Parking meter repurposed to make a change in some lives.RoundTable photo

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… that, as most north-south and south-north drivers know, the work on the Green Bay/Ridge/Golf intersection is almost complete, with freshly painted lane stripes and an additional left-turn lane heading west from Ridge to Emerson. The new configuration has two left turn lanes northbound from Ridge to westbound Golf, instead of one as before. Drivers may remember the three-second left-turn signal from Ridge to westbound Emerson that no one could ever get through. That is now a thing of the past. The left-turn signal at Emerson now lasts long enough for cars to actually turn.

… speaking of construction, TG hears that sewer-rehab crews will be popping up in various parts of town Dec. 5-16.  Specific locations can be found on a map at cityofevanston.org. The City says the work in each location will take about 12 hours to complete – generally between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Everyone should be alert for traffic-pattern changes, “no-parking” areas, and, of course, the crew members themselves.  Residents will have to limit water usage when crews are working in front of their homes.The work, cured-in-place piping, is to be performed by Visu-Sewer of Illinois, LLC. Here’s how the City describes the process: “During sewer rehabilitation, a liner is inserted into the public sewer that will seal the building’s sewer service connection, preventing it from flowing into the public sewer. … The resins used in the lining process are the same resins that have been used in the fiberglass industry for many years, and contain a chemical called styrene that hardens when heated. Although styrene is not a pleasant odor, it is not dangerous at the levels at which people can detect it. Residents are advised to not be alarmed if they smell the chemical while the contractor’s personnel are working in their area. The odor can be prevented from entering buildings by pouring a gallon of water into each basement floor drain regularly.”

… that City Council is on track to adopt a revised definition of “abandoned vehicle.” The proposed amendment to the ordinance would add to the class of abandoned vehicles a vehicle parked on the public way and “has been left on the public way without valid state registration plates or a valid temporary state registration for two or more days.” According to a staff memo accompanying the recommendation for the revision, “Due to the reported increase of non-registered vehicles parked on the public right-of-way, especially around areas that provide vehicle repair, City enforcement agencies have requested a change in the definition of an abandoned vehicle to include those vehicles parked on the public right-of-way that have not complied with the State of Illinois Statute requiring valid registration or a valid temporary registration.” The 48-hour notice is critical, to give the owner or someone time to comply.

… that the City’s Transportation/Parking Committee and City staff have recommend that City Council remove the 12 reserved spaces in City Parking Lot 27 at1621 Oak Ave. increase the number of metered spaces there from 22 to 34. This will allow more customer parking, not only for Smylie Brothers, which is just across the alley, but also for The Barn, Lulu’s (when it opens), Five and Dime, Boltwood, Terra and Vine, and Taco Diablo – to name only those nearby.

… that, speaking of parking meters, some old meters have been repurposed into donation boxes for Connections for the Homeless. There is one at Fountain Square and another at Sherman Plaza. A good place to park spare change.

… that, speaking of downtown, a restaurant with an interesting name, Sushi Burrito, may be coming to 1565 Sherman Ave. About a block south of that, the Holiday Inn is looking to install a couple of illuminated wall signs (about four feet by 17 feet each) at a height about five feet more than zoning allows. Stay tuned.

… that, at 1513 Greenleaf, near the RT offices, a developer would like to replace a one-story brick building with two three-story mixed-use live-work structures. In this area, most commercial stuff is on the corners of the streets and  residential in the middle. This proposal has both in the middle of the block.

… that the CTA Holiday Train is back in season. Stops on the Red Line are scheduled for Dec. 13 and 15, on the Purple Line for Dec. 14 and 16, and for both on Dec. 17. The CTA offers some history and description of the train, which delivers not only the holiday spirit but also baskets of food to various charities: “The CTA Holiday Train began on the Blue Line in 1992 when a “Season’s Greetings from the CTA” sign was placed on the front of an out-of-service train that was used to deliver food to various charities. Over the years, this holiday tradition has evolved from its modest and humble beginnings to a spectacular, joyous sight to see – in daytime or nighttime. Today, as the CTA Holiday Train pulls into each station, Santa waves to the boarding riders from his sleigh on an open-air flatcar carrying his reindeer and decorated holiday trees. Both the Holiday Train and the Elves’ Workshop Train are wrapped with holiday and seasonal images. Thousands of twinkling lights outline the shape of the train and windows, with even more lights running across the tops of the cars.
Strands of multi-colored lights are strung inside the two trains along with red bows, garland, red and green overhead lighting and hand poles wrapped to look like candy canes.”

… that the City will contract with five different vendors to supply water-treatment chemicals: Affinity Chemical of Dallas, Tex., will supply aluminum sulfate (alum) for $118,250; JCI Jones of Grove, Ind., will supply chlorine for $33,044; Mosaic-Fishhawk of Lithia, Fla., will supply HFS acid (fluoride) for $107,400; SNF Polydyne Inc. of Riceboro, Ga., will supply polymer for $23,840; and Carus Corporation of Peru, Ill., will supply blended phosphate for $88,614.

… that, speaking of chemicals, on a quiet morning last month, eight residents of a two-flat on Pitner were taken to local hospitals because of carbon monoxide poisoning. The Fire Department reminds residents to have their heating units serviced and to check the batteries of carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they are working properly.

… that Jennie Atkins of  W.A.R.M. (the Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring) of the Illinois State Water Survey at the University of Illinois, reports that the ground in Illinois is becoming cooler. On Nov. 15, soil temperatures at depths of four inches under bare soil averaged 49.4 degrees in Illinois, a decline of 13.3 degrees from Nov. 1. Temperatures on Nov. 15 ranged from a daily high of 59.3 degrees at Freeport to a low of 42.2 degrees in Carbondale. Nonetheless, these findings show that “temperatures remained higher than the long-term average. Historically, soil temperatures are approximately 8 degrees cooler in mid-November. The higher soil temperatures track the trend seen with the current air temperatures. Illinois air temperatures were 6.3 degrees above the long-term average on Nov. 15.” Moisture in the soil declined an average of 18% between Nov. 3 and Nov. 15.  

 From our readers: TG: Year after year, whenever I’m southbound on Benson, heading to the intersection with Davis, I watch cars move into the right lane, which is very clearly marked for buses only, and they turn right onto Davis from that right lane. In all these years, I’ve never seen a car get a ticket for this illegal maneuver. I’d like to work out a deal with the City. I’ll be glad to stand at that corner and issue tickets to all the scofflaws, and we can split the proceeds 50/50. My only concern is that the City’s stock of traffic tickets will be depleted by the end of day one.                      
Stoically, Jim Morris
From TG: Thank you for your letter, Mr. Morris. TG has often wondered about how cars can use that lane with impunity, and, if they use the center lane – that is, the other southbound lane, whether they can legally turn right on red when it is clear. TG will forward this to the Police Department’s traffic guys and report back.  TG hopes they can take you up on your offer – the streets would be safer and our coffers a little fuller.

The Traffic Guy thinks …
… that Evanstonians should consider shopping, dining, viewing and listening here for their holiday stuff. The free evening (after 5 p.m.) and Saturday parking in the downtown garages and the Chicago Avenue lot (1234 Chicago Ave.)  should encourage that.

… that Evanston has again been designated a “Bicycle Friendly Community” at the Silver Award level by the League of American Bicyclists, and NU was recognized as a “Bicycle Friendly University.” TG thinks that should be a two-way street: Riders should work to make Evanston a “Friendly Bicycle” community, perhaps by not blowing through stop lights and stop signs, sharing the road with other travelers and walking bikes if they are on sidewalks in crowded areas.

Hope everyone can enjoy the last few days of autumn before winter and holiday frenzy set in. Remember, snow parking regulations kick in Dec. 1.