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… that last week’s storm did less damage to trees than the previous one, perhaps because that first storm cleared out the more fragile ones. Forty-six places reported tree damage, 26 of them blocking streets, alleys or sidewalks.
… that public schools started this week. Everyone should be on the lookout for kids crossing the street, riding bikes and possibly not wholly paying attention, as getting back to school is an adjustment.
… that, speaking of schools, the new small gravel parking lot being constructed near Lazier Field at ETHS will be ringed with fruit trees, mostly apple. The fruit trees that were there were not saved but will be replaced. These fruit trees, coupled with the garden along Dodge Avenue, show the school’s commitment to providing fresh foods for the students as much as possible.
… that crews from A Lamp Concrete Contractors have begun the “water main and street resurfacing improvements” on Pitner between Dempster and Nathaniel. The project entails replacing the deteriorated 10-inch water main with new ductile iron pipe; replacing curbs as needed, repairing the roadway base and replacing the asphalt surface from curb to curb and replacing some sidewalk segments. The work is expected to be completed by October. Residents should watch for “No Parking” signs.
… that the City has renewed its towing contract with North Shore Towing Inc. The two have been doing business for nearly 35 years. There are no cost increases in this contract. Here are the charges for towing private vehicles and other services: auto, $145; auto with trailer, $175; truck up to 2.5 tons, $250; truck over 2.5 tons $300; emergency road service (jumpstarts, ignition lockouts, e.g.), $50; clean up debris after accident, $50; boot removal $75.
… that the City will purchase an Elgin Pelican Street Sweeper from Standard Equipment Corporation Inc. of Chicago at a cost of $185,820; a Bobcat Toolcat sidewalk tractor with attachments from Atlas Bobcats in Schiller Park, at a cost of $69,479.00; and a Ford Escape from Currie Motors of Frankfort for about $20,000.
… that a rooster was on the loose in the Grandmother Park area last week, and the City’s Animal Control eventually picked him up. Residents in Evanston are permitted to raise chickens, but no roosters are allowed: eggs, yes; baby chicks, no.
… that Triggi Construction, Inc. of West Chicago will pave four alleys in the next few weeks: north of Thayer, east of Marcy; north of Colfax, east of Central Park; north of Lyons, east of Ashland; and north of Harrison, east of Central Park. Here is the process. A petition to have an alley paved must be signed by 51% of the owners of the properties abutting the alley and then be approved by the Board of Local improvements.
… that Schroeder & Schroeder Inc. of Skokie will be replacing curbs and sidewalks on Church, Florence and Davis adjacent to Mason Park and on Sherman adjacent to Philbrick Park. A few street segments will be resurfaced, and some of these will get speed humps as well: Foster from Ridge to Maple; Forest from Kedzie to Main; Seward from Barton to Custer; Sherman from Crain to Dempster; and Kedzie from Sheridan to the cul-de-sac.
… that the City is expanding its contract for services with Automated Parking Technologies, L.L.C. of Chicago to include the installation of a “credit card in and credit card out” payment process. This expansion will cost about $38,000.
… that, as reported previously, the City will purchase additional rock salt again this year for the two public school districts and store it until needed. The City charges the school districts about 10% above what it pays – for loading, reloading, record-keeping, storage, etc.
… that, through Nov. 6, the Fire Department will be testing fire hydrants weekdays between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Firefighters will open each hydrant, allowing water to flow out, thus providing information about the status of the hydrant. In some cases, tap water may be discolored after the testing; residents should just let this water flow down the drain. Hydrant, of course, comes from the Greek word hydor. The constellation Hydra was thought to be the Lernean hydra, or many-headed water snake, that Heracles killed and then flung to the heavens.
… that, speaking of the skies, the next supermoon, or perigee full moon, will be on Aug. 29. The moon’s perigee is the point in its orbit when it is closest to the earth. It is farthest from Earth at the apogee. Earthsky.org reports “We first became familiar with the supermoon label in the year 2011 when the media used it to describe the full moon of March 19, 2011.”
… that there is some discussion that bicyclers in the City could be allowed to avail themselves of the “Idaho stop.” This is the moniker for a law that was passed in Idaho in 1982. It allows bicyclers to treat a “stop sign” as though it were really a “yield” sign and a red light as a “stop” sign.
Though touted by some and adopted in part in some of the western states, the Idaho stop has not gained universal acceptance.
Here is an example of the pro and con, from Wikipedia: “Advocates argue that current law criminalizes normal cycling behavior, and that the Idaho stop makes cycling easier and safer and places the focus where it should be: on yielding the right-of-way. Opponents think it is less safe because it violates the principles of vehicular cycling and makes cyclists less predictable.”
The Traffic Guy thinks …
… that, given current circumstances, implementing the Idaho stop here would not be the safest or sanest measure. As a community, we’re not there yet. Folks here are just learning to share the road, and some are actively resisting that notion.
To have bicyclists be the test case on yielding at stop signs and pausing at red lights could result in many unnecessary accidents and injuries (not that any of these is ever “necessary”) and could exacerbate the already tense situation between bikers and walkers and bikers and drivers in many parts of the City.
Who has not seen bicyclers ride slowly two abreast so cars cannot pass them, breeze without looking through stop signs, ride the wrong way on bike lanes or even on major streets, zip past pedestrians on the lakefront trail when they are supposed to be on the bike path, push on through before a light turns green – many of these riders helmetless?
Of course, some of this is “Idaho-stopping,” some of it is reckless or thoughtless but some of it is deliberate.
Much of it puts drivers on edge. And are there many bicyclists here who have not been hassled or harassed by drivers or passengers in trucks or automobiles?
Have not some drivers gotten a little too close to the bicyclers?
Haven’t some honked needlessly, just to scare someone or make a so-called point? Clearly, a truce is necessary, and aggression has to lessen on each side. Bicycling is an important form of transportation and recreation. Perhaps legislation should not be the first order of business here.
… that the end of the beach season here is at hand. Until the beaches close for the season at 7:30 p.m. on Labor Day, Sept. 7, they will be open only from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. on weekdays and from 10:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. weekends and Labor Day.
… that, speaking of Labor Day, the Evanston Police Department will be stepping up its traffic enforcement over the holiday weekend.