Cold comfort from the Union Pacific.

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… that the deep snow a couple of weeks ago netted the City some revenue in towing and ticketing: 93 tows and 188 tickets on Feb. 9, and 204 tows and 436 tickets the following day. Many residents were able to park in City garages and other non-vulnerable spots. Check out the pic on page 22 of some fifth-graders from Washington School shoveling snow.
Gone with the thaw.     RoundTable photo  

… that, still looking to control traffic flow on Ridge, the City has reduced the speed limit on Ridge between Emerson and Howard from 30 to 25 miles per hour. Coming soon but on a trial basis: a split-phase traffic signal at Lake and Ridge, similar to the one at Main and Ridge.

… that another traffic-control measure will be in northwest Evanston, establishing one-way south traffic on Hurd between Isabella and Park and one-way north traffic on Central Park between Park and Isabella during drop-off and pickup hours at Willard School.

… that the City plans to revise the street-sweeping schedule. City staff members have the following recommendations:
• moving all street-sweeping to Tuesday/Wednesday from the current schedule of Thursday/Friday;
• starting with Zone 4 this year, since it is the zone that would benefit the most from this change;
• changing the remaining three zones one zone per year, “so as to not be a strain on both budget and manpower, as well as give residents a time to adjust;”
• removing the special-area sweeping in zone 4;
• moving the 4 a.m.-7 p.m. residential two-sided street cleaning back to the daytime sweeping schedule of 9 a.m. -1 p.m. and Noon-4 p.m.

Residents should watch for notices about the changes and be alert to the signs, which will have new stickers in the affected areas. Here is a list of the residential overnight street-sweeping areas that are proposed to be shifted to daytimes:
  Sweeping Zone 1:
2900 – 3300 blocks of Harrison: return to days Noon-4 p.m. (Ward 6)
2700 block of Hurd: return to days Noon-4 p.m. (Ward 6) – Near School
2900-2800 blocks of Lincoln: return to days Noon-4 p.m. (Ward 6)
2200-2700 blocks of Lincoln: return to days 9 a.m.-1 p.m. (Ward 6+7)
2500-2600 blocks of Ewing: return to days 9 a.m.-1 p.m. (Ward 6)
2600-2700 blocks of Payne: return to days 9 a.m.-1 p.m. (Ward 6)
2800-2900 blocks of Payne: return to days 9 a.m.-1 p.m. (Ward 6)

Sweeping Zone 2:
1300-1400 blocks of Rosalie: return to days Noon-4 p.m. (Ward 7)
2600 block of Orrington: return to days Noon-4 p.m. (Ward 7) – Near School
1000, 1200 & 1700 blocks of Judson: return to days 9 a.m.-1 p.m. (Ward 3+1)
1100-1200 blocks of Hinman: return to days 9 a.m.-1 p.m. (Ward 3)
300-500 blocks of Hamilton: return to days 9 a.m.-1 p.m. (Ward 3)
100-500 blocks of Greenleaf: return to days (Ward 3)

Sweeping Zone 3:
800 block of Greenwood: return to days 9 a.m.-1 p.m. (Ward 3)
1300 block of Grove: return to days Noon-4 p.m. (Wards 2, 4) – Near School
1500 block of Lake: return to days Noon-4 p.m. (Ward 2) – Near School
1400 block of Wesley: return to days 9 a.m.-1 p.m. (Ward 4)
1500-1600 blocks of Wesley: return to days Noon-4 p.m. (Ward 2 and 4) – Near School

 … that the City plans to have an online application for permits for oversize and overweight trucks. The application and processing will be done by Oxcart Permits Systems of Palatine. More than 50 municipalities already use Oxcart, so truck drivers should be familiar with it. Apparently, the City processes more than 250 such applications each year; anticipated revenue is about $20,000.

… that Woodstock Willie and Punxsutawney Phil saw their shadows on Feb. 2, signaling to those who believe that humans would have six more weeks of winter. The lake and the lakefront, though, still could have some rough days ahead. As readers may know, it’s not clear if or when the dog beach will resurface. The Dempster Beach office renovations are approaching the $300,000 budget ceiling, with a new change order of about $5,000. The change order for engineering services for the reconstruction of the south pier at Church Street increases the contract with SmithGroup JJR of Chicago by $8,000 to $98,500 – not a large change – but it extends the time by 455 days, until March 31, 2019. The entire project is expected to cost $625,000.

… that, speaking of the lakefront, the City is coming up with a way to ensure that homeowners of lakefront property here – there are 42 – comply with federal, state, and other regulations when they mess around with the shoreline. The eastern (that is, water) edge of the property is “the water’s edge as it exists over time, at rest” – a fluid definition for sure. As homeowners construct seawalls and breakwaters to protect their properties, they cannot fill in the lake to give themselves more land. Talk like this always makes TG wonder what NU is going to do with those 50 or so acres of lake bottom to the east of the lakefill, purchased in the 1960s before people started thinking much about the public trust doctrine.

… that State Climatologist Jim Angel reports that last month was colder and drier than normal. The statewide average temperature was 24.1 degrees, 2.3 degrees below normal. The statewide average precipitation (rain and water content of snow) was only 1.31 inches, 0.76 inches below normal.  By the end of January, 54.9% of the Illinois was either abnormally dry or in the early stages of drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Although January was somewhat dry, especially in the region around St. Louis, the overall drought conditions are the result of many months of dryness. In winter, drought conditions evolve very slowly with few demands on water supplies and soil moisture.

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

TG: I thought you might be interested in this note, which was posted in the Central Street Metra station recently, near the now-vacant space where the Upstairs Café used to be. Metra has not yet replaced the Café – we riders miss it.
– Jean P. Keleher

From TG: Shortsightedness does not seem to have many virtues, as the Union Pacific is demonstrating with this space.

TG: A typical scene at the Green Bay and Emerson intersection at 4 p.m. on Feb. 12. Notice the red light on Green Bay. I had already sat through three light cycles at this point. Any chance this will ever get better?   – Julie Lipkin

From TG: TG often quotes the Tin Woodsman, whose prediction may be applicable in this case: “Things will get worse before they get better.” Installation of a mast-arm light at Clark and Ridge – just south of the Emerson/Ridge/Green Bay maw – was postponed because of the weather, but, as TG writes this, is likely to begin soon. During the expected two weeks of construction, according to the City, “Drivers can expect daily [9 a.m. – 4 p.m.] lane closures on northbound Ridge Avenue and at the intersection of Emerson/Ridge and Ridge/Green Bay. Construction activities will create some inconveniences for the abutting businesses and residents, but workers will attempt to minimize these issues.” But once the mast arm traffic light and overhead signs pointing to specific lanes for Green Bay and Ridge have been installed, traffic jams should abate. Further, the coordination of the traffic lights along Ridge from Emerson to Howard and the reduced speed limit should help. Drivers westbound on Emerson wishing to turn north onto Green Bay may still have to wait – but taking Ridge north to Noyes or Lincoln instead and then returning to Green Bay could (not necessarily promising anything here) could ease the irritation and the travel/waiting time.

The Traffic Guy thinks …
… that these next few weeks will be a good time to visit the lake and pay attention to the shoreline and see what the wind and waves have done to the sand. Evanstonians are fortunate to be living on the edge of Lake Michigan, and this is a chance to see the ravages of this sometimes serene, sometimes roiling body of water.