The Traffic Guy hears …
… that a temporary traffic control plan will be in place on Green Bay Road from Emerson Street to McCormick Boulevard between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. from March 24 through April 14. AT&T needs to dig several test holes and access AT&T manholes that are located primarily in the northbound lanes of Green Bay Road.

… that new no-parking signage is being installed throughout Evanston to reflect the City’s updated street cleaning schedule. Parking enforcement for the 2016 season will begin on May 2 to allow for installation of the new signage.

… that City Council held a special meeting on March 21 to discuss the project to revamp the intersection of Ridge Avenue/Green Bay Road/Emerson Street. The City had lined up about $3.8 million in state grants, and planned to put in $4.7 million in City funds to pay for the project. The upshot is the low bid for the project came in at about $11.2 million, or about $2.7 million more than anticipated. Check out the story on page 3 for Council’s discussion.

… that, as warned in TG’s column in the last issue of the RoundTable, City crews removed political campaign signs that were placed in public right of ways and on public property, enforcing a City ordinance that prohibits such signs there. This triggered a letter from a Bernie Sanders supporter who claimed the ordinance was unconstitutional and that it restrained discourse concerning the political process. The writer said the while he was a supporter of Sen. Sanders, he would argue the same for Trump, Cruz, and Clinton. Police Chief Richard Eddington replied, citing the City’s ordinance and saying, “The only issue is whether or not the sign is in the public right of way. If it is it will be removed. If it is on private property, it
will not be touched.”

… that named Evanston as having a Top 10 Best Downtown in 2016. To pick the best downtowns, Livability started with the data on more than 2,000 small to mid-sized cities. Livability says about Evanston, “Downtown Evanston is thriving, taking full advantage of demographic, cultural and planning trends. As today’s 20-somethings have rediscovered the joys of walkable urban living, Evanston has added mixed-use and residential buildings in the heart of the Sherman Avenue commercial district, creating a place for Northwestern’s students and other young singles and couples to live beyond graduation – taking full advantage of the public transit lines connecting this northern suburb to downtown Chicago. The added density has allowed a nightlife culture to flourish with a new mix of chain and independent bars and restaurants.” – Liveability contrasts the current downtown with the past: “A mere 20 years ago, downtown Evanston was a different place, and not one that would be a two-time honoree on our Top 10 Best Downtowns List.”

Ah, for the good old days when there were gas stations downtown selling gas
for about 60 cents a gallon.

… that speaking of gas, average retail gasoline prices in Chicago have risen 18.0 cents per gallon in the week of March 7, averaging $2.20 a gallon on Mach 14,  according to GasBuddy’s daily survey of 1,437 gas outlets in Chicago. The prices on March 14 were 53.5 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. “The cheapest gas prices of the year are now solidly behind us,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.

“At the end of the day, we expect this rally in gasoline prices to run for another month or two before stalling out.”

… that last week Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky asked a representative of the NFL in a hearing room for the House Energy and Commerce Commission if there was a link between football and degenerative brain disorders like Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. Jeff Miller, a senior vice president of the NFL responded, “The answer to that is certainly ‘Yes.’” An NFL spokesman subsequently confirmed that view. Many colleges and high schools have implemented procedures dealing with how to treat players who have suffered a concussion or possible concussion on the field. Whether the NFL’s admission will have a further impact on football (and possibly soccer) at the college, high school, and grade school levels remains to be seen.

… that April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. “The impact of abuse and neglect on a child can take a lifetime to heal and that’s where we as a community can help,” said Illinois Department of Children and Family Services Director George H. Sheldon. “Not only do we need to intercede and find help for a family in crisis but we need to help prevent child abuse by building awareness that it can happen in any family. By getting involved, one person can positively impact a child’s life forever.” Abuse traumatizes kids and negatively impacts their academic performance, as well as having short and long-term negative effects on their emotional, psychological and physical well-being.

… that beer and bicycling apparently mix, according to New Belgium Brewing, which was recently recognized as a platinum-level Bicycle Friendly Business by the League of American Bicyclists, and recently became the exclusive 2016 beer partner for Active Transportation Alliance. New Belgium will play a role in the events following MB Bike the Drive on May 29, and the 25th Annual Chicago Bike Week in June. “The partnership has made sense for a while, since our values sync so well, and we’re also sponsoring Chicago Bike Week,” said Steve Navas, New Belgium’s Chicago field marketing manager. “We are thrilled to have New Belgium as our 2016 beer partner,” said Clare McDermott, Events and Marketing Director at the Active Transportation Alliance. “Active Trans is ecstatic to have such a well-matched partner and that our folks will be enjoying their tasty beers as well. It’s really a win-win all around.”  

… that, speaking of breweries, April is designated “National Alcohol Awareness Month,” a time to increase public awareness and understanding of the harmful consequences of underage drinking and adult misuse of alcohol and to encourage local communities to focus on limiting youth access and availability to alcohol and discouraging misuse of alcohol by adults. According to the Illinois Youth Survey,
26 % of eighth-graders report using alcohol in the past year; by the time they reach 12th grade, the percentage jumps to 62.

… that RepairPal Institute has come up with a new list, one that ranks Illinois No. 9 in the United States for “most expensive” auto repairs. RepairPal measured the average cost of three common auto repairs (water pump, alternator, and brake pad replacements) on three popular car models (2010 Ford F-150, 2010 Honda Accord, and 2010 BMW 328i). The average repair cost in Illinois was $1,215. The most expensive state was Alaska, where the repair cost was $1,374, and the cheapest was West Virginia at $1,033. West Virginia may have low car repair costs, but they do not have a top 10 downtown with no gas stations.

… that Earth Hour was 8:30-9:30 p.m. on  March 19, when folks were supposed to turn off their lights.

From our Readers:

TG: For the second consecutive year, the Tooth Fairy has left Illinois children with an average amount per tooth that’s below the national average. 

The Tooth Fairy leaves $2.71 per tooth
in Illinois, down from the national
average of $3.91 and last year’s Illinois average of $2.89, according to The Original Tooth Fairy Poll®, sponsored by Delta Dental
of Illinois.  – Brian Sorenso

From TG: Thanks for the info. Here’s some additional tidbits provided by Mr. Sorenson: The Original Tooth Fairy Poll has typically served as a good indicator of the economy’s overall direction, tracking with the movement of Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (S&P 500) for 12 of the past
13 years. In 2015, the Tooth Fairy gave a
total of $256 million nationally for lost teeth, up just 0.6% from 2014. In 2015, the Tooth Fairy visited 82% of
Illinois homes, compared with 86% of homes nationally.

The Traffic Guy thinks …

… that the impasse on reaching a State budget is harming many of the most vulnerable people in the State, and has forced or is close to forcing many non-profit institutions to cut back staff and programs or to close their doors. If a non-profit cuts a program or closes its doors, it will likely have long-term ramifications. While there is room to place blame on both sides of the aisle for the mess the State is in, the Governor and the legislators need to come together and adopt a budget. Waiting until after the November elections will likely not change much, and by then irreparable damage will have been done.