchase a “tractor-drawn, rear-tiller-steered 100-foot aerial ladder truck from Pierce Manufacturing of Appleton, Wis. The cost will be $1,016,811.

… that snowy owls are around. Jane Colleton took this photo of one that visited her front porch on Wesley Avenue. Since it perched on a light, the photo looks more like the light than the owl, but thrilling none the less. Arctic owls come down to Chicago in the summer time, but this is the first sighting in Evanston that TG is aware of.

… that the Princeton Review seems to think that rancor between the Evanston and Northwestern University communities has lessened. The sometime sparring duo was dropped in the PR’s 2015 college rankings.
 … that, as most folks have likely surmised, July was cool. In fact, says State Climatologist Jim Angel, the statewide average temperature was 70.3 degrees, tying the record set in 2009 for the coolest July ever. The warmest July on record –
in Illinois, that is – was in 1936, when the average temperature was 82.8 degrees. Just a degree short of that was July of 2012, with an average temperature of 81.8 degrees. Dr. Angel notes, “In just six years, Illinoisans have experienced the second-warmest and twice the coldest, July on record.” He also says it is likely that, as more data arrive, this July will break the tie. And then there is precipitation. Statewide, July’s average was 3.4 inches, more than a half inch – 0.65, to be precise –
below average, Dr. Angel reports. “The wet June and cool July temperatures helped moderate the impact of this dry weather so far,” he says.

From our readers: TG: I’m no expert, but it sounds like Chicago and the FAA have hit on a way to spare the North Side some of the additional noise from the new east-west runway alignments at O’Hare. That is, give a bunch to Evanston. Seems there’s a constant stream of approaching aircraft making landfall above the Bahai Temple, descending along the Asbury/Western corridor, then banking west for final approach along the Thorndale/Bryn Mawr vector. This surprises, because if they overshoot the turn they’d quickly slide into the approach lanes used by landing aircraft coming straight-shot over Lake Michigan and headed for the other two runways. But what do I know? – John McCarron, Noise Street (formerly Noyes)
From TG: You are definitely right, Mr. McCarron, and when the publisher read your note aloud at the RT, everyone agreed that the noise here is louder and more frequent. You were not the first to contact the RT about this, though. Several weeks ago, Rhonda Present called to say that on one Sunday afternoon she counted 75 planes the entire bodies of which were visible from her home. She did some research and found some articles in Chicago papers about this. It seems that the FAA held hearings about the change in flight patterns in 2005 but not in the communities that would be most affected by the increased noise. Instead they were held in places where the noise from the newly configured runways – now straight, not diagonal – would either remain the same or be lessened: Elk Grove, Elmhurst and Niles. The FAA has defended its actions, saying that it held more hearings than were necessary. Some people west of O’Hare have won property tax appeals because of the diminished value to their homes from the added noise. Even though the hearings were held in 2005, the new flight patterns went into effect only last October. A June 9 article by Rosalind Rossi in the Chicago Sun-Times bears this headline: “Hearings on runway changes at O’Hare out of earshot of affected residents.”

TG: There are some articles in the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times on the new flight patterns at O’Hare and the accompanying noise.
Ann Limjoco in Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky’s office also sent some information, which she said she received from the Chicago Department of Aviation in response to your email. 1. When O’Hare is in West Flow, some arrivals fly over Evanston in order to get lined up for final approach. (By the way, I have observed this personally a couple of weeks ago when I was standing on Emerson Street on the Northwestern campus on a Sunday.) Yes, this situation of arrivals over Evanston will continue, as we expect West Flow to occur about 70% of the time over the course of the year. The arrivals over Evanston, however, will ebb and flow, depending on how many airplanes are trying to line up for O’Hare on any particular day and time. Typically, FAA air traffic controllers are utilizing three runways at the same time for daytime arrivals, and what the constituent observes in Evanston is a portion of the total daytime arrivals.
2. Evanston was within the area modeled for noise impacts. See Final EIS, Appendix F, page F-244 Exhibit 19.
3. For information about the OMP [O’Hare Modernization Project] scoping (i.e., the early public meetings), see Final EIS Appendix S Section I. For information about the OMP environmental analysis (i.e., the public hearings in February 2005), see Final EIS Appendix T Section T.4.
You can find Appendices F, S, and T and other information a -– Rhonda Present

From TG: Thanks, Ms. Present. Looks like this is something Evanstonians can mobilize over.
The Traffic Guy thinks …

… that, with the proposed new medical marijuana store on Maple, the folks at the Pot Shop on Dempster may be getting a lot of confusing – or confused – calls. And, since that name is taken, what will it be called?

… that the burger cook-off between the fire department and the police department – 4-6 p.m. on Aug. 30 on the top of the Church/Chicago Whole Foods garage – should be close, even though the fire department is the reigning champ: The firefighters know a lot about smoke and heat and the police officers know a lot about grilling.