The new ambulance at Fire Station 1 on Emerson.Submitted photo

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… that traffic in the northern parts of the City will likely continue to be snaky and snarled. In addition to the NU construction traffic in the Sheridan/Lincoln area and the single and reconfigured lanes on Green Bay from the massive Green Bay/Emerson/Ridge corridor project, there will be “modified traffic patterns” along Central between Eastwood and Ashland while crews install a new water line at 1620 Central St. Work will take place 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Oct. 6-12, except on Sunday.

… that the City began its 2016 parking lot improvements at three locations on Oct. 3: James Park West Parking Lot (asphalt resurfacing, reconstruction of the lot entrances, landscaping, LED parking lot lighting); Parking Lot #32, 800 Block of Hinman (reconstructing the existing pavement with both conventional asphalt and porous concrete paver blocks; replacing existing lot lighting with new foundations, poles and LED lighting; landscaping, and adding a rain garden to take advantage of the sandy soils in the area); and Police Headquarters Parking Lot, 1454 Elmwood, (asphalt resurfacing, repair of the retaining walls leading to the underground parking area, concrete sidewalk and curb repairs as needed, and remarking of the entire lot).

… that the City entered into a two-year contract with Third Millennium Associates for handling the renewal of the City’s Wheel Tax for approximately 35,000 vehicles. Third Millennium will have to create the application forms and mail them to residents in the fall – between Sept. 1 and Dec. 31. The company will also provide a toll-free telephone number to accept orders with payment by check or credit card and make available purchases through the City’s web page. The cost to the City for these services is $37,000. Residents should watch out for “convenience” charges added for online processing.

… that the City is planning to sell vehicles and buy trees (not an exchange – just two transactions). City Council approved the purchase of 70 trees and planting services for 75 trees from the Suburban Tree Consortium at a cost of $32,191. Most of the trees are 2 inches or 2.5 inches diameter. Residents who request and pay for larger trees will be able to get a 3.5-inch diameter tree. In this Tree City, residents can choose from among five or six different trees for their parkways, and those with an extra $250 can get their parkway trees planted immediately through the City’s Replant Express program – rather than having to wait the typical two years for tree replacement. The surplus vehicles will be sold at public auction at the special Northwest Municipal Vehicle Auction being sponsored by America’s Auto Auctions on or around Oct. 25.  

… that, speaking of vehicles, the Fire Department has added a new ambulance to its fleet, Ambulance 21, operating out of Fire Station 1, 1332 Emerson. The new ambulance, a four-wheel drive Ford F550 chassis with a Horton box, has a better ride, and the 4WD will help first responders navigate through tough Evanston’s winters.
Speaking of winters, the City again has agreements with both school districts to purchase rock salt for their uses – the bulk-pricing is cost-effective for all. This year the price of salt has declined, so the school districts will pay $56.33 per ton, which is $20.38 less per ton than last year. The price includes a charge from the City for its part.

… that a crossing guard, a 25-year old Chicago woman, was hit by a car on Sept. 28 while directing traffic in the 2100 block of Church, near Evanston Township High School. She was struck by a vehicle making a left turn out of an ETHS parking lot to go west on Church, and was cut on her knee, elbow, and forehead. The driver of the vehicle was ticketed for disregarding a crossing guard. And, speaking of accidents, TG and the RT extend condolences to Northwestern University and to the family of NU student Chuyuan “Chu” Qiu, who was killed in an accident last month.  

… that Top Value Review identified Evanston as one of the smartest small towns in America.  Editors selected small towns (a population of 100,000 or less) based on the percentage of the population with advanced degrees, as well as political participation, honored public schools, SAT scores, and an arts presence. Here’s what Top Value Review said about this community: “Evanston, Illinois, is both one of the most sought-after suburbs of Chicago and one of the smartest small towns in America. Continuing the pattern that towns with institutions of higher education seem to also have populations of higher-than-average intelligence, Evanston has some of the most colleges and universities per capita in the entire country. Forty-four percent of its population have a bachelor’s degree, while 39% have graduate degrees. Besides education, Evanston is also a hub for health, and a whopping 37% of all Evanston residents work in one of the two industries.”

… that, speaking of the community as a whole, an October 2016 Chicago Rent Report, published by Apartment List, found that Evanston has the second-highest rent prices in the Chicago metropolitan area. Two-bedroom units have a median rent of $1,800, and median rent prices are up 10.8% from October last year. Market forces are making Evanston less and less affordable.

… that the retail gasoline price in Chicago averaged $2.40 per gallon on Sept. 25, which was 28 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago. On the same day in 2012, the price per gallon was $4.14.  

From our readers:
TG I saw a police officer yelling at a skateboarder at Bike the Ridge this morning, and it made me wonder why there is the prohibition on skateboards on Bike the Ridge. I don’t see a difference between skateboards and scooters, and I saw plenty of those. It seems like an unnecessary downer on what was otherwise a great time had by all. It would be good if you could address it in a future column. – Greg Primosch

From TG: The Police Department, charged with enforcing the law, did not seem to know the origin of the ban – and neither did another City department contacted by the RT. Here is the response from the EPD: A police officer received several complaints that a skateboarder, a 40-year-old male, was being reckless. He said he saw “this man dressed in orange putting the safety of many adult and kids on bikes in jeopardy as he flew up and down the street at high speeds weaving between families and kids on bikes. I see no way that skateboarding could be done safely at this event, especially with the amount of young kids on bikes.”

TG: Why is the ugly metal sports mini soccer field on beautiful Clark Street Beach, and when will it be removed? Our lakefront is fragile and not meant for such an eyesore. Evanston has many soccer fields all over town. The beach has a special purpose – especially one with a new bird sanctuary, dune grasses and pollinator habitat.– Cheryl Henley

From TG: Lawrence Hemingway, the City’s Director of Parks, Recreation and Community Services, told the RT the soccer pitch is temporary and will remain there until Oct. 15. It is not the same one that has been traveling about Evanston but a smaller one the City has moved from park to park. He added, “This soccer pitch has been at the beach since late July and has been extremely popular with our beach users this past summer. It was even heavily used last week by returning NU students before the weather took a turn.”

The Traffic Guy thinks …
… that the recommendation in the City’s Age-Friendly Evanston Action Plan  “to provide safe and efficient mobility for all by promoting rules of the road education for drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians” is a great idea that will benefit everyone. There have been too many tragic accidents in the last year. It would benefit everyone to spell out the rules of the road and sidewalks and expect everyone using the roads and sidewalks to follow them.

… that Abner Mikva Post Office is a good name for the post office on Davis. One hopes the Mikva spirit will pervade the place. And it’s great that some women’s spirits will be in circulation: Harriet Tubman on the front of the new $20; and, on the reverse of $10 bills, celebrating the history of the women’s suffrage movement, will be Lucretia Mott, Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Alice Paul. The Treasury Building will be “alongside” the women’s images. The new $5 bill will have Lincoln on the front and, on the reverse, Marian Anderson and Eleanor Roosevelt. There will be some men as well: Andrew Jackson on the back of the $20; Alexander Hamilton on the front of the $10; and Lincoln on the front of the $5, with Martin Luther King Jr. one of the images on the reverse.