… that Phase 2 of the Sheridan Road project – from Chicago to Lincoln – is supposed to begin June 19 and continue through Sept. 15. The timing is great, because the annual Race Against Hate will still be able to take place there – the day before. The project will include roadway resurfacing and reconstruction; construction of a new protected bike lane; curb and gutter replacement; traffic signal modernization; installation of new water main, storm sewer and drainage structures; new pavement markings; and landscaping. Phase 3, from Lincoln to Isabella, is scheduled for next year, April through October – unless the State budget impasse stalls construction projects here as it did a few years ago. As always, drivers and bikers can expect one lane of traffic in each direction and some congestion. TG is sure the affected businesses are glad that aspect of construction is over. Projects in the downtown area are continuing apace: Fountain Square is getting its long-needed facelift, and the underground parking lot at the Library will be closed for repairs and upgrades through July 9.
… that, despite State and local laws and previous warning, Evanston Police officers snagged several scofflaws during their part in the statewide “Click It or Ticket” campaign between May 15 and 30, issuing the following citations and making the following arrests: 40 citations for seat-belt violations; two citations for failure to restrain a child; two DUI arrests; 25 citations for cell phone violations; six citations for “No Proof of Auto Insurance; three arrests for Driving on a Suspended License; two Possession of Cannabis citations; and 10 other miscellaneous citations. EPD Traffic Supervisor Sergeant Tracy Williams said the campaign was “a way to remind people of the importance of such a simple action [fastening a seat belt].” The most recent data available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that 9,874 of the 22,441 passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes nationwide in 2015 were not belted. Illinois’ seat-belt use rate is 93%, down from 95.2% in 2015. The national seat-belt use rate is at 88.5%, according to NHTSA’s 2015 data. TG wonders how they really know this.
… that, speaking of cars and Memorial Day weekend, gas prices in the Midwest were about as low as they have been since 2005, according to GasBuddy.com. “For those in the Great Lakes, much of the reason for the cheapest Memorial Day in 12 years can be pinned on a smooth transition to summer gasoline, and few major refinery kinks in the area. “We thought last Memorial Day and summer was a terrific time to get out and take a road trip, but it has been a remarkable start to 2017,” said Patrick DeHaan, GasBuddy senior petroleum analyst. Somewhat cheaper for gas, but perhaps more expensive for the planet.
… that Bike to Work Week starts tomorrow and continues through June 23. Early summer is a great time to try it out, so when the winds of autumn and the snows of winter set in, the habit of biking to work will have been ingrained. And to help promote biking, the Main Library will hold its second (and now probably “annual”) Bike Expo from 4 to 6 p.m. on June 18, Father’s Day, featuring bike experts and enthusiasts.
Other Bike to Work Week enticements here are a grab-n-go commuter breakfast from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. on June 16 at the Chicago Avenue/Main Street Branch Library, 900 Chicago Ave.; Everyday Cycles & Motion, 941 Chicago Ave.; and Raymond Park, Lake Street and Chicago Avenue. Free bike tune-ups, offered by Wheel & Sprocket and The Pony Shop will be available at Raymond Park.
Also on June 16, Main-Dempster Mile merchants will commute to work via Divvy Bike.
… that these last long days before summer actually starts imprint “twilight” onto our consciousness. From a June 7 post on EarthSky (from “Earth”): “We have twilight because Earth has an atmosphere. Some light scatters through small particles in the atmosphere – so there’s still some light in the sky even after the sun has gone down.” The post noted that astronomers recognize three different twilights: civil, nautical, and astronomical. Readers will note that, according to EarthSky, the twilights are defined by when they end, not when they begin. Civil twilight starts as soon as the sun dips below the western horizon. Nautical twilight, which begins when it is fairly dark outside, is defined as ending “when a distant line of a sea horizon stops being visible against the background of the sky – about when the sun is 12 degrees below the horizon. And even then some people still call it twilight.”
Astronomical twilight ends when all traces of sky glow are gone – by definition “when the sun is 18 degrees below the horizon. Then astronomers can begin to observe the stars.”
The scientists at EarthSky seemed to feel, as many non-scientists do, that twilight is “that magical time of day that lies between daylight and darkness.” They also wrote, “If you could see twilight from outer space, you’d find that it isn’t marked by a sharp boundary on Earth’s surface. Instead, the shadow line on Earth – sometimes called the terminator line – is spread over a fairly wide area on the surface and shows the gradual transition to darkness we all experience as night falls.”
From our readers: TG: Thought I would respond to the question posed in the recent edition of the RT about where Wilder Street is located in Evanston. It is a very short street that runs from Florence Avenue to Asbury Avenue and is just one block south of Dempster Street and a block north of Crain Street. I know it well, since my partner and I moved there when we first came to Evanston and were married the year we lived in a home on Wilder –
34 years ago. – Dickelle Fonda
From TG: Thanks, Ms. Fonda. TG was hoping at least one person would respond. Wilder is in the RT neighborhood, and maybe things are wilder here in western Evanston. In her book, “The Streets of Evanston,” Janet G. Messenger tells us that Wilder Street is named after Aldin G. Wilder. Wilder had a lumber yard on the northeast corner of Grove and Maple in the 1860s. He also was a co-founder for the St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. Wilder owned land in west Evanston where he produced hay, which was, at the time, the city’s only export. In addition, Wilder advocated for the construction of a drainage canal, which he routed along nearly the exact same path as the North Shore Canal (1907).Now here’s another question (not from a reader): What is the shortest street in Evanston? TG is not sure but has a hunch.
The Traffic Guy thinks …
… that the summer solstice will be at 11:24 p.m. on June 20. There are rituals around the globe, but Western New Agers flock to England to get unhenged – or stoned – or both. Maybe people should check out the Green Bay, Bridge, Emerson, Dempster, Main, Oakton, and Howard street bridges over the canal to see when the sun rises in alignment over them.
And isn’t any sunrise over the lake cause for joy?