… that Jay Rubinic sent some photos he took of crews repairing a downed power line at Simpson and McDaniel on the morning of Feb. 12 after the sleet, ice and snow storm the night before. With the photos he sent this information: “A large tree branch snapped and brought down a major 18k power line that runs down McDaniel at Simpson. I was amazed, and appre-ciated how quickly the City and ComEd responded to this incident. We were up and running in a few hours.”

… that slush was the name of the game last week. The freezing and melting was perfect pothole-making weather, wreaking havoc on City streets, said Edgar Cano, the City’s Public Services Bureau Chief, earlier  this week. The temperature swings aresometimes 50 degrees in a day or less. He said, “We’re doing what  we can to make sure we fill the potholes before the next storm comes because there seems to be one every day.”
But when it was cold, consistently cold, that is, there was free outdoor ice skating at Ackerman, Dawes and Baker parks and at the Arrington Lakefront Lagoon.

… that Landmarks Illinois organized a heart-bombing on Feb. 9, for people to show their affection for the Harley Clarke mansion.

… that folks who were concerned about the lighthouse and the lighthouse keeper during the government shutdown earlier this month can rest easy. Don Terras, the lighthouse keeper, answered the RoundTable query thus: “While the lighthouse property and buildings are still owned by the federal government and we do have volunteers from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, stewardship [by way of a lease agreement] is in the hands of Evanston and The Lighthouse Park District. So, no, the government shutdown did not have an impact on the site.”

… that recent reports about traffic accidents on Ridge seem to be playing both sides of the road. Earlier this month, the Department’s “In the Squadroom” posted this note: “In spite of the nearly exhaustive efforts of the Traffic Bureau and the City of Evanston, Ridge Avenue between Emerson and Howard has remained in the top ten crash locations for five years running. Tactics have included motorist education, improved traffic control signage, speed display signs, signal functional changes and, of course, a reduction in the speed limit from 30 to 25 MPH. While these actions saw a very impressive 13% reduction in crashes on Ridge in 2018, drivers persist in ignoring the rules of the road. Over 4,300 citations were issued along the corridor, including 1,339 for speeding. The first runner-up? Distracted driving with 901 tickets.” Last week, the City sent out a notice touting the 13% reduction – 241 crashes in 2018 down from 278 in 2017 – and the Police Department’s efforts: The reduction in crashes is the result of a traffic initiative that was a coordinated effort between the Evanston Police Department, City of Evanston Traffic Engineers and other City officials including Fourth Ward Alderman Donald Wilson. …Traffic crashes were down 58% at each intersection in the Ridge corridor.”

… that this may be the last winter folks will have to climb a small mountain of ice and snow to push change into a parking meter. Over the next few weeks the City will be replacing about a thousand single-space parking meters with 80 pay stations in the downtown and nearby business areas. Drivers will have to know the license plate number of the car they’re using, but they can just stick the receipt in pocket or purse and not have to trek back and display it on the dashboard.

… that Google and Tesla are seeing some competition from automotive startups, according to recent reports in Forbes. Tech startup Aurora, led by a former project chief for Google’s self-driving cars, plans to help other companies develop self-driving vehicles. Tesla’s competition seems to come from Motown’s home state, Michigan. Rivian Automotive, based in Plymouth, has come up with two battery-powered vehicles: the R1S, a seven-seat sport utility vehicle, and the R1T pickup truck.

… that GasBuddy’s 2019 Consumer Sentiment on Gasoline Study released last week found that “the necessity, perception, and price of gasoline adversely impacts Americans across all age groups and income brackets, with a staggering 86% of Americans depending on gasoline for their everyday lives.” Two other findings may be of interest: “Americans categorize gasoline as a more important household budget consideration than healthcare and savings/emergency funds”; and “nearly two-thirds (65%) say gas prices impact their ability to spend money on other items and services. This impact is especially felt by young people age 18-24 (70%).”

… that those stuck in fossil-fuel mode might be interested to know that gasoline prices in Chicago rose more than 3 cents per gallon last week, according to GasBuddy’s daily survey of 1,437 stations in Chicago. Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, said,  “With oil prices sinking last week to $51 per barrel on concerns over a slowdown in trade talks with China, many states saw a respite in gas prices. However, as pipeline specifications begin to shift towards the first step towards summer gasoline requirements in the weeks ahead, the overhang in gasoline inventories will likely start to dry up and push gas prices higher.”

From Our Readers: TG: After losing my parking ticket for a City lot on the Free Parking Monday and having to call the Lot Management company to get out after paying, I found out that the management company is based in Dripping Springs, TEXAS. Is there any good/specific reason – saving a dollar does not qualify – why the City would not be using a company from the area? There are several Lot Management companies in the area. – Matt Mitzen

From TG:  Intriguing question, Mr. Mitzen. Jill Velan, the City’s Parking Manager, sent this answer to your question: “The City has a contract with SP+ to management the three parking garages. SP+ Corporate offices are in Chicago, Illinois. The call center for SP+ is located in Texas.”

The Traffic Guy thinks …
… that viaduct walls here just keep getting brighter and more attractive. Many readers have doubtless already seen this beauty below at the South Boulevard station.