… The year in traffic: bungled bike lanes, reduced speed limits, trees planted, trees lost, snow parking, street cleaning, bird sanctuary, no détente but more injuries and one death from bike-vehicle collisions. TG would call this a year of little progress. Of course, things are a mosaic and it could be that these fits and starts will coalesce in a few years into something beneficial and livable. But for now, TG would write 2016 off the books as “inchoate” and hope for better next year. In the meantime, as TG wishes every year, may peace prevail on earth.

… that the speed limit on Dodge between Simpson and Howard will be reduced to 25 from 30.

…that the arctic freeze just before Christmas made it for a time colder in Evanston than in Barrow. But that was before the solstice, when winter officially sets in and daylight increases.

… that the lakefront path along NU’s athletic fields will be closed through Jan. 3 because of utilities work. The paths around the music building and Norris Center will remain open, as will a new path along the new Kellogg building.

… that in a few weeks the City will replace 14 street light poles on Seward between Dodge and Wesley as a pilot to see how folks like them. The decision was made to purchase these poles instead of Tallmadge poles, so everyone who has an interest in the Tallmadges should drive around that area and let the City folks know their reaction both to the poles and to the LED lighting there. This new type of pole is $900 less than a Tallmadge, and of course the brighter LED lighting saves energy. The City has been looking for a substitute for the Tallmadges, because those poles have seven parts, and “rainwater can seep into the foundation and deteriorate the bolts that secure the pole to the concrete foundation.” TG expects that many readers have seen these old poles with their parts slightly askew. At any rate, the new poles are said to be similar to Tallmadges but, per the City, “are constructed as one solid piece that is rust and corrosion proof” and are expected to last about a century. Everyone should look at them carefully.

… that the alley south of the 800 block of Foster and east of the CTA tracks will be improved and changed, for the most part, into a parking lot. The right of way there is 50 feet, not the typical 16-20 feet, so the City feels there is room for the alley and a parking lot with 34 spaces, which could garner the City more than $20,000 per year in parking fees.

… that, speaking of parking, the City approved the increase in the municipal parking tax for monthly permits in City-owned parking garages. With the increase, which figured into the budget for FY 17, the tax will be $35 per month, $10 per month more than before.

… that the City will purchase a Caterpillar 100 kW portable generator for standby use at the Data Centers at the Service Center and at the Police/Fire Headquarters’ 911 Center. Apparently, the City had its own portable generator in place from about 2005 till November of 2014, when the generator was no longer of use. The City has been renting for the past many months, and sees another generator as a better solution.

From our readers: TG: A few weeks ago I called 311 and asked about putting a left turn arrow on Lincoln at Green Bay and on Central at Green Bay. You answered and said not possible since it would cost $250K. I find it interesting that a left turn arrow is on McCormick and Bridge and Green Bay at Simpson, neither of those are as busy as Lincoln and Central especially at rush hour and when school is out.
 Now regarding the new traffic pattern on Green Bay Rd. I can’t image whose idea this was. It is the worst situation I have even seen. Obviously the person who designed it does not travel on Green Bay Rd. and probably doesn’t live in Evanston. Why would they ever take away the 4 lanes and put only 2 with a 3rd turn lane, when this road is so heavily traveled? The 4th lane space is now just dirt with a curb so weeds can grow there also, and a bigger sidewalk on the west side, which is unnecessary. The 3rd tuning lane has arrows between Simpson and Asbury where there is no place to turn on either side. Please notice the traffic at rush hour and when school is out from Lincoln going south it is now backed up almost to Central St. That awful extra lane by Kingsley School that looks like a turn lane but dead ends in to a curb!!  I am sure there has been accidents there as now there is a barricade blocking it. As someone else mentioned the new turn lanes from Ridge to Green Bay are very confusing unless you know how these lanes are designated. I can’t imagine how many accidents will happen there when the snow covers the markings.
Green Bay is a very busy street but to have reduced it to 2 lanes plus turning was not smart at all. And our tax dollar paid for this inconvenience.  – Helen Jaffe,

From TG: Read on!

TG: I have a bird’s eye view of the Ridge/Emerson/Green Bay intersection from where I live, and I’d like to expand on the concerns expressed by another reader in last week’s column. In addition to the observations made about the confusing turn lanes, I am also concerned about the abrupt one-lane curve experienced by southbound traffic just south of Emerson, which may be especially hazardous for motorcycles. We’ll see next spring. During rush hour traffic starting around 3:30 p.m., westbound Emerson between Maple and Ridge is total gridlock. Attempting a westbound turn from northbound Maple is virtually impossible. The Emerson/Maple intersection is often blocked by cars that can’t clear the intersection, and this continues throughout the rush hour period. Although pedestrian traffic might be safer with the new lane configurations, I’m trying to figure out what other traffic benefits were gleaned from this project since it seems worse now than it was before. Could the timing of the traffic signals, or lack thereof, be partly to blame? I live a block away yet I take alternate routes to avoid these intersections during afternoon hours. I never would have expected that.  – Matt Siegel

From TG: In a nutshell – thanks, Mr. Siegel

The Traffic Guy thinks …
… that this might be a new way for folks to park bikes. Drivers – and some bicyclists – say they don’t like the bike corrals, and many still prefer the bollards on Church to whatever bike racks are there – so why not use this method, which TG has deemed “bike cloud storage”?
    Happy New Year, everyone.
    Let’s welcome 2017.