The “eyesore” at Ridge and LincolnPhoto by Ann Lander

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… that it’s block party season. Those wishing to hold a block party should apply at cityofevanston.org at least 10 days before the party.

… that today is the RTA’s 10th annual “Dump the Pump” day and the penultimate day in the City’s Bike to Work Week. RTA, of course, is encouraging folks to hop on a train, while the City is promoting bicycle use. The RTA says research shows that in this area, “a two-person household can save on average more than $13,000 a year by downsizing to one car.” (TG thinks they meant a “two-car” household.) 

… that Chicagoland’s Bike to Work Week began last Friday with a the Bike Commuter Challenge sponsored by the Active Transportation Alliance, through which individuals or teams can log in their treks at bikecommuterchallenge.org. There were a couple of pit stops in Evanston this week: one on Monday morning with free coffee and bagels at Everyday Cycles & Motion, 941 Chicago Ave., and one on Tuesday afternoon in front of Jacobs Center Plaza, 2001 Sheridan Road. This evening, from 5:30-7:30, the World of Beer is hosting a Happy Hour, and tomorrow between 7:30-9 a.m., there will be a Pit Stop and Bike Rally in Fountain Square. There will be snacks and a bike/gear check provided by Wheel and Sprocket. Rotary International will be handing out reflective bike stickers to the first 50 bicyclists in honor of Rotary’s commitment to community service.  

… that the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center has designated Evanston a gold-level walk-friendly community. Walk Friendly Communities is a national program aimed at recognizing communities for their commitment to pedestrian safety. It is sponsored by the U. S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration and FedEx. The City received the recognition because, among other things, it has provided convenient options for getting around; maintains detailed inventories of sidewalks and curb ramps and tries to keep them repaired and up to ADA standards, and promotes healthier lifestyles in programs such as Women Out Walking.

… that the peregrine falcon chicks at the library were banded and named earlier this month: Shomigomy, after an imaginary creature conceived by two young students; Xemxija for a town in Malta noted for its falcons; Dee Dee in honor of retiring Library Board member Diane Allen; and Gigi in memory of Gay Catherine “Gigi” Galich, a beloved children’s librarian who was killed in a traffic accident last July.  

… that a day-care center, Little Green Tree House, may come to 2812-14 Central St.

… that the City will purchase one new bus and lease three new vehicles: a passenger bus from Midwest Transit Equipment Inc. of Kankakee for $98,000 (replacing a bus in “poor” condition) and three electric Nissan Leafs from Autobarn for about $27,000 (replacing a Crown Vic and a Dodge Charger, both in “very poor” condition). The bus will have a wheel-chair lift and two wheel-chair positions. It will use B-20 bio-diesel and will be equipped with a “Selective Catalytic Reduction” emissions system, which, the City says, minimizes heavy particulate matter and results in only nitrogen and water vapor exhaust with no carbon monoxide.

… that Golfzilla is back at Canal Shores. The giant inflatable is part of a marketing gimmick for the company that is holding golf camps there, along the North Shore Channel in Evanston and Wilmette.

… … that the folks at 311 are now on Facebook and Twitter. To post a question or submit a request on these platforms, community members should “Like” City of Evanston 311 Center on Facebook and/or follow @Evanston311 on Twitter. Your tax dollars at work – TG is just the messenger.

From our readers:
TG: This is an eyesore. YEA ought to have a go at beautifying this mess. I have to see this every day. Also how about the CTA’s painting that rusty hulking bridge?
– Ann Lander

From TG: TG agrees with you that the CTA needs to improve its viaducts – not just the unsightly one at Ridge and Lincoln that you note but also the crumbling ones at Davis. Wouldn’t hurt for Metra to get into the act as well. These bridges/viaducts could be scrubbed and scoured and lightened up.

TG: If you travel to or from Evanston by CTA, you may have heard about the pilot program CTA is conducting to determine the feasibility of night express service on the Purple Line train during the week.
The pilot will continue through July 10. A single round trip of the Purple Line will run, leaving from Linden at 7:58 p.m. to downtown, leaving Adams/Wabash at 8:54 p.m., and returning to Linden at 9:50 p.m.  It will make all the usual Purple Line stops, and yes, run express between Howard and Belmont.
Get counted.
Mark your calendars for June 25.
That’s the day when the exact count will be conducted at the Howard Street station. 468 riders are needed in order to maintain Purple Line express service. That’s 39 riders in each of the 6 cars, each way.
Here are some suggestions for participating in this pilot.
One, go downtown and visit the Art
Institute.  It’s free for Illinois residents from 5-8 p.m. on Thursdays. That gives you a half-hour or so to stroll through
Millennium Park and catch the Purple Line at Adams/Wabash at 8:54 p.m.
Or, get on the train in Evanston, get counted at Howard Street and ride to Belmont. Get off at Belmont where entertainment will be provided for about a half-hour until you get back on at Belmont and get counted again at Howard.
While June 25 is the official count, the number of riders who swipe their Ventra cards on other days for the Purple Line pilot run will also be counted.
Bear in mind what it feels like in January when you are standing on the Howard Street platform wondering when a Purple Line train might show up. 
I took the Purple Line pilot last night from Adams/Wabash and got to Dempster Street in exactly 45 minutes. No waiting
at Howard.
Please spread the word.
You can check it out at the city of Evanston’s website under “news.”
Thank you.
– Dorothy Dare

The Traffic Guy thinks …
… that public parking spots are trickling into private hands. The many “residents only” spots are increasing in scope and number. It’s already difficult to park near many of the beaches and several restaurants, and now the City has allocated 45 spots near South Boulevard Beach as “residents only.” The City is already leasing spaces in two public garages to private developers for their residents, and now NU is asking to lease 100 spaces in the Chicago/Church/Clark garage.

… that when folks park on both sides of the street, cars often have difficulty getting through. While it does slow traffic down, it also makes it harder to see pedestrians, soccer balls and kids darting around the parked cars.

… that summer is a great time to get back into the biking spirit. Perhaps everyone took the bike quiz last month and learned about proper biking – something that has not yet caught on in all parts of Evanston. Folks can also check out BikeEvanston.org to see a map of bike routes and review bike safety tips and the like. But getting out of the car and onto a bike to commute or do one’s errands and improve health, save some money, and help protect our fragile Mother Earth.