The trial traffic modification on the north side of Central at Poplar and Broadway will continue through Spring of next year, according to the City. There will be no left turns onto Central from Poplar, southbound. Drivers who wish to turn east onto Central may cross over to Broadway on a cut-through there. From 8 to 9:30 a.m. and from 3 to 4:30 p.m. – hours during which most kids walk to and from school (Haven, Kingsley and St. Athanasius are nearby) – left turns onto Central from southbound Broadway are prohibited.RoundTable photo

… that the significance of Northwestern’s decision to have its students, faculty, staff and affiliates ride the Central Street bus for free was lost on TG. Seventh Ward Alderman Jane Grover called the RoundTable to explain that it is not just that NU is picking up the tab; the more important thing is that the Ryan shuttle – with its noise, pollution and other impact – will be eliminated from City streets. That is significant. TG, and most likely many other Evanstonians, are grateful.

… that the City has bravely asked residents to weigh in on “potential changes to the 2016 street cleaning schedule and street signage.” The City, it seems is “considering changes that will more clearly communicate street cleaning dates, eliminate confusion and improve operations.” Anyone wishing to give an opinion on this can fill out a survey at cityofevanston.org/sweepsurvey any time before 5 p.m. on Aug. 21 – or call 311 and voice an opinion.
To clarify: At present, the street-sweeping season is April 1-Nov. 1, with residential streets swept once a month and primary streets swept twice a month. Under the new proposal, the street-sweeping season would be March 1-Dec. 31. Street signage would indicate the specific day when street cleaning takes place, such as “3rd Thursday” instead of “Thursday,” eliminating confusion and the need for residents to check the print or online schedule to find the exact date of street cleaning. Extending the street cleaning season would also allow City crews to clear late fall leaves and debris from the streets, and get an earlier start in the spring.
TG wonders how much revenue in fines the City would lose if it actually made the street-sweeping times clear.

… that changes – perhaps temporary, perhaps permanent – have come to the north side of Central where Poplar and Broadway come together. There will be no left turn onto Central from Poplar, and left turns onto Central from Broadway are prohibited during what TG would term “school-walk” hours: 8-9:30 a.m. and 3-4:30 p.m.

… that a lot of cool things are going on around town to wind up the summer: free movies in the park, back-to-school gatherings with free school supplies, and the all-are-welcome CommUNITY Picnic. There was not room in the last issue for some letters, so … here you go:

From our readers: TG: I found this information in the Evanston Public Library when I was browsing there the other day: Chicago Avenue: Named because Evanston was adjacent to the fast growing city of Chicago, whose northern limits were at North Avenue, and a long stretch of open country lay between Evanston and Chicago. The road was sandy and its condition so bad that a corporation was formed in 1859 to grade it, and it was then called the gravel road. – MDJ

Hi TG. Thank you for all the useful information you provide. I look forward to reading your column in the RoundTable. I have a question maybe you can answer: How do we get the City to enable the countdown indications at all times and for all four directions at McCormick and Oakton? Ever since the red-light cameras were installed, this intersection seems more dangerous.
Countdown indications would help, and recently I’ve seen occasional countdowns at this intersection. Why aren’t countdowns used all of the time? Do they only come on if pedestrians have activated the walk button? If the red-light cameras are there for safety, countdowns would be in use all of the time.
I avoid this intersection whenever possible, which means I also avoid the businesses near this intersection. I wonder how much business has been lost due to drivers who avoid this intersection because of the red light cameras.
(Just so you know, I don’t speed or deliberately run through yellow or red lights. I try to watch the lights as I approach to judge whether they are fresh or stale. It’s just difficult to tell at this intersection, and with most cars going faster than they should, I always feel vulnerable at this and other intersections that have cameras but no countdowns.) Thanks, TG. – Donna Serio

From TG: Your question is a good one, Ms. Serio, and a multi-layered one. TG agrees that if the red-light cameras are there for safety purposes, then the countdowns would be useful for anyone planning to get into or stay in the street.
It does seem, though, that many of the countdowns are triggered by the activation of the crosswalk button. Your question is also a multi-jurisdictional one. The Oakton/McCormick intersection is in Skokie, not Evanston. According to information from the Skokie Police Department, that section of Oakton is a County road, and that section of McCormick, a State road. Getting something done would probably require an answer to the question, “How many jurisdictions does it take to change a light?”

TG: I love these yarn bombs. – Kathryn Whittemore

From TG: TG sees that these y.b.s are in the same vicinity as the ones in the last issue of the RoundTable. Yours, the top one here, appears to be around Stumble and Relish on Chicago just north of Dempster. These colorful patches do brighten the area.
Thanks, Ms. Whittemore. Kurt Peters also sent a lovely one, pictured just below yours. Apparently these beauty spots are part of the Chiaravalle Neighborly Love Community Art Project, a collaboration with the Montessori School at Dempster and Hinman, local merchants and community members. These were installed in May as an early preparation for the annual Young Evanston Artists (YEA!) festival. The project also included friendship bracelets and chains wrapped around smaller trees and the base of parking meters.

TG: The last issue of RoundTable references the colorful macrame and rope bindings populating SE Evanston this summer. They’ve got me thinking, mainly wondering if these seemingly innocent decorations will choke tree trunks and alter their shape as they try to grow? That’s the physiological query.
On the social/community side they open up a host of possible discussions. It’s akin to someone deciding we’ll have Grateful Dead playing 24/7 on public speakers in the neighborhood. (I’d love that; many would not.). Similarly, some people see these artistic endeavors as charming; others as a blight. Who is the arbiter of public displays on City property? Can anyone decide to decorate trees and lamp posts to their liking? Discuss. – Neal Stamell

From TG: Thank you for the letter on the yarn bombs in the Dempster/Chicago area, Mr. Stamell. As noted above, these came about as a collaboration between the City and Chiaravalle Montessori School in preparation for the Young Evanston Artists festival in May.
Other yarn bombs have appeared in various spots in Evanston over the past year and a half. Some, like the one at the Library in February 2014, are coordinated events. That one was conceived by Seventh Ward Alderman Jane Grover and coordinated by the City’s Public Art Committee. Jennifer Lasik is the City’s cultural arts coordinator.
However, the very nature of yarn bomb does, as you suggest, take over public space, but the stated purpose is to reclaim sterile or impersonal public spaces by turning them into spots of beauty. Yarn bombs are by nature impermanent, and they are not ephemeral. RoundTable staff asked Paul D’Agostino, assistant director of Public Works, Parks/Forestry, if these yarn bombs present any hazards to the trees. He responded, “My staff and I are regularly monitoring these trees to make sure the wrapping is not harming the trees, and so far, so good. The wrappings are scheduled to be removed in September, so I don’t anticipate any long-term adverse effects from the tree’s being yarn bombed.”

TG: Nice to have Whole Foods up and running; but, the traffic pattern on Isabella between Green Bay Road and Park is a nightmare. Both sides of the street have cars parked bumper to bumper with no spot to pull over. Oncoming traffic from the east and west is at a standoff to see who will play chicken first. Maybe it’s time to make that a one way street. The south side of the street is Evanston while the north side is Wilmette, which poses another problem. – Rita McElroy

The Traffic Guy thinks …

… that it is time to address the problem of noise in this City. As unsightly
as the many signs along the parkways are, the noise that shatters the quiet of a day
at home is just as much an assault on
the senses.
Residents in at least two sections
of town, each of them near a small commercial area, have said the noise from nearby businesses (both of them exercise/recreation outfits) is disruptive to their enjoyment of the neighborhood. Others have notified the RoundTable that the leaf-blower ordinance is not being enforced and that weed-whackers and tree-trimmers create a lot of noise.
Neighbors must call to alert the police of the violation. TG encourages residents to report unseemly noise to 311 and also invites complaints to this column. Send them to info@evanstonroundtable.com with the heading “Noise that Annoys.”