… that over the past two months folks, mainly in the First Ward, have been pondering the development that will probably go into 1714-20 Chicago Ave., known to most residents as the Library parking lot. Here’s a panorama of the property.
… that the City will purchase a recycling truck from R.N.O.W. Incorporated of West Allis, Wis., for about $255,000. Those guys are heavy-lifters.
… that the City will pay $214,000 to Duncan Solutions and Passport Parking for their services to Evanston’s 1,736 ever-friendlier meters. As many readers know, parkers can now pay by cell phone (with a 35₵ upcharge, paid to Passport Parking).
… that there is a wealth of maps on the City’s website: maps of public parks, police beats, refuse collection, truck routes, bike routes, snow routes, street sweeping zones, zoning and ward and precinct maps, and general City maps. There is also a street index for the 147 miles of streets (and, by adumbration, probably) the 76 miles of alley in this old town.
… that, speaking of unhappy neighbors, some residents around the 1700 block of Hinman are hoping that the building at 1726 Hinman will receive landmark status and thus not be demolished – as is the present plan.
… that GasBuddy.com reports that gas prices in the Chicago area fell nearly 8 cents
per gallon last week. TG invites readers to send in Evanston gas prices.
… that traffic was the subject of a question for Ninth Ward aldermanic candidates at a forum last week. (“What can be done?”) There is quite a variety of traffic here in Evanston: foot, bike, wheelchair, motorcycle, skateboard, scooter, tricycle, stroller. And we all have to share the steets and sidewalks. One response was a call for a master plan to help divert cars from the residential areas, because, yes, there will always be cars. And now, with the widespread (at least here) discontent with the new administration in Washington, folks in Evanston can continue to expect walkouts, such as the ETHS march two weeks ago.
Speaking of sidewalks …
From our readers: TG: Once again walkers risk sheets of ice on sidewalks that have been built below grade. I have written to the City and RoundTable before to complain about this problem. However, today I saw a very amusing example. At the park with the ice rink on Central Street, city workers were breaking the ice on the sidewalk to pump off the water with a little engine-powered pump.
Why not just build the sidewalks above grade as they are being replaced? – James L. Moore
From TG: You are absolutely correct, Mr. Moore. The City should definitely have above-grade sidewalks, and your suggestion about building replacement sidewalks above-grade is spot on.
TG: Several months ago the Chicagoist email blog had an article entitled “16 reasons why I will not ride my bike in the city bike paths.” He was of course referring to the ones that went on the curb side of parked cars like Lake Street from Oak Park to the Loop. I have yet to meet a cyclist, and I meet many, who think they are a good idea.
In Evanston I also will not ride in the bike lanes on Church, Davis and Chicago Avenue. Let me tell you why. A few months ago I was riding east on Church near the tracks. A car door on the right burst open and three children and a granddad piled out right in front of me. They never looked. Neither drivers nor passengers are accustomed to the right-sided exit being dangerous for all involved.
Fifty meters further on I came within a millimeter of being hit by an Evanston police car making a right turn along the tracks over to Davis. I stopped in the nick of time. He did not. He was not a dangerous driver. He just did not see me because of the parked SUVs. Further aggravations are the fact that these lanes are never cleaned and always filled with leaves, branches, and rubble, though this is a bit worse on Lake Street in Chicago.
I have a decision to make, always on the bike, as to what is the safest way to ride. Every cyclist thinks of this all the time. These bike lanes are fundamentally dangerous. No sane cyclist would have thought them up. When I have to decide whether to obey the law or safety, safety wins every time. – Regards, Rick Nelson
From TG: Thanks, Mr. Nelson. You have really encapsulated the dangers of “protected” bike lanes that too often expose rather than protect.
TG: Open Letter to Alderman Miller: Thank you for serving on the City Council. I know it is long hours and hard work, without a lot of thanks.
I saw in the Evanston Roundtable you said that the city spends a lot of money on bike lanes and divvy bikes, and that though they look good they “don’t really benefit the citizen every day.”
I disagree. I ride the bike lanes nearly every day, as does my wife and children. This benefits not only us, but everyone in Evanston, including those who exclusively drive. By riding to errands, school and work we reduce carbon emissions, congestion, and make the roads safer. We free up parking. If there were more lanes, and more people rode bikes, our community would be safer and healthier.
I hope you give this some serious thought. In my experience many people who exclusively drive cars don’t believe cycling should be supported as a mode of transportation. And yet it is car drivers who most benefit from cyclists.
Most seriously, climate change is upending our environment, and threatens the lives of millions of people and thousands of species. We must be open to changing our own behavior to save lives. Through wise legislation and substantial resources, our government was able to save many lives by reducing smoking. Certainly giving up smoking is harder than cutting back on a few car trips. But to bring about the change that the climate crisis demands we will need wise leadership and resources. I hope Evanston can count on you. – John Hennelly
From TG: Thanks for your letter. TG agrees that climate change is becoming a crisis, if it is not already so. Everyone needs to reduce carbon emissions.
The Traffic Guy thinks …
… that the lack of snow this winter has certainly made lots of debris apparent. Why wait until official Spring Cleanup days to bag up some of that ugliness along parkways and streets?
… that Punxsatawney Phil saw his shadow a week ago, indicating to some that there will be six more weeks of winter. Evanston will have six more weeks of campaigns. Does anyone think that Evanston squirrels would be better prognosticators than Pennsylvania groundhogs?