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… that Teska Associates will renovate Harbert Park. This 13.5-acre park, which stretches from Dempster to Main just east of the canal, is TG’s favorite Evanston park (even though the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District owns it). The City’s lease of the property runs through May 21, 2032. Money from the City’s capital improvement fund, augmented by a grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, will allow reconstruction of the basketball court, construction of a new picnic shelter, reconstruction of the playground, upgrading and expanding of the park lighting system, select repairs to the bike path to address drainage issues and “replacement/enhancement of the furnishings.”
… that a lot of construction is going on around town. Folks have probably seen the trucks, the flaggers and the orange-colored advisory signs. Questions can be directed to Chris Venatta in the Public Works Agency by calling 311. In addition to the patching, paving and sealing, here is a brief rundown:
Water projects: expected completion date is Nov. 30.
• Isabella Street, Walnut Avenue to Green Bay Road – water main and patching;
• Cowper Avenue, Harrison Street to Central Street – water main and resurfacing;
• Lincolnwood Drive, Park Place to Isabella Street – water main and patching;
• Emerson Street, Dodge Avenue to Ashland Avenue – water main and patching;
• Hartrey Avenue, Dobson Street to Brummel Street – valve installation; Washington Street to Main Street – water main and resurfacing;
• Monroe Street, Dodge Avenue to Florence Avenue – Water main and resurfacing;
• Hinman Avenue, South Boulevard to Keeney Street – relief sewer and patching;
• Payne Street, Darrow Avenue to Dewey Avenue – water main and resurfacing
• Tallmadge Park parking lot, behind the Noyes Cultural Arts Center, 927 Noyes St.; expected date of completion is Aug. 31.
• Civic Center parking lot, 2100 Ridge Ave.; expected date of completion is Aug. 31.
• 717 Howard parking lot; expected date of completion is Aug. 31.
• Emerson traffic signal improvements, Dodge to Chicago; expected date of completion is Nov. 15.
• Main Street improvement, McDaniel to Hartrey; expected date of completion is Dec. 27.
• Hinman relