The new parklet: pedestrian-friendly or “car-unfriendly”?Photo by Mary Mumbrue

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… that the City’s Utilities Department, which is repairing the drainage structures on Green Bay between McCormick and Central, says it expects to have the project completed by tomorrow, Oct. 10.

… that some folks are upset by the destruction of trees and front lawns for the installation of the new sidewalk between Greenleaf and Dempster on the west side of Pitner, Seems there are no sidewalks there, so the yards of the residents there will be cut in half. Of course, that is City property anyway, just used for decades as lawns. Also, quite a few mature trees will be felled. The City says the work should be completed by the last week of October. In the meantime, residents and other would-be parkers should watch for the temporary “No Parking” signs that will be posted 48 hours prior to the start of work. Evening and nighttime parking may be available on Pitner from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m. Street sweeping and/or neighborhood parking restrictions will be waived for a one-block radius around the construction zone when temporary daytime “No Parking” is in effect. Residents are asked to identify and flag sprinkler systems. The contractor is Schroeder & Schroeder Inc. of Skokie, but the City is monitoring the project. Questions and concerns should be called in to Resident Engineer Jhun Enerio, 847-448-8157.

… that the City anticipates the renovation of the lagoon at Dawes Park, to be named the Arrington Lagoon, will be completed at the end of this month.

… that, speaking of repairs and such, the City has contracted with A. Lamp Concrete Contractors of  Schaumburg for street repairs to these street segments: Madison  from Chicago to Custer; Washington from Dodge to Dewey; Darrow from Greenleaf to Crain; Hartrey from Greenwood to Lake; Grove from the West End to Asbury and Thayer from Princeton to Crawford. This project, expected to be completed by the end of October, involves curb replacement as needed, roadway base repair, replacement of asphalt surface from curb to curb along with selected sidewalk replacement and driveway aprons. Accessible ramps will be built at the intersections.  Residents and other would-be parkers should watch for the temporary “No Parking” signs that will be posted 48 hours prior to the start of work. Evening and nighttime parking – 5 p.m. to 7 a.m. – will be available at all times. Street sweeping and/or neighborhood parking restrictions will be waived for a one-block radius around the construction zone when temporary daytime “No Parking” is in effect. Questions and concerns should be called in to Resident Engineer Christopher Welch at 773-615-5927.

… that Evanston has been ranked #31 by Computer Science Degree Hub in the top 50 American cities in which to study computers and technology. The article accompanying the ranking, “50 Great Cities for Studying Computers and Technology” by Albert Fontenot, said, “Usually, it is the local colleges or universities that will drive the local tech community, based upon that school’s research dollars and facilities, combined with the student and graduate talent pool. Most high-ranking schools
foster a spirit of local innovation and entrepreneurship.”

From our readers:
TGThe other day I was driving east on Dempster, just west of the Metra and CTA tracks, when I saw what looked like a grounded roll-off Dumpster full of plant debris and some other stuff. I was told later that it is a “parklet.” What’s that? And why, in an already congested area, is it taking up two parking spots? Are there more to come? Is this more car-unfriendly nonsense? Think State Street mall. What’s going on here? Show us the way, TG. – Al Peterson

From TG: TG thinks that you are referring to the parklet in front of Hewn Bakery, 810 Dempster, Mr. Peterson. Julie Matthei and Ellen King, the owners of Hewn, conceived of the idea and, with the help of a Kickstarter campaign, raised $14,000 for the project. That amount represented 85% of the cost, and the owners chipped in the remainder. The parklet is made of reclaimed wood and corrugated tin. The “plant debris” you mention is rooted in wooden containers, and the parklet is wheelchair accessible. That answers, TG hopes, one of your questions. The answer to another of your questions, whether there will be more parklets around town, is “probably yes.” The developer of the property at 1571 Maple has requested relief from several zoning requirements so he can construct an eight-story apartment complex there. One of the public benefits he promises in return, should his requests be approved by City Council, is that he “will construct or cause to be constructed two parklet-type parks on its property’s Maple Avenue frontage for public enjoyment.” It is not clear whether those parklets would take up any public parking spaces.  As to your third question, whether this is “more car-unfriendly nonsense,” TG would suggest that nonsense, like so many other things in this world, is in the eye of the mind. Yes, the parklet does take up a parking space, albeit a short-term one. Some might suggest it makes Dempster more pedestrian-friendly, and others might see the vacating of the parking space as “car-unfriendly.”

TG:  I have a question regarding right-of-way going east on Grant Street when you are passing parked cars. My wife and I have a disagreement on which car has the right of way if you come upon westbound traffic and you are traveling east. — David Livingston

From TG: TG confronts this very problem – though not on Grant – on almost a daily basis and believes that there are no rules for this. The situation is created by Evanston’s relatively narrow streets and larger cars, coupled with the fact that many do not have, or do not use, garages. So double-sided parking can pose a challenge in many residential areas.  TG has observed the following: Many drivers are courteous enough to wait for the other driver to pass. Others – drivers who believe they made it first to the line of cars, or who are in a bigger hurry or who are just plain more important – will generally plow ahead or begin a game of Chicken, forcing the other driver, who may have already begun the gauntlet, to cringe at a standstill or inch forward very near the mirrors and doors of the parked cars. Maybe readers will suggest something.
TG would suggest that on east-west streets, the driver who is likely to have the sun in his/her eyes should have the right-of-way. Otherwise there are lots of options for folks to make up their own protocols, such as 1) allowing the right-of-way to eastbound and southbound cars at all times; 2) allowing the right-of-way to eastbound and southbound cars on odd-numbered days (or in months that have an “r” in them); 3) asking drivers to disembark and play three rounds of “Rocks, Scissors, Paper” to see who goes first. In this, the People’s Republic of Evanston, one can be sure that someone will craft a local law. Meanwhile, TG would always encourage the first option, the one you hinted at: Be courteous.

And on the subject of Grant Street: TGI thought you might enjoy sharing this photo [above center] I took at 7:30 a.m. on Grant Street looking east near Perkins Woods. – Joan Anundson-Ahr

TG has received other letters and will print them as soon as the RoundTable receives responses from the City.

The Traffic Guy thinks …
…that, even though the upcoming election is not a presidential election, everyone who can vote should do so. TG quotes the late George Jean Nathan, drama critic, writer and editor and co founder of “The American Mercury” and “The American Spectator:” “Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote.”

… that folks in North America will be able to see a partial eclipse of the sun on Oct. 23 – eye protection mandatory.  Speaking of skywatching, hope everyone got to the yesterday’s early-morning lunar eclipse and last night’s blood moon (the Hunter’s Moon and the Autumn Moon) rising.