Some critter has been munching on this gourd totem pole.RoundTable photo

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… that there are great plans for rebuilding the 1.9-mile stretch of Sheridan Road from the curve at Chicago to Isabella, such as widening the road to accommodate a two-way protected bike lane on the east (campus) side of the road. Sheridan will continue to have four lanes for vehicle traffic – two in each direction – between the intersection with Chicago Avenue at the south end of campus to Northwestern Place. From Northwestern Place north to Central Street, Sheridan will have one lane of vehicle traffic in each direction with a turning lane in the middle, the City reports. The project also includes bus loading/unloading areas on Sheridan to enable Northwestern shuttle buses and CTA buses to pull in at designated stops without blocking traffic. The bike lanes will be routed east of the pull-in areas and will have their own dedicated traffic signals. The speed limit on Sheridan will be 25 mph.
The project would also include extending the two-way bike lane south from the campus on Chicago to Davis, thus linking the campus with downtown Evanston and points west via the Church and Davis protected bike lanes, and adding bike lanes north to connect with bike lanes on Sheridan Road in Wilmette. The City also promises updated traffic signals with separate bike signals at major intersections.
Some NU students said they are annoyed at the prospect of Sheridan’s eight-foot-wide bike lane – which would be separated from vehicle traffic by a one-foot-wide pavement buffer and three-foot-wide concrete median – because they would have to cross Sheridan at intersections rather than wandering across at any old place, as many do now. Others have suggested that the NU section of Sheridan be closed to vehicular traffic.
 First Ward Alderman Judy Fiske has suggested “creating a bike ‘safe route’ via Emerson to Orrington, reprogramming traffic signals to reduce conflicts between vehicles, bikes and pedestrians, and establishing ‘pedestrian islands’ when Sheridan is reconstructed next year.”  
The segment between Chicago and Lincoln will be rebuilt next year and the part from Lincoln north the following year. It’s a two-year, $13 million project, with the City putting in most of the money, but NU is kicking in $1 million – well, sort of. NU is giving the City $1 million a year for five years (this is year two) but also getting some say in how the money will be spent.

… that Chicago between Dempster and Hamilton was temporarily reconfigured last Friday while a crane hoisted some HVAC units onto the roof of a building at 1224 Chicago.

… that signs of autumn are all around – asters and chrysanthemums in bloom, and the roses, hydrangeas and Japanese anemones are about to bow out. The gingkoes are starting to turn yellow and will drop their leaves suddenly in a few weeks. But what makes it fall in Evanston is leaf-blowers. The City reports that on Sept. 30, the Evanston Health & Human Services Department, in collaboration with the Community Development Department’s Building and Inspection Services Division and the Public Works Agency, completed an all-day leaf blowing inspection. Twenty-three notices of violation were issued to property owners and landscapers for blowing leaves into the street. Blowing or raking leaves into the street can block sewers and cause flooding. The City encourages residents to dispose of leaves using a reusable yard waste cart or in paper yard waste bags affixed with a City of Evanston yard waste sticker. TG thinks a better, greener way to use the leaves as mulch on the yard and garden for the winter.

… that skunks are on the prowl in the pre-dawn hours. A couple walking in the arboretum recently just before sunrise came across two. It was so dark, one walker reported, that the skunk’s white stripe almost seemed to float above the ground. Or maybe it was a ghostie, getting ready for the Zombie Scramble that will take place there in a few days.

… that, there are turtles in the canal.

… that the City has hired Hampton, Lenzini and Renwick, Inc. of Elgin to conduct a topographical survey and other prep work on various street segments that are programmed for water improvements: Howard from Dodge to Ashland; Lee from Brown to Dewey; and Grant from Cowper to Lawndale. The firm will also survey Chicago from Main to Howard, which will be resurfaced in the future. The cost will be about $40,000.

… that the City has contracted with  Visu-Sewer of Bridgeview to rehab 2,577 feet of combined sewer main ranging in size from 8-inch diameter to 18-inch diameter at 15 different sites. The cost will be about $100,000.

