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… that the early February blizzard that brought 20 inches of snow to the City piled up snow-sand-and-ice dunes along the lakefront. There were ice-covered ridges and even an arch carved out of the icy snow. In the flatter, wind-swept part of the beach, a couple of RoundTable photographers got caught in what seemed like icy quicksand, sinking down to their knees. And a fun time was had by all.
… Speaking of the blizzard, on Feb. 2 most everyone could park free. The two downtown garages were free, so residents could get their cars off the streets and plows could do their work. And most parking meters were out of reach.
… that not everyone took advantage of that free parking, and on Feb. 2, the first day of tow-and-relocate for vehicles parked on residential streets during the day, the police towed and relocated 186 vehicles – and another 21 were towed during overnight cleanup. A few days later, the City decided to ticket property owners whose walks had not been cleared. The City says it gave a 24-hour notice before sending crews to clear the sidewalks.
A notice was hung on the door of each offending property, the City said, giving 24 hours to clear the sidewalks. The City said 24 properties received tickets for not shoveling sidewalks, and the property owners will be billed on average $190 per property. About 110 residents have called the City asking for volunteer shoveling assistance, the City said.
… that the City has approved this year’s refuse-disposal fees to the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County (SWANCC): “not to exceed amounts of $60,000 for capital costs, $800,000 for operations and maintenance and $20,000 in recycling transfer fees.” Since recycling has increased in the community, SWANCC has received lower volumes of garbage from Evanston.
… that FEW Spirits will be allowed to sell small amounts of its product – internationally popular whisky – for consumption on site by those over 21, of course. The City will regulate the hours of sale and the amounts that can be sold or offered as tastes. Speaking of alcohol and such, the Library is offering a tour of Temperance Brewery on Sunday. My, my. Times have changed since the founding of Evanston.
… that the City will start to post notices 48 hours in advance when temporary no-parking/tow zones are set up. The City will also tow vehicles that are blocking fire hydrants. No prior notice is required – it’s a matter of common sense and common decency.
… that parking will be limited to two hours at a time, except Sundays and national holidays, on both sides of Hinman from Lake to Clark and on both sides of Church from Hinman to Judson. Seems that residents are being crowded out of their on-street parking by employees and patrons of the downtown business district.
… that Andy’s Frozen Custard has come up with the Jay Lytle Jackhammer, honoring the former mayor, former alderman and founder of First Bank & Trust, who retired from the bank at the end of last year. Here’s the scoop: Andy’s vanilla frozen custard with fresh strawberries, pretzels and peanut butter inserted into the center of the treat – available only at Andy’s on Church Street and only this month. We await the T.G. Jackhammer (see illustration at right) and wonders what would be in it. In keeping with the RoundTable’s search for truth and the finest chocolate, TG envisions:
Opulent chocolate ice cream
and candy Pearls
… and we’re just kidding, of course!
… that State Climatologist Jim Angel reports that January in Illinois was “slightly cooler and drier than average.” In the moisture category, February may have had
January beaten by Day 2. Speaking of 2/2, groundhogs in Evanston probably would not have been able to climb out of their holes to be chased by their shadows on that day. But, back to Dr. Angel, who reports that this past January was the 53rd coldest, compared to last January, which was the 16th coldest on record. Average precipitation for last month was 1.53 inches, “0.5 inches below average. Because of dry weather in November, December, and January, the U.S. Drought Monitor listed northern and western Illinois as abnormally dry.”
… that, through Aug. 31, Nicor Gas will replace gas mains in south central Evanston – in the area bordered by Main, Asbury, Oakton and Dodge. The subcontractors are United Meters Inc. and NPL Construction. NPL will begin to install the new gas mains and services on April 6. The project will involve replacing approximately 22,000 feet of old, low-pressure cast iron gas main with new, high-pressure plastic pipe gas main, and replacing 500 gas service lines, including new gas meters and regulators, according to the City. “While work is in progress, excavations will be brought up and maintained level with the existing parkway and street surface. Permanent landscaping and pavement restoration will be completed on a continuous basis until the end of the project,” the City says. Dan Kellogg is Nicor’s project supervisor:
From our readers: My wife and I have a disagreement that perhaps you can help us resolve. In our neighborhood for blocks in every direction, after a big snow, neighbors diligently clear all the sidewalks in front of their houses. Then, the City uses heavy equipment to pile mountains of snow at the crosswalks, obstructing the street crossing. Some people think government is too intrusive in our lives these days, but I think this imposed exercise program is great. It forces people to learn mountain-climbing skills that they wouldn’t otherwise learn here in the flatlands. However, my wife points out that people without mountain-climbing gear are discouraged from walking, and that the elderly and people with strollers find it impossible to get past these mountains. She also points out that students of all ages are forced to walk in the streets among the cars that are sliding around, and that this is somehow a bad thing. I think that dodging out-of-control cars promotes the development of important urban coping skills, at least among the survivors. The piles of snow are really only four or five feet high, so I don’t see what the big deal is. What do you think? The public works department seems willing to come out and remove these piles of snow when I call 311, though three phone calls have done nothing so far this time around. It seems like the heavy equipment operators could just be directed to put the snow a little farther down the parkway in the first place, as a general policy, rather than making extra work for themselves. Just as they wouldn’t pile snow in a resident’s driveway or at the end of an alley, piling it on the crosswalks is problematic.
– Sincerely, Kermit John (say it fast) Moran.
From TG: Following the example – but lacking the wisdom – of Solomon, TG can see that you are both right: The City is creating mandatory winter exercise and imposing a dangerous skill-building program on students. It is throwing blockades in the paths of those in wheelchairs or with canes, strollers or walkers, and it is making more work for City crews, who have to move the piles of snow they left behind. Cautious parents and other concerned folks have allowed car-dodging skills to lapse, but your wife is surely correct that acquiring such skills is perilous. Further, most residents do not have access to mountain-climbing equipment – and many may not even have Yak Trax, which are essentially chains for the shoes – and the issue of making poles, ropes and axes available to all may not be addressed until the next round of budget hearings.
The question of what to do with that snow is a thorny one. Of course, depositing it away from the corner does have its appeal, because then everyone can get through the crosswalk. But putting it in one mound in the middle of a block also poses problems, particularly for those in wheelchairs or with strollers or walkers who need to have access to the street from mid-block and who carefully clear the carriage walk from the sidewalk to the street. There may have to be block-by-block lotteries as to whose parking space gets the snow-pile.
TG: Below is a picture of signs at the north end of Sheridan Road by Northwestern University, where the lanes go down from four to three. Thanks, Evanston.
And by the way, why hasn’t this section of Sheridan been repaired? It is in the worst condition of any road I regularly have to drive on. – David Sanders
From TG: Guess the right lane doesn’t know what the left lane is doing. On a more hopeful note, orange signs indicate only temporary situations.
The Traffic Guy thinks …
… that everyone should vote for Evanston in the World Wildlife Fund Earth Hour contest. Evanston is competing with Cleveland and Seattle to represent the U.S. – and then there are communities from 40 other countries. At any rate, fans and residents can visit weloveevanston.org to vote and provide feedback on ways Evanston can become more sustainable; follow and tweet @greenevanston using the hashtag #WeLoveEvanston; following and tagging @cityofevanston on Instagram to share photos of favorite Evanston places, coming up with “green ideas,” and more using the hashtag #WeLoveEvanston and spreading the word with daily emails by updating their email signature with the We Love Evanston. Voting on the website is limited to once per person, per day, per city. However, multiple submissions are possible via public Twitter and Instagram.
… kudos to the City’s streets and sanitation workers, who cleared the streets and kept the City moving despite a snowfall of 20+ inches.