New synchronized traffic lights are being installed on Dempster.RoundTable photo

.. that the constuction projects on Dempster are nearing completion. Crews are installing the new, synchronized traffic signals from Fowler east to Ridge. Here they are at Dempster/Dodge (see photo at right), just in time for the crowds to come to the new Valli Produce grocery store there.

… that Nicor Gas contractor, NPL Construction, will be installing new gas mains and services along Pitner between Dempster and Nathaniel between now and Sept. 1, removing old gas meters and installing new, outside ones. Work will take place weekdays 7-5. Parking will be restricted at times. All Nicor crews and hired contractors will have Nicor issued ID cards and will present them if requested. The project supervisor for Nicor is Dan Kellogg, 630-816-5645 or dkellog@

… that Utility Department crews are at work on both the north and south water towers, those bluish structures that store millions of gallons of City water. Crews began the repair and repainting of the north water tower, Gross Point Road north of Harrison Street, on March 23. The wet weather conditions in the spring and early summer prolonged the work and postponed the expected date of completion from July 1 to July 31.
Work on the south standpipe, on Hartrey south of Cleveland, began Monday, and the project is expected to be completed by Oct. 30. Work will take place 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, for the most part, but there could be some Saturday work between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Here’s what’s going on: The interior and exterior coatings of the now-empty standpipe will be removed by sandblasting down to bare metal, where spot repairs may be made. During sandblasting, a containment system will be erected around the tank, but this may be removed by the contractor prior to painting. Several coats of epoxy paint will be applied, but this is not just a cosmetic job. According to the City, “It is primarily required as maintenance to prevent structural damage caused by corrosion where the existing coating system has failed.”
These water towers help maintain the pressure in the City’s water distribution system. The north water tower has a 7.5 million gallon capacity, and the south can hold 5 million gallons. This project will be monitored and inspected by Tank Industry Consulting and the City of Evanston Utilities Department. Questions may be directed to Kevin Lookis, Water Production Superintendent, at 847-448-8198 or by calling/texting 847-448-4311. After 4 p.m. on weekdays and from Friday at 4 p.m. to Monday at 7:30 a.m., calls should be directed to the Utilities Department’s after-hours number, 847-475-6880.

… that even though it’s still summer, the City is thinking winter, having elected to purchase up to 7,500 tons of rock salt from Morton Salt of Chicago. The cost, which comes by way of a contract extension with Morton, is $69.71 per ton (down from $84.50/ton), with a total winter cost of $522,825. City folks say they believe there will be sufficient salt for the winter season. The contract extension – the fourth and last under the original one – allows the City to buy as much as 120% or as little as 70% of its order. Last year, the community made do with 6,000 tons of salt, much of which was housed in the new salt dome, next to where the old salt dome stood, in the Service Center on Asbury. There is about 1,600 tons left from last year. TG guesses that the timing of this purchase makes it a summersalt.

… that the City will hire Clauss Brothers of Elgin for the “Clark Street Beach Bird Sanctuary Restoration Project,” a mini-recoup of the migratory bird sanctuary and woodlands gem the City allowed Northwestern to destroy so they could have an easement for a fire lane wider road to construct bigger buildings to mar the lakefront. The project will include native plantings and some fencing. This little woods can be a haven for birds that don’t kill themselves konking against the glass (little of which
is bird-friendly) on many University

… that the City will hire Mohawk Lifts of Amsterdam, N.Y., to install a 75,000-lb.-rated vehicle lift for the Fleet Services garage. Installation and purchase price will run $133,594. Apparently the City’s largest lift truck, 25 years old, with a 72,000-lb. capacity, failed recently and repair was not feasible. The City reports, “Fleet Services personnel managed the removal and disposal of the six tons of scrap metal from the old lift,” saving the City about $8,000 in removal costs.
Speaking of new vehicles, the City will purchase a new 22-passenger bus for about $58,000 from Midwest Transit Equipment Incorporated of Kankakee. A charitable contribution from the Levy Center Foundation covered half the cost.

… that the City will sell some surplus vehicles at auction, something it does a few times a year. This time, 10 Ford Crown Victorias, two Tauruses, a bus, a Ford F-350, a Ford F-450, a Dodge Ram, a Tahoe and an Expedition will soon be sold to the highest bidder at vehicles at America’s Auto Auction in Crestwood.

… that a four-way stop will be implemented soon at Lake and Grey, at the ETHS driveway, where previously only the ETHS and Grey traffic had to stop and Lake was a free-flow.

… that the City is contracting out the Currey Park improvements, Hinman at Dempster. The 10-week project will include the construction of two half-court basketball courts, a baseball backstop, a vehicular drop-off lane on Hinman and perimeter fencing and landscaping. Residents and others should watch for temporary “No Parking” signs, which will occur intermittently during the construction period. The City says evening and nighttime parking, 5 p.m. to 7 a.m., “should be available.” Only the children’s playground will be open during construction; other areas will be fenced off. Both the City and Chiaravalle Montessori School will chip in for the cost. The contractor is G. A. Johnson & Son on Foster. Questions should be addressed to Stefanie Levine, senior project manager in the City’s Public Works Department. The City expects the project to be completed by early October. That’s good; kids will still be able to enjoy the park this year.

… that, in a northwesternly direction, the University has contracted for paving two alleys, both west of Sheridan and east of Orrington: one south of Noyes and north of Haven; the other, south of Haven and north of Garrett. The project will include, according to the City, “necessary sewer improvements, installation of drainage structures and paving.” Questions can be addressed to Darby Robinson of Gewalt Hamilton, 847-323-3872; Anthony LoVerde of LoVerde Construction, 847-980-6708 or Charles Davidson at Northwestern, 847-467-2633.

… that, speaking of NU, the University and CTA are offering free rides on the 201 bus to NU students, faculty and staff and everyone else with an NU ID from September to next June. The bus 201 route extends from the CTA Howard station to the NU campus, with stops in the Evanston business district, at Ryan Field and all the way down Central Street to the Westfield Old Orchard mall. Service is provided weekdays from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

… that, speaking of the CTA, the Purple Line Express pilot failed to attract enough riders to convince the CTA to continue it. “At the conclusion of the pilot, the CTA’s ridership analysis showed that unfortunately, the ridership fell short of the pilot’s goals,” said Jeff Tolman, the CTA’s spokesman, “with an average of only 89 passengers per train for a round trip versus the 468 passengers per train for a round trip needed to justify making the service permanent.” He said the CTA would not continue the service due to a “lack of demand.”

 … that these gulls gathered at Twiggs Park after one of the recent storms, pecking for worms and other delicacies (insects and spiders, for example) then rising to fly together to a new patch of ground. There is a YouTube video of a sea gull stomping on the grass somewhere, apparently trying to trick worms into thinking it was raining.

The Traffic Guy thinks …
… that while it might be a good idea to replace some of the DWAMs (dead white American males) on the country’s currency, Alexander Hamilton is not the one to bounce. Isn’t he the reason all the states use the same currency? But he was somewhat of an elitist. Maybe he’d do better on a bitcoin. TG would suggest taking Andrew Jackson off the $20 bill, in light of the Trail of Tears. Jackson’s image is on a presidential dollar coin, so his face will be around.