… that State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey at U. of I. reports that September was the sixth-warmest on record, tied with September 2005. Statewide records go back to 1895. The statewide average temperature was 70.7 degrees, 4.5 degrees above normal. This year, September was tied in sixth place with 2005. The warmest September on record was a tie between 1933 and 1925 with a statewide average temperature of 72.2 degrees. September rainfall was 3.47 inches for a statewide average, which is just 0.24 inches above normal.

 … that Gatecrasher IPA, made right here in Evanston by Temperance Brewery, won first place in Category 55: English-Style India Pale Ale at the 2016 Great American Beer Festival. Gatecrasher won the gold among 43 entries.

From our readers TG: I am writing to highlight the fact that honking vehicles can sometimes be a public nuisance, not only for pedestrians, but also for people trying to enjoy a cup of coffee at one of the outdoor cafes around Evanston. When a pedestrian is walking by a vehicle and the driver is locking the car at that moment, and using a loud horn sound to signify the locking action, the sound can be startling to say the least. Is there anything that the City is doing to minimize this type of noise pollution?  Another scenario is when drivers use their horn as a signal for the next vehicle in a line of traffic to get moving: This seems an unnecessary use of the horn, when a microsecond of patience is usually all that is needed. In addition to the visual beauty that Evanston has to offer, why not try to create better aural environment?
Thanks for reading.   – Margaret E. Schott

From TG: TG wholeheartedly agrees. And unnecessary honking is a violation of 9-5-20 of the City code, which states in part, “It shall be unlawful for any person within the City to make, continue, or permit any loud, unnecessary or unusual noise which annoys a reasonable person of ordinary sensibilities, disturbs, injures or endangers the comfort, health, peace or safety of others within the limits of the City. Noise in violation of this Section is a public nuisance.” Among the acts “declared to be loud, disturbing and unnecessary noise in violation of this Section” (and this is not inclusive) are car alarms lasting more than four minutes, loud mufflers, and “The sounding of any horn or signaling device on any automobile, motorcycle, or other vehicle on any street or public place of the City, except as a danger warning; the creation by means of any such signaling device of any unreasonably loud or harsh sound; the sounding of any such device for an unnecessary and unreasonable period of time; the use of any horn, whistle, or other device operated by engine exhaust; and the use of any such signaling device when traffic is for any reason held up.” The police have the authority to abate these noise nuisances, and there is a penalty for violations – but the police are pretty busy doing other things. Courtesy may be the only hope.

TG: Can you find out why it is that the City requires an abandoned car to sit on the street for 10 days before it will even accept notification? Then it takes three business days for 311 to come out and look at the car, and once tagged, it takes another 10 days before it is towed.  So in other words, abandoned cars sit on the street for 23 days before the City does anything about it. I don’t get it. Why not just run the license plate and send the owner a letter notifying them that the car will be towed if they don’t move it within X days?

From TG: Although the RoundTable does not generally respond to anonymous letters or comments, TG thought it worth contacting the City for an answer. Here is the response via the Evanston Police Department: Citizens are allowed to report abandoned cars to 311 right away; there is no waiting period. Once the request is received then it is sent to the Traffic Office. It is possible that if the request is received on a Friday no one would be assigned this investigation until Monday as long as Monday is not a holiday. There are occasions were special events are taking place such as a Northwestern Football game. If the investigation hits on a day like this, it would delay a response for an officer to investigate. Once an “Abandoned” investigation is received and investigated, if the officer believes that the vehicle is abandoned then the vehicle will be tagged and placed on a list to be towed. If the vehicle remains unmoved for 7 days, then it will be towed.

The Traffic Guy thinks …
… that early risers could have a nice view of the Orionid meteor shower before dawn tomorrow. Earthsky.com reports, “On a dark, moonless night, the Orionids exhibit a maximum of about 10 to 20 meteors per hour. But, in 2016, the waning gibbous moon will be out during the morning hours before sunrise, when the Orionid meteors fall most abundantly.

… These fast-moving meteors occasionally leave persistent trains. They sometimes produce bright fireballs, so watch for them to flame in the sky. If you trace these meteors backward, they seem to come from the Club of the famous constellation Orion the Hunter.”

… that early voting begins Monday. Please Vote.