Rendering of 1815 Ridge Avenue, LLC, has submitted an application to build an 11-story senior residence at 1815 Ridge Ave.Submitted Rendering

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 … that the front end of a vehicle tipped into a sink hole in the 1300 block of Monroe Street on Feb. 3. City staff say a break in a 100-year-old sewer main caused undermining of the soil beneath the street, resulting in the sinkhole. City Sewer Division crews worked late into the evening on Feb. 3 to try to repair the sewer, but the sewer is deep and located in an area of running sand, making it difficult to safely complete the repair with City equipment. The City had to hire Bolder Contractors to replace a 30-foot-long section of 12” diameter sewer and fill in the excavation. (photo at right) A temporary pavement patch was installed so traffic flow could resume. The street will be fully restored in the spring.  

… that new “No Parking” signs will soon start appearing in parts of the City. The new signage, approved by Council last fall, will advise people of the revised parking regulations to facilitate street sweeping and snow removal. Last week Council approved the first of a series of contracts to fabricate and install the new signs. The first contract is for $84,800. Under the installation plan, the number of poles holding the signs will be reduced from three to two per block, and the parking regulations for both street sweeping and snow plowing will be on one sign, rather than two.  This reduces sign clutter, something TG has been decrying for years, and it saves money. So it’s a start.

…  City Council approved a contract with CTL Group to provide engineering services necessary to move forward with various repairs of the Maple Avenue Parking Garage and the Church Street Parking Garage. The cost for the engineering services is $111,100, and the total repair cost is estimated at $1,635,000.  

…that a developer, 1815 Ridge Avenue, LLC, has submitted an application
to build an 11-story senior residence at 1815 Ridge Ave. The proposed building would contain 165 units, with 25 memory-care units, 20 assisted living units, and the balance independent living units. The plan is to include 64 on-site parking spaces. Check out the rendering above of the proposed building. A fire seriously damaged the former building at the site.  

… that Sketchbook Brewing Co. plans to move its retail operations out of the alley and into a street-front at 821 Chicago Ave. The new space will be called the Tap Room, where folks can enjoy Sketchbook brews, food, live music and art. “This new Tap Room will make it so much easier for craft beer fans to find us,” says Cesar Marron, one of Sketchbook’s principal owners and brewers. They are hoping for a soft opening in March.  

… that Oakton Community College’s Skokie campus, 7701 N. Lincoln, in partnership with the National Able Network, will host a truck-driver screening at 9 a.m., on Feb. 24 for people interested in a truck-driving career. The one-day event showcases the trucking business, Oakton’s eight-week training program, employers who are looking to hire qualified graduates and available funding (eligibility required) with National Able/WIOA Network to pay for instruction. Prospective drivers are required to meet the following prerequisites: be at least 21 years of age; pass Illinois’s Department of Transportation physical exam and drug test; and have a relatively clean driving record. Registration is required by calling (855) 994-8300. For information about the training program, visit www.oakton.edu/cdl.

… that a federal judge refused to dismiss a complaint brought by Friends of the Park under the public trust doctrine to block the construction of the Lucas Museum near Soldier Field along Lake Michigan. The Friends allege that the site of the proposed museum was formerly part of Lake Michigan, that as a result the lakefill area is held in trust for the public, and that using the site for the Lucas Museum would not be using it for the benefit of the general public. In light of the court’s ruling, the City of Chicago may now need to prove at trial that the Lucas Museum provides a public benefit within the meaning of the public trust doctrine, and the judge has held that a claim of public benefit must be viewed with skepticism.
Does this sound familiar? In 1961 the State of Illinois sold Northwestern University lake bottom for $100 an acre, and NU filled in about 75 acres of the lake bottom to create what is often called the NU lakefill. Several groups recently claimed that allowing NU to build an athletic center on the lakefill area violates the public trust doctrine.

… that speaking of NU, the University would like to replace and expand its parking lot west of Ryan Field, adding 15 spaces to the present 884; 18 spaces would be accessible. NU says the project will improve the right-of-way of Ashland and Isabella by providing sidewalk and landscaping. Stormwater will be redirected into bioswales and permeable open bottom detention vaults. NU officials were scheduled to meet with neighbors last night.

… that  Consumer Affairs recently ranked Evanston number 1 in Illinois for fewest speeding-related traffic fatalities per 100,000 residents in 2014. According to the study, Evanston had 1.32 speeding-related traffic fatalities per 100,000 residents (not that we have 100,000 residents). According to the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 6.1 million police-reported crashes in 2014 (the most current available data), and  32,675 people were killed and 2.3 million injured. Of the fatalities, 31% were alcohol-related, 28% were caused by speeding, and 10% were caused by distracted driving.

… that the City has donated $5,000 to the United Way of Genesee County’s (UWGC) Flint Water Fund to help support residents of Flint, Mich., weather the drinking water crisis. The UWGC set up the Flint Water Fund to help purchase filters, bottled water, and provide emergency support services and prevention efforts. Community members can donate to the fund by visiting unitedwaygenesee.org.

… that housing prices are trending up in Evanston. In 2015, 490 detached single-family homes were sold, up 15% from the prior year. The median sale price in December 2015 was $504,500, up from $490,000 a year ago, according to The North Shore-Barrington Association of Realtors.

… that the City’s cable Channel 16 will offer a new programming schedule featuring a variety of educational and informational viewing. New programming includes “It’s Good to Know!,” a new educational/scientific variety show that will air twice a day. Another new program, “GovFlix,” will air twice a day with films and documentaries from the National Archives, restored and remastered by the City. The latest Evanston news will air as part of “City News” five times a day. Public meetings will still be aired, but will not be rebroadcast as frequently. This month, the channel will air special programming celebrating Black History Month. Three films about the history of African American artists and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. will be featured twice each day. Viewers can see the City’s program lineup during breaks. The schedule is also published online at cityofevanston.org/tv.

… that on Jan. 31, the average price for a gallon of gas was $1.78 in Chicago, according to GasBuddy’s daily survey of 1,437 gas outlets in Chicago.  This was 52 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago and 37.6 cents per gallon lower than a month ago.  In the past month, there has been some talk of an organized cut in oil output between some of the world’s largest producers, so gas prices may go up if there are cuts in supply, said Patrick DeHaan, GasBuddy.com senior petroleum analyst.  

… that Illinois temperatures in January showed huge swings, but the  highs and lows tended to cancel each other out, with an average monthly temperature of 26.7 degrees, or just 0.3 degrees above average, said Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel, Illinois State Water Survey, University of Illinois. The statewide average precipitation (rain plus water content of snow) was 0.85 inches, or 1.22 inches below average.  The January snowfall ranged from 2 to 5 inches in most locations. Western Illinois saw 5 to 7.5 inches. However, most of Illinois received below-average snowfall.

The Traffic Guy thinks …
… that what made groundhogs everywhere retreat to their holes was not their own shadows but that of Ted Cruz.

… that it would be nice if decent, clear directionals would be among the “repairs” the City is contemplating for the Maple Avenue and Church Street garages. TG still hears complaints about how folks end up circulating on the same floor, particularly in the MAG. Wonder if this is the fault of the drivers or if the autonomous Google cars have the same problem?

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone.