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The Traffic Guy hears … 

… that City crews did a good job of clearing off the streets after last weekend’s snowfall. Some folks were not able to move their cars in time, so the tow-trucks came. The City reports that overnight on the 19th, 104 cars were towed to the pound, involving 10 North Shore Towing trucks, and 118 tickets were issued. On the 20th, during the day, crews towed and relocated 228 vehicles, involving 20 private-vendor trucks; and 231 tickets were issued. On the 21st, cars were still being towed.

… Speaking of tickets and violations, the Police Department has announced the results of its 17-day traffic safety campaign, conducted over the recent holiday period: 1 DUI arrest, one illegal transportation of alcohol, 64 seat belt citations, eight child car seat citations, 48 cell phone violations, 21 speeding violations, two unlicensed drivers, eight uninsured motorists and 15 other citations.

… that the City Code is catching up to reality in one aspect: recognizing that many residents drive pickup trucks for their own transportation, not for commercial purposes. Now pickups used exclusively for non-commercial purposes and do not have any commercial-like accoutrements such as business advertisements, commercial equipment or camper tops will be allowed to operate as passenger vehicles operated for personal use only.

… that the Fire Department has a new vehicle, Ambulance 22, a Ford F-550 equipped with emergency medical services equipment, and ready to respond to medical emergencies from Fire Station 2, 702 Madison. In tandem, the City is donating an “old” but serviceable ambulance to the North Regional Major Crimes Task Force, Major Crash Assistance Team.

… that Infrastructure Management Services L.L.C. of Rolling Meadows has extended the time of its contract from Dec. 21 of last year to Feb. 28. The City hired the company to help it develop a five-year street resurfacing plan, “prioritizing the streets to be paved based on the pavement condition and water-main replacement priority.” The City also requested an inventory of the public right-of-way assets (signs, pavement markings, pavement striping and bike racks). But City officials felt the street-sign images were not acceptable, so IMS went out into the field again – necessitating more processing time – hence the contract extension.

… that, through March 29, the City’s Capital Planning & Engineering Bureau will be monitoring the work of Kenny Construction in its rehab of some combined and relief sewer lines. Questions and concerns should go to Deborah Cueva, civil engineer, at 847-448-8280 or @cityofevanston.org.

… that the following announcement will reassure some folks: The City is nearing the end of the Fountain Square rehab journey. The City is modifying its contract with Christopher Burke Engineering Ltd. of Rosemont so the company can continue to provide construction engineering services for the Sherman Avenue streetscape, adding the replacement of the water main on Sherman. The water main was installed more than 100 years ago – “prior to 1907,” according to the City – and is only six inches in diameter.  Doing this of course lengthens the time and expands the scope of the project and necessitates coordination with affected businesses there.

… that the continuing improvements to the Main Street corridor – mostly on the west end at present – call for a temporary construction easement with Fifth Third Bank to allow a contractor hired by the City to work on private property as it makes driveway access and sidewalk improvements that will boost safety and meet ADA requirements.

… that gasoline prices in Chicago rose 0.8 cents per gallon earlier this month, averaging  $2.27 per gallon last week,  according to GasBuddy’s daily survey of 1,437 stations in Chicago But the highest gas prices in the world are in Zimbabwe. With the increase in fuel prices there, people are having difficulty (at best) to get to work, so they are not getting paid.

From our readers:

TG: Thanks for asking. My New Year’s traffic resolution is to avoid the Emerson/Ridge intersection. The Asbury/Green Bay intersection is much friendlier. I will also avoid driving on Ridge, since riding alongside cars and oncoming traffic inches away from my car is way too dangerous. Asbury does not require white-knuckle driving. I will also avoid Dodge since bicycle lanes have taken over and made Dodge into a parking lot. Again, Asbury is now my alternate.  Preventive safety measures is my resolution. – Milos Radojevich

From TG: Thank you, Mr. Radojevich. TG also has found Asbury to be the go-to north-south street. TG welcomes other New Year’s traffic resolutions.

TG: My resolution is to drive less than 25 mph on Ridge. It’s hard. One day at a time, like they say in the meetings. – Steve Norton

From TG: Another good resolution – safe and fiscally responsible.

TG: The CTA apparently is considering plans to close the  Foster and South Boulevard stations. They are talking about expanding the platforms on adjacent stations with additional entrances, i.e., an additional entrance on Gaffield for the Noyes station, an additional entrance on Church for the Davis station and an additional entrance on Madison for the Main Street station.

The City and its residents should oppose these plans. All the stations benefit us, and the additional three- block walks (particularly in rainy, snowy or icy conditions) will be a serious inconvenience, especially for the elderly. The idea of extending the platforms with additional entrances is truly silly and does not make up for the burden caused by closing stations. Extending platforms on adjacent stations does not save anybody any time, since it just substitutes walking on a platform for walking on a sidewalk. The money would be better spent improving access for the handicapped with elevators or escalators.

It is unacceptable that the City has not been consulted about any of this so far, in breach of its contractual obligations under a Memorandum of Understanding. In 1991, we successfully opposed a similar plan to close Evanston “L” stations.  We need to be equally active now in opposing the revival of this bad idea. –  James K. Genden

From TG: Thanks, Mr. Genden. You are a good advocate for Evanston commuters. TG understands that Seventh Ward Alderman Eleanor Revelle is looking into this and is getting the City’s transportation and mobility manager and the City’s Transportation and Parking Committee to take a look to see how solid or entrenched these ideas are.


The Traffic Guy thinks …

… that the City should consider selling the air rights over the parking lot on Main Street just east of Sherman. Readers may recall that a developer wants to buy the lot. Selling only the air rights would be better for the businesses in the area, since the City would retain the parking lot as a public lot and allow the developer to start his project on the first floor. This was done several years ago with the development on Chicago just south of Dempster and somewhat similarly with the “bridge” over Central that connects the parking garage to Evanston Hospital.

… that this cheery snowperson may be onto something; she/he certainly has a knowing expression.

From the City⁳ Transportation and Mobility Coordinator

On Jan. 16, the RoundTable emailed Jessica Hyink, the City’s Transporation and Mobility Coordinator  about the flyer the RoundTable received about the possible consolidation of CTA stops. On Jan. 24, after this paper went to press, Ms. Hyink sent the following response: The flyer referenced in the December 26, 2018, Traffic Guy column on the potential for ‘L’ stop consolidation in Evanston is an archived document from 2010. Stop consolidation was evaluated as part of the CTA Phase One Red/Purple Modernization (RPM) program but was not selected as part of the funded projects in Phase One. 

The RPM program beyond Phase One requires analyzing potential improvements/projects along the Red-Purple corridor and then selecting projects, with community input, into a ‘Phase Two’ and possibly additional phases beyond that. CTA is studying the implementation of additional future phases of the RPM program and in 2018 entered into an agreement with the City of Evanston to share financial resources that support planning efforts in furtherance of improvements to Purple Line ‘L’ stations, track, and infrastructure in Evanston. The planning efforts will analyze potential capital construction projects and group those projects into a realistic RPM Phase Two. It will also take into account the future steps required to implement a Phase Two project and explore funding scenarios. CTA is currently refining the planning efforts scope of work, along with other related project documents, and will be bringing a consultant on board. 

There are currently no plans to consolidate any CTA train stops in Evanston, as the work of studying potential improvements to the Purple Line under the current planning efforts has yet to begin. 

Jessica Hyink, Transportation and Mobility Coordinator