From our readers: TG: Here’s a creative way to park a bike.

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… that Bike to Work Week ends tomorrow. Of course, the hope is that folks will continue bicycle commutes throughout the summer, if not the full year. Evanston kicked of BTWW last Friday with a pit stop at Fountain Square.

… that utility work continues on Green Bay north of Emerson, with snaky single lines of traffic. Some exits are provided – to driveways and business entrances. There are no left or right turns onto Noyes, but southbound folks can take the Ashland spur just south of the channel bridge.

… that, speaking of utility work, Nicor is conducting sewer inspections and identifying new meter locations in various parts of the community. So far, the company has been looking in northwest Evanston: Bennett, Central, Colfax, Grey, Hartrey, Noyes, and Pioneer. Later this month, they will begin to install a new gas main. Residents in the area may have noticed yellow Nicor flags on their lawns and property. TG has noticed that crews tend to leave them on the property or, in at least one case, drop them in bundles at street’s edge.

… that the Secretary of State’s office is compartmentalizing the way residents will renew their driver licenses and State ID cards. And while extra time is involved, these new steps involve “anticounterfeiting security measures” and are meant to prevent fraud and identity theft, comply with the REAL ID mandates of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and make things safer in general. Applicants visiting the Driver Service facilities will receive two things – their old driver license (DL) or ID back with a hole punched in it and a “temporary, secure paper document” that will be valid for 45 days and will serve as a DL and ID. DHS has said it will accept these two things as satisfactory for airline travel until the new, permanent card arrives in the mail.
Meanwhile, the Secretary of State says, “the applicant’s information will be sent to a centralized, secure facility in Illinois. After fraud checks have been conducted to ensure the applicant’s identity, a higher quality, more secure DL/ID will be printed and sent via U.S. mail within 15 business days to the applicant’s address.”
This new process has a graduated rollout that will begin later this month and should be completed by the end of July, according to the Secretary of State. Illinois is a little late to the game on this – 39 other states have complied with DHS mandates. More information on the central issuance process and answers to FAQs are available at

… that the City will purchase three new vehicles: an International Harvester, a Caterpillar Skid Steer Loader with attachments, and a Towmaster T-12D Trailer. The total cost is about $260,000.

… that Wentworth Tire service of Bensenville will get a one-year $25,000, twice renewable contract from the City for tire repairs and recaps and the like.

… that the Howard Street West project began last week, involving new traffic signals and resurfacing the Evanston side of Howard between Hartrey and the canal. The cost of this few-block project is about $1.4 million; Skokie and Chicago have said they will do complementary work on their adjacent areas at some point.

… that reports that average retail prices of gasoline rose 7.8 cents per gallon over the first week of June, according to its daily survey of 1,437 gas outlets in Chicago. This compares with the national average that has increased 3.0 cents per gallon in the last week to $2.70 per gallon. Including those increases, gas prices in the last week of May were still almost 50 cents lower than on the same day in 2015 but just about 22 cents higher than a month ago.

… that David Kristovich, head of the Climate and Atmospheric Science section with the Illinoi State Water Survey, based at the University  of Illinois, reports, “Spring and summer storms that create thunder and lightning on land also cause tsunami-like waves on the Great Lakes, bringing water surges onshore and jeopardizing docked boats and beach lovers.” These waves behave much like tsunamis and are called meteotsunamis, because they are created by weather. Water levels from a meteotsunami rise more quickly than those caused by a seiche – in a few minutes up to a couple of hours for a meteotsunami, as compared to the several hours that a seiche sloshes back and forth. The rise in the water level from a meteotsunami is about a foot, and there are about 80 in the Great Lakes each year, according to Dr. Kristovich’s report. “The water level observing site in Calumet Harbor in Illinois experiences the most frequent and largest meteotsunamis of anywhere in the Great Lakes, possibly because of the typical motions of thunderstorm systems generating them. Dr. Adam Bechle and Prof. Chin Wu (at University of Wisconsin) found that local features, such as the bowl shape of southern Lake Michigan, also play critical roles in meteotsunami size and frequency, according to the report.

… that State Climatologist Dr. Jim Angel reports that the average precipitation in May was 4.52 inches, 0.08 inches below normal. The average temperature in Illinois for May was 62.2 degrees, just 0.5 degrees below normal. This breaks an eight-month streak of above-normal temperatures in Illinois. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Storm Prediction Center reported five tornadoes in Illinois in May, as well as 35 hail and
86 wind damage reports.

From our readers: TG: I am writing to see if you can assist my frustrated efforts to get the CTA to install “TrainTracker” monitors at Howard Station. These monitors inform passengers when the next train is coming. They are found at almost all CTA stations, often both on the platforms and even outside the station. The CTA also has similar monitors for bus arrivals. Even our small Noyes Street station has two on the platforms. Despite their near ubiquity throughout the system, the monitors are inexplicably absent from the platforms at Howard. This is truly odd. If any station could justify the need for “Train Tracker” monitors it is Howard. Howard is where three different CTA lines (Red, Purple, and Yellow) end. Except for the limited number of passengers whose final destination is Howard, almost everybody else who has to get off a train at Howard is waiting for a train or bus connection.
For over two years I have asked the CTA to address this. Each time, my e-mails get a form promise to get back shortly.
But no response has ever actually been sent. I contacted the Chicago Tribune’s transportation writer, and she has been similarly obstructed, being evasively told that there were monitors somewhere in the station. When I tried to find them, the CTA employees on the platform told me to go downstairs. Downstairs, they told me to look for them on the platform or perhaps in the overpass above the tracks. At the overpass they assured me they were not on the platform but again suggested I go to the first floor. Wherever they may be, they are not in the place where they are needed – on the platforms alongside the tracks. There the only monitors give useful information like “thank you for riding the CTA.”             – James Gender
From TG: Thanks for the confidence, Mr. Genden. TG can air your problem but in actuality has little influence with the CTA.

TG: I agree with you that Evanston needs a slogan or mantra or motto. As it happens, writing these things is how I make my living. Tagline Jim is my brand. I’m an Evanston resident for going on 20 years, and for the 20 before that I lived in Rogers Park, but spent much of my time here.
I’d be willing to take on this challenge – in a pro bono way – of coming up with a set of words that captures or expresses what’s special, unique, great about Evanston. However, it would be conditional on working directly with whomever the decision-maker[s] is/are in matters of this sort. I would need to have an hour or so discussion in which they would convey their thoughts on just what this slogan/motto/mantra/tagline ought to be about, how it should feel and what it should evoke. Based on that insight, I would get to work on what I call a “tagline exploration.” Two weeks later, I would present a list of 20 or 30 candidates to these decision makers.
My question to you is this: You seem to be in the know. Can you point me in the direction of the person you think would be the best person to approach with this idea?
Credentials-wise, I refer you to my website,
Thanks for any guidance you can provide. Stoically, – Tagline Jim Morris
From TG: Ad-hoc committees are very popular here, so maybe you could even start one yourself. Or contact Ms. Miller, the next reader/writer.

TG: Re: a new nickname or slogan for Evanston: How about what I often see on a license plate on a car parked in my neighborhood – Hvnston. I like that! – Lynn Miller
From TG: Thanks, Ms. Miller. More than a century ago, when Evanston was a lot smaller and younger, Frances Willard called it “Heavanston.” In some ways it may still be a small town: TG is pretty sure who the driver of that car is.

The Traffic Guy thinks …
… that there is nothing more glorious than summer in Evanston.

… that, if the City is going to celebrate Native American Day instead of Columbus Day out of respect for Native Americans, perhaps it should consider renaming the road named for General “The only good Indian is a dead Indian” Sheridan for someone more compassionate.

Perhaps it’s fitting that the annual Race Against Hate, coming this weekend will be run along good old Sheridan Road.