… that the City’s traffic guys have issued quite a few warning tickets to Sunday-afternoon parkers who forgot they now have to pay. Drivers need to remember that it costs to park – but, even at $1.50 per hour, the charge at the meter is less than the charge of a ticket.
… that the arrival of spring sometimes coincides with pothole-fixing season. The City has contracted with Builders Asphalt LLC to provide hot-mix asphalt for a year. Patch, patch, patch. Builders Asphalt is based in Hillside but has a plant on Oakton in Skokie. And even though its quote was somewhat higher than that of a company in Mount Prospect, City staff figured that reduced transportation costs and wear and tear would make the City realize a cost saving from Builders Asphalt over the other bid.
… that, while the pothole-patching may cost the City about $47,000, the cost to drivers from pothole damage can be quite substantial as well. According to research website QuoteWizard’s latest report, “Filing even just one claim to fix the damage from a pothole can increase insurance rates in Illinois by 25%.” QuoteWizard also found that potholes cost drivers $3 billion a year nationally, about a third of drivers have experienced pothole damage in the last five years (per AAA) the average repair bill associated with one of these pothole mishaps is $306. But on to spring.
… that Concepts Management, Inc., of Grayslake will maintain the native plantings along the Metra/Union Pacific railroad berm between Isabella and Foster: cleaning litter and debris away weekly, seeding and re-plugging native plants, mulching, etc.
… that the City of Evanston and the Village of Skokie have finally found something to cooperate on: joint bidding for mowing services for Harbert, Beck, Butler and Twiggs parks and Skokie’s sculpture park. Cleanslate Chicago will keep the parks mowed and trimmed. Maybe this is an indication that the other feuds between Evanston and Skokie are easing up. Readers will recall that Skokie has refused to pay the rate Evanston is assessing for the water it sells – well, treats and pumps – to Skokie. Skokie has also refused to let the Evanston Fire Department use its training tower and, last year, anyway, did not offer Evanston residents a discount to its outdoor pool.
… that several areas of the City will receive new sewer-pipe linings. This cured-in-place pipe process involves inserting a lining into the old pipe, then flushing it with hot water to “cure” it and make it adhere to the inside of the pipe. Visu-Sewer of Illinois, LLC, of Bridgeview will place liners in 5,687 feet of old sewer pipes in 27 different sites around town – places identified as needing rehab during the Sewer Division’s regular closed-circuit TV inspection. The new pipe linings will be below the streets on Lincolnwood, Jenks, Woodbine, Livingston, Culver, Hurd, Eastwood, Payne, Garrett, Grove, Greenwood, Sherman, Lee, Forest, Madison, Monroe, Oakton, Asbury, Mulford and Brummel.
… that the City sold another vacant lot – this one at 1729 Dodge Ave. – to Evanston Township High School, where students in the Geometry in Construction class are again this year building a house. When the house is completed and moved from the school’s south parking lot up the street, across Church and to its new resting place, it will be sold at an affordable price to an Evanston family.
… that the segment of Church between Hartrey and Grey will soon go by the honorific “Tina Lifford Way.” Evanston native Ms. Lifford has appeared in more than 100 movies and TV shows, and currently co-stars in the TV drama “Queen Sugar.” She lived at 2129 Church from 1954 to 1964.
From our readers; Hi, TG, I wonder if you could answer this question. O’Hare uses giant brushes so as not to damage the runways. Here in Evanston we use heavy plows, which probably damage our streets. Has there ever been any consideration of using truck mounted brushes? — Dick MacHarg
Hey, Mr. TG, What’s with all these light-colored stripes that have appeared on most Evanston streets in the past week? Is this some new sort of snow-melting system? — Steve Cohen
From TG: Good questions, both. Edgar Cano, the City’s Infrastructure Maintenance Bureau Chief, sent the following information: “Living right next door to O’Hare I am always in awe of their snow and ice removal operations. The number and the size of equipment used is just fascinating. I have seen them use snow plows, blowers, melters, and of course runway brooms. The runway brooms are used more for clearing minor accumulation and sometimes follow behind the plows. They are not as effective in clearing significant accumulation.
“Runway brooms used in airports would not be practical for use on city streets for multiple reasons. We have to keep in mind that they are two completely different operations dealing with different issues.
“The first and most important factor is safety. Using a broom, depending on the type of snow, could reduce visibility to any motorists around the area. I am not sure if you have seen a runway broom in action, but it can create a massive snow “cloud” behind the operator and be a danger to motorists driving behind the broom and oncoming traffic driving into the cloud.
“The next differences are miles of road, compaction and traffic. Airports do not deal with the miles of pavement or amount of wheeled traffic that City roads do. Airports usually only deal with a few miles of pavement where municipalities have to deal with hundreds of miles or more. This allows airports to make more frequent passes and prevent the bonding of ice to the pavement. Add traffic to the mix on City roads and that increases the time a snow plow operator takes to complete one ‘run’ of their route.
In addition, the traffic running over the accumulated snow compacts the snow making it difficult to remove with brooms. Roads require a blade to scrap as much off of the road as possible before applying a de-icer (i.e. salt) to take care of the rest and prevent any bonding.
“Other factors are cost and time. It would cost more and take longer to clear snow using brooms. The brooms themselves are significantly more expensive than plow blades and the time to replace a broom is significantly more than the time to replace a blade. Also, brooms wear out faster than blades do, and operators would not be able to complete their route without having to change brooms multiple times. They would spend more time in the shop then they would clearing the roadways. Also, in order for a broom to be effective, the operator must be traveling at a lower speed than they would travel with a blade. That poses a danger to motorists and gives the falling snow more time to accumulate. Don’t forget, brooms become less effective as accumulation increases.
“As you can see, brooms on City roads just do not make operational sense.
“In regards to the ‘light colored stripes,’ I believe this is referencing our anti-icing operations that are performed in anticipation of a winter precipitation event. Anti-icing is the application of salt brine (sometimes mixed with other de-icers) in liquid form to dry pavement. The brine dries on the road and is ready for the event. The purpose is to eliminate or reduce the bonding of snow and ice to the pavement and reduce the additional amount of salt required to keep the road safe. It also aids in response time, providing operations a longer window before the road has to be treated after a winter precipitation event has started.”
TG: Could you find out why the City leaves the pipe stands behind when they remove meters?
If you look around town they’re everywhere. Some of them are a dangerous height to anyone out at night. These are not only recent removals but you can see an entire brigade lining the east side of Chicago near Howard. It would be nice to clean up a half-finished removal job. – Crime Babe
From TG: Thanks, CB (TG knows who you are). This is indeed a sloppy “removal” job. TG has asked the City if there are plans to finish the job and will let you and readers know as soon as possible.
The Traffic Guy thinks …
Maybe it was 1967, when the musical “Hair,” with music by Gerome Ragni and James Rado and music by Galt MacDermot, was first performed. Its opening song describes “the dawning of the Age of Aquarius” thus: When the moon is in the Seventh House/And Jupiter aligns with Mars/Then peace will guide the planets/And love will steer the stars.”