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… that, before last week’s snow, some walkers saw this heron perched on a fallen tree above the canal.

……that Burke Engineering will be the contractor for Phase 1 engineering (ascertaining environmental impacts, etc.) for the Howard Street Corridor Improvement project, which will resurface the street from Dodge to Chicago and likely modernize the traffic signals at Asbury and at Custer. The City has applied for $2.4 million Surface Transportation Program federal funds from North Shore Council of Mayors, and the Phase 1 part, expected to be completed by the end of the year, will cost $289,000. Readers know, of course, that Chicago and Evanston share Howard Street, so the City has to negotiate with Chicago about who pays for what, how wide the street will be, etc. But though the cities share jurisdiction, Evanston owns the “northernmost 60% of the right-of-way,” according to the City.

… that the City is lining up repairs for its fleet, to be used as needed over the next year. It will purchase $86,000 of Original Equipment Manufacturer parts and service from Golf Mill Ford Inc. and a year of tire repair and recap service through a renewed contract with Wentworth Tire Service of Bensenville. City staff said they would use these out-of-town businesses because no local business could be found to fill these needs.

… that the Fire Department is getting some new equipment: 35 thermal-imaging cameras and 38 self-contained breathing apparatus units. The Evanston Foreign Fire Tax Board, which is purchasing the cameras, provided this information; “After many years and thousands of dollars, the Evanston Foreign Fire Tax Board has been able to purchase a thermal imaging camera for every riding position in the fire department’s fleet. This amounts to 35 thermal-imaging cameras at a cost of $123,000. Thermal-imaging cameras provide firefighters the ability to essentially see through smoke, making for more rapid and thorough searches, better communication between firefighters, and the ability to find the seat of the fire quicker. The first thermal-imaging camera was purchased in 1989 for $12,500 dollars. In today’s market, a thermal-imaging camera can be purchased for $1,295.”

… that the City will spend about $1.4 million to resurface seven street segments this summer, allocated from the Motor Fuel Tax funds. The resurfacing could include replacing curbs and sidewalk ramps: Cowper from Grant to Harrison; Dobson from Hartrey to Grey; Grey from Foster to the north end; Hinman from Kedzie to Main; Livingston from Green Bay to Broadway; South from Asbury to Ridge; and Wesley from Dempster to Grove.

… that Schroeder & Schroeder of Skokie will receive about $210,000 to replace City sidewalks this season. When requested by homeowners, the City will pay half on the replacement costs if the damage is typical wear and tear. The City foots the bill for portions of sidewalk upended, etc., by roots of parkway trees. Schedule of sidewalk replacements TBA. Speaking of sidewalks, Third Ward Alderman Melissa Wynne reports, “The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has approved a new crosswalk at Forest Avenue and South Boulevard. The City is designing sidewalk curb extensions, high visibility markings, and stop-for-pedestrian signage. We are pleased that IDOT is listening to us about pedestrian safety. Construction will occur as early in the season as possible.”

… that J. A. Johnson Paving Company of Arlington Heights will continue pavement patching for another year, and Ozinga of Chicago will supply concrete and flowable fill for various City infrastructure needs. Although based in Chicago, Ozinga has a concrete plant in Evanston.

… that Hoerr Construction, Inc., of Peoria will be roaming in and around Evanston’s sewers in June, rehabilitating 4,301 feet of combined sewer main ranging in size from 8-inch diameter to 27-inch diameter at 13 different sites.

… that Venus’s last day of being the evening star this season will be March 25, when it will pass between the Earth and the sun, as Debra Byrd writes in earthsky.org, thereby leaving the evening sky. Even now, it is, at best, a very thin crescent.

… that people waited in line for more than an hour with temperatures in the 20s to gain access to Whole Foods Market South and its 50% off everything prices. One RT staff member waited and waited and after an hour was still not in the door. Although the store was supposed to close on March 19, it was shuttered a week early. Food left on the shelves went to a food pantry.

… that the post office on Davis Street is now the Abner J. Mikva Post Office. The official name change and dedication took place on March 13. The name not only honors a great lawmaker and judge, it could also minimize confusion between that post office, which was sometimes called the “main post office” and the Main Street post office.

… that crews from Landscape Concepts Management, Inc. of Grayslake will maintain the Union Pacific Railroad embankment along Green Bay from Isabella to Central, from Noyes to Foster, and other formally planted areas along the embankment. They will clean up litter and debris weekly, cut down old growth and replant as necessary. A memo from Public Works Agency Director David Stoneback and Environmental Services Bureau Chief Paul D’Agostino advises, “The mass cutting of these areas does not include the removal of any mature trees.”

… that Phase 1 of the Chicago Avenue/Sheridan Road Corridor Improvement Project will begin Monday, with work on Chicago between Grove and Sheridan. Drivers in the area should watch for “No Parking” signs on Chicago and for lane closures, but the City promises one lane will be open in each direction and that patrons will have access to the businesses there. Street resurfacing and bike lane construction should be complete by early June.

The Traffic Guy thinks …
… that the City did a good job of spreading the word that street sweeping began on March 1, and things were going pretty well until last week’s snow. For a couple of days, snow removal trumped street-sweeping, but by this week, street-sweeping was on again.

From our readers: TG: Can The Traffic guy please address why at least 100 trees on the west side of the Metra tracks on Sherman between (I think) Lake and Elmwood were chopped down? I was just shocked – it was carnage. It is hard to believe they were all sick or all ash trees.

From TG: Paul D’Agostino, Environmental Services Bureau Chief in the City’s Public Works Department, sent this answer: “As I suspected, these trees were cut (and others trimmed) by ComEd’s tree trimming contractor to clear the overhead utility wires. The section affected is along Sherman from Lake to Greenwood. South of Greenwood, the overhead wires shift to the west, so that embankment was not affected. ComEd notifies the City prior to their tree trimming activities, but when they trim trees on private property we cannot control how much they are allowed to do. In this case, Union Pacific most likely agreed to what was done.”

… that everyone who can vote should make an effort to do so, on or before April 4. In May, Evanston will have a new mayor and two newly configured school boards and a newly configured City Council.