The island south of Fountain Square is in pretty good shape. The drinking fountain will likely be activated when weather permits, and the anemo-meter when the fountain on the main plaza is complete.RoundTable photo

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… that Crown Castle contractors are installing an underground telecommunications line along Chicago and Howard. The work is expected to end no later than Feb. 28, according to the City. Work hours are Monday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
On Howard from Chicago Avenue to Paulina, traffic will be shifted so construction vehicles and equipment can occupy the north side of the street during construction, while maintaining two-way traffic at all times. Lanes will return to normal during non-working hours. Parking on the south side of Howard Street will not be allowed. Parking meters will be hooded, and signs will be posted. Traffic will be reduced to one lane when passing underneath the CTA overpass near Paulina Street, and flagging personnel will be on site to direct drivers accordingly.
On Chicago Avenue, between Howard Street and Juneway Terrace, traffic lanes will be reduced, and there will be flaggers to direct drivers during certain periods of construction.

…. that construction around town is pretty much dormant, so folks can pretty much get to their destinations. This down time can be useful in a lot of ways – figuring out the best route to a frequent destination, finding new parking places, learning how to use all the different parking meters scattered around town, and even rediscovering the convenience of public transportation.  
Although the renovation of Fountain Square has been stalled by company – not City – problems the south island is looking pretty good.

… that folks have reported seeing a fox enjoying the early morning in northwest Evanston. TG would be interested in receiving photos of winter fauna – and flora, if the warm weather returns.

… that, speaking of flora and fauna, Canal Shores – that is, the Evanston Wilmette Golf Course Association – has a master ecological plan to restore wetlands, extirpate invasive species, preserve wildlife and native flora. The golf course is located along the North Shore Channel (hence the nickname) on land leased from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. Construction began on the North Shore Channel in 1908. The cost was about $3.8 million, and the dirt from the project was used for Wilmette’s Gilson Park. Can’t Evanston reclaim that? Last year the course was designated a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. It’s a lovely, quiet place to walk, and no doubt will be even more enjoyable once the master plan has been implemented. Seventh Ward Alderman Eleanor Revelle will hold a meeting at 7 p.m. on Feb. 13 in the Civic Center’s Parasol Room, at which folks can learn about the plan – and the plans – for the golf course.

… that, according to’s daily survey of 1,437 gas outlets in Chicago, average retail gas prices fell 1.1 cent per gallon in the last week of January, to about $2.77 per gallon.

From our readers: We have the best readers. They have the best words.

TG: Thanks for highlighting conditions along Dodge from Oakton to Main, in the Dec. 28, 2017, RoundTable. Left out was access to the 93 & 206 buses & compromised crossings due to the bike lanes. Moreover, similar staggered side streets exist off Asbury south of Oakton and Oakton east of Dodge, both served by the 206 bus. As you informed us back on Oct. 19, we’ll seewhether IDOT actually cuts through curbs, installs ramps, and provides a State-mandated crossing at Oakton and Dewey, as the two-year-old posted lime green signs seem to indicate.  – Fred J. Wittenberg

From TG: Thanks, Mr. Wittenberg.
As you said, we shall see.

TG: I just wanted to comment on what to do with Ridge Road between Howard and Green Bay.  It seems to me the major difficulty is that the lanes are too narrow.  Is there no way the road could be three lanes, with the middle lane being a left turn only from either direction?  There might be the occasional slowdown when pedestrians are crossing and folks want to go right, but larger lanes would be more forgiving in general and, I assume, result in fewer accidents.  Buses and large trucks already take more than the prescribed space, and it feels difficult to pass safely even when all is seemingly clear.  – Kelly Baldrate

From TG:
Thanks, Ms. Baldrate. Your sensible suggestion, to increase the width of the lanes on Ridge, takes TG back to a firestorm many years ago about the stoplights on Ridge. The State, as TG recalls, wished to widen the lanes and replace the post-top traffic lights with mast-arm lights. Because Ridge runs through an historic district, residents, neighbors, and those in favor of preservation prevailed upon the City to keep the post-top lights by not widening Ridge. Perhaps your suggestion will cast things in a new light.

TG: When the City reconfigured the traffic lanes where southbound Green Bay turns onto McCormick, they reduced the through lanes on Green Bay to one, moved the turn lane over one lane, bumped out the curb and created four or five parking spaces in what used to be a perfectly good turn lane. This effectively ruined the flow through at that intersection and now the cars at rush hour routinely back up through the stop light at Lincoln. To avoid the intersection at McCormick cars now go straight on Lincoln, zooming past the school and turn down Prairie, where they proceed at breakneck speed down to the intersection with McCormick, maybe slowing down for the stop signs if they feel like it. My question actually concerns the parking spaces on the corner by Kingsley. Since their inception they have been used as parking spaces for three or four commercial trucks, not even City vehicles. Who are these people and why do they get to park there? And what about the crummy traffic flow issue?  – Peter Anderson

From TG: Thank you for your observations, Mr. Anderson. TG has forwarded the question about who’s parking in the lane that the City said was designated for Kingsley parents dropping off their kids. TG agrees that the traffic flow on Green Bay and Ridge is sluggish but is not certain that the problem is wholly attributable to that additional lane. There are a lot of stop lights (see last issue’s column about coordinating the 21 lights that affect traffic between Church and Howard) and a lot of drivers using Ridge instead of Sheridan. As for rude and careless speeders on Lincoln and Prairie, maybe a traffic cop there at certain times would help.

The Traffic Guy thinks …
… whatever the weather, it’s a good always a good time to pick up those scraps of paper, bottle tops, and other things that worm their way out of garbage and recycling carts onto lawns and parkways.