… that residents and City officials rode the rails last Thursday night when the CTA was doing a major head count of folks using the pilot late-evening Purple Line trains. In a way it’s like stuffing the ballot box, but CTA advertised it as a big count night …

… that, through July 17, ComEd crews and contractors will work at the manhole located on Maple south of Foster and north of Garrett, as a part of system improvements to provide additional electrical sources for northeast Evanston. Construction work will take place 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. weekdays.

… that the City is applying for a low-interest loan from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. Of course, IEPA wishes to review the project first, and, if IEPA approves the loan, some of those fees will be added to the loan amount.
One of the priorities is to address “the single point of failure” in the flash-mix basin – where chemicals are mixed with raw lake water to begin the treatment process. That “point of failure” is that there is no “redundancy (backup), the flash-mix basin is undersized and the bypass pipe there can feed water to only two of the four settling basins, which limits treatment capacity to 65 million gallons per day (mgd) when the flash mix basin is taken out of service for repair. The modifications will help the plant achieve its full capacity of 108 mgd. There will also be repairs and improvements to some of the valves – something that must be done “prior to beginning the replacement of the water storage tank under the Northwestern University parking lot,” according to a staff memo. Hmmm…. Has construction of the new tank in fact been approved by Council? TG has heard rumblings that NU wants the new tank built on the City’s payroll and that there have been a few studies on this, one of which suggests that that tank needs only a $6 million new cover, not a $27 million replacement.

… that, speaking of the Utilities Department, a crew was out on Florence a couple of weeks ago, tracing down and repairing a water leak. As a crowd gathered to look at the pit, the crew members explained what they were looking at: The pipe that appears almost surrounded by water is the leaky pipe. Perpendicular to it, at the bottom of the photo, is an old water pipe. The yellow pipe, perpendicular to the leaky pipe (and parallel to the old one) is a gas main. The smaller, steel blue pipe carries electricity. The wires that are taped and appear to be hanging down are old wires that once connected to the nearby street lights.

… that the City will contract with Water Resources, Inc. of Elgin for the purchase of more residential water meters – for $70,000 total – to replace damaged and inoperable water meters or to be used at new development sites.

… that Sheridan Plumbing & Sewer of Bedford Park will get a contract for $315,000 for rehabbing about 400 feet of a 24-inch-diameter water main at Pitner between Greenleaf and Nathaniel. The company will use a cured-in-place pipe liner. According to the City, the 57-year old pipe is in pretty good condition, but “the soils in this area are corrosive,” so the bolts at the joints – placed about 20 feet apart – are “significantly” deteriorating. The new lining will eliminate the joints and end the leaks, the City says.

… that one of the first announcements from Northwestern’s new community liaison director Alan Anderson is that the path along the lakefill will be closed until almost year-end during construction of some more athletic fields there. The paths around the music building and Norris will remain open, according to the announcement.

… that the City will purchase an EMT unit for the Fire Department from Foster Coach Sales of Sterling, Ill., ($262,000) and, from Currie Motors of Frankfort, a heavy-duty truck for the Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department ($25,000).

… that the City will agree with Siemens Building Technologies of Mount Prospect on a contract for $26,000 for the building automation system (BAS) at police headquarters/911 center. Siemens also provides BAS annual maintenance and service for other City buildings, notably Fleetwood-Jourdain Center, Levy Senior Center, Chandler-Newberger Center, Morton Civic Center, the Municipal Service Center, Fire Station #3 and #5 and Robert Crown Center.

… that the City will pay Johnson Paving of Arlington Heights $150,000 for pavement patching. This agreement is part of a contract negotiated through the Municipal Partnering Initiative, a collection of 18 municipal governments and agencies from North Shore and Northwest Suburban areas that solicit bids in hopes of securing better prices because of the volume. Last year’s price was $25.50 per foot and about 10,000 square yards of street were repaired. This year’s cost is $22.25, so more streets can be patched up.

… that Kovilic Construction Co. Inc. of Franklin Park will repair the Church Street boat ramp for about $600,000. Here’s what’s entailed in the repair: extension and repair of the existing ramp, including a new floating dock for use during launch and retrieval efforts; modification of the existing catwalk to eliminate the deteriorated steel decking and installation of a secondary temporary docking system for staff boats; replacement of the existing railing system, installation of a protective aggregate overlay to the concrete deck and installation of bench seating; and modification of the existing pier to eliminate the steel decking, rub strakes and ladders and installation of barricade fencing on the pier abutment.

… that the City will tack on $140,000 to the contract of A. Lamp Concrete Contractors Inc. of Schaumburg to construct a bike path on Evanston Township High School property and on the south side of Church Street. The high school will set up an off-road bike path along Church from Dodge to Pitner. And the City has already approved an extension of the Church Street bike path between McCormick and Dodge.

… that, speaking of NU, the University would like the City to pave two alleys adjacent to its property, west of Sheridan Road north of Garrett Place and Haven Street.
These will be “green” alleys, which allow the stormwater to soak back into the earth rather than become runoff. Since NU will pay the full cost of construction, $370,000, the City will waive the permit fee.

… that the City and the Illinois Department of Transportation will continue their 30-year relationship with an intergovernmental agreement for street maintenance. This means that the City can be reimbursed for the routine maintenance costs, such as surface and pothole repairs, for work the City performs on State routes within the City limits. For 10 years, the City will receive quarterly reimbursements of just less than $14,000 – a 2.71% increase over the last contract period. The total amount of reimbursement will be no more than $551,980. Public Works Director Suzette Robinson told the Council last week, though, that the City spends more on these tasks than it recoups from the State for maintaining the some 15 miles of State routes in Evanston.

… that heavier trucks can have access to the NU campus via the newly reconstructed Lincoln Street east of Sheridan. The City has amended its ordinance, which previously limited access to vehicles weighing less than 40 tons (80,000 pounds), absent a special permit. But if heavier trucks can go there, they must be permitted in a lot of other parts of the City – unless they’re helicoptered to Lincoln/Sheridan. This is obviously a concession to NU’s perpetual construction. But will they reimburse the City in any way for the damage these trucks will cause to Evanston’s streets on their
way to this sturdier section of road?

… that the Midwest High Speed Rail Association has responded to Gov. Turnarauner’s proposed cuts to Amtrak. Here is something from a recent press release: “Many of Amtrak’s costs, like access to Union Station, are fixed to a formula established by the Surface Transportation Board – the economic regulator of railroads. The cost of running an individual train is roughly the same amount whether there are 100 or 200 passengers on board. As a result, reductions in service levels will cause revenues to fall faster than costs.” They suggest adding additional trains to St. Louis and Champaign (then on to Carbondale), changing the departure time from Chicago to early morning, adding new trains, connecting buses and competitive food service. With the reconstruction of the Chicago-St. Louis tracks, almost another 400,000 riders will be added, according to the Midwest Rail Association.

The Traffice Guy thinks…
… that this year’s Fourth of July extravaganza should be wonderful, thanks to the great work of the not-for-profit Evanston Fourth of July Association. And, in light of the recent call for everyone to be kinder to the planet, the theme of “Tree City, Green City” is most apt.