Can it be legal to have twisted strands of wires and cables hanging in the open like this? It sure is unappealing.

… that City Council authorized rehabbing 1,924 feet of large diameter (45”–54”) sewer main along the Mulford Street right of way, starting at Dodge and extending west to the western boundary of James Park, contingent on obtaining a loan from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. The piping is more than 100 years old and is deteriorated. Staff say this sewer serves much of southwest Evanston.  (A3.1)

… that Council approved spending $34,800 for engineering design services needed to rehab the Isabella Street Bridge. The two-lane bridge, which extends over the North Shore Channel, was constructed in 1977. While the beams and substructure are in good condition, staff say the bridge deck has deteriorated significantly and needs to be rehabbed to protect the superstructure. (A3.2)

… The City will retain SP+ Municipal Services of Chicago to manage the Maple Avenue Parking Garage, the Sherman Avenue Parking Garage, and the Church Street Parking Garage for the next two years at a cost of $1,508,500 for 2016 and $1,490,925  for 2017. Staff say this is a reduction of nearly $140,000 from the 2015 cost.  (A3.3)

… that Council finally approved changes to the street sweeping schedule, which should make it easier for residents to figure out when parking is prohibited on streets that allow parking on both sides of the street. These streets are swept every three weeks on the same day of the week, but residents have to check a list or call 311 to determine whether a week is the “third” week under the schedule – and then trust they got the right information. Under the new rules:  
• As before, the City will sweep streets that allow parking on only one side of the street once a month on a specific day of the month (e.g. third Monday, fourth Monday, etc.);
• The City will sweep each side of two-sided parking streets once a month instead of every three weeks. Therefore signs can specify when the street sweeping will occur (e.g., third Tuesday, fourth Friday, etc.);
• The street sweeping season will be expanded from April 1 –  Nov. 30 to March 1 – Dec. 15. This provides extra time at both ends of the season for street cleaning.
 • Specially targeted streets for sweeping may take place on a day that occurs for the fifth time in a month (e.g., the “fifth” Monday), “special” signage would be posted for these additional cleanings.  
New signs are prepared to reflect the changes, which should start appearing on the streets.  (A9)

… that snow emergencies may now be declared whenever there is an accumulation of four inches of snow within a 24-hour period, rather than just during the period Dec. 1 – March 31. If a snow emergency is declared, parking is prohibited on certain sides of the streets. With the erratic weather patterns in the last few years – like the snow before Thanksgiving, this change provides added flexibility. New signage will be prepared to reflect this change. (A10)

… that the developers of a proposed new apartment building at 831 Emerson St. are proposing to provide a total of 212 parking spaces for 287 units. They plan to put 145 of the parking spaces on site and lease 67 from the City at the Maple Avenue Parking Garage. This is the second time in the last few years when a developer has leased parking spaces in the Maple Avenue Garage in an attempt to satisfy the City’s parking requirements, or to get an allowance. Damir Latinovic, the City’s planning and zoning administrator, said the garage can handle it. He said the 1,400 parking space garage has 964 parking spaces under lease agreements, and an average daily occupancy of only 50%. When a space is leased to a development, he said, a tenant does not get an assigned space in the Maple Avenue Garage, but essentially  the right to park there, and like anyone else, the tenant has to look for a space to park. Hopefully, the City does not commit too many spaces in the garage to developers so that there’s no room for patrons of the theatre, restaurants, etc. in downtown Evanston. Alderman Judy Fiske is taking a look at this.

… that average retail gasoline prices in Chicago rose 3.8 cents per gallon in the week beginning Nov. 30, averaging $2.09 per gallon on Dec. 6, according to GasBuddy’s daily survey of 1,437 gas outlets in Chicago. On Dec. 6, prices were 76.4 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago and 38.7 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. Patrick DeHaan, GasBuddy senior petroleum analyst, said OPEC’s recent decision to not impose oil quotas will likely keep oil prices low.  “OPEC is going to wait for production to resume from Iran before looking at oil production quotas again next year. While we wait and see what that next meeting might bring, high oil production will likely continue to boost already record high oil inventories, keeping gasoline prices somewhat subdued,” he said.

… that Evanston finally made it onto the key list of all lists: “Top 99 Beers in 99 Cities Announced by, the inaugural list of Best Beers in the Best Cities. “Economic development, tourism, talent attraction – these are all great side effects of the craft beer movement in the U.S.,” says Editor Matt Carmichael. “But at the end of the day, this is a ranking of great beers in great cities, and it sure is nice to have a cold pint of one of these 99 brews.” In the write-up on Evanston, called the “cradle of prohibition,” highlights Temperance Beer Co.’s IPA Gatecrasher beer, described as “super drinkable.” It cites the City as having “a fine tradition as a supporter of microbrewing,” and that it “now hosts several breweries and an ever-growing lineup of bars that serve and support them.”

… Officials in Beijing declared two weeks ago that the thick smog blanketing the city was bad enough to trigger a red alert. Among the restrictions were that cars were allowed to drive only on alternate days, depending on their license plate numbers. Meanwhile 196 nations reached a climate deal in Paris last week to cut greenhouse gas emissions and keep global temperatures from rising 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit between now and 2100. Some experts say that may not be enough to prevent rising sea levels, and severe droughts and flooding, but it is an historic and important step. Closer to home, Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl was prominently featured in a climate protection report released by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, as part of the conference in Paris.

… that the growing number of gas guzzling cars may make it difficult to cut down on carbon emissions. The number of vehicles is expected to double to more than 2 billion by 2030, and many experts believe that most of the 1 billion new cars will be powered by carbon-emitting gasoline or diesel fuels.

…  that a reader sent in the accompanying photo, showing a mess of black and orange cables wrapped around a pole just steps north of Church St. between Hinman and Chicago.

… that last month the Native American and Indigenous Student Alliance at Northwestern University launched a petition drive, demanding that John Evans’ name be removed from everything at the University, including buildings and honorary professorships. Several years ago, the RoundTable suggested that rather than rename the City of Evanston, that the City declare it is no longer named after John Evans, but after a different Evans.

From Our Readers
TG: It is interesting that the City asks property owners to clear a 36” wide path on walks after at least 4” of snow. I live on a corner, and have learned the routine: I clear the walk to the street. About 30 minutes later the City’s plows pile a barricade across the entry to the street. I again freeze my fingers and stress my back to cut an opening through the ice wall. About 30 minutes or an hour later the City plows build an even higher pile across the entry to the street. I again freeze my fingers and stress my back to cut an opening through the ice wall. About an hour or so later the City builds an even higher pile across the entry to the street. I concede.
I have photos from past years of ice/snow mountains with peaks built expressly across the ends of walks (see accompanying photo). Why clear walks that are then rendered inaccessible to pedestrians?    — Mike Levine

From TG: Thanks for your letter. A lot of readers probably wonder the same thing.

The Traffic Guy thinks …
     … that it could be fun if readers would send in their New Year’s resolutions, either for themselves, or, perhaps more fun, for our local civic and political leaders. They do not have to be nasty, but pithiness is always welcomed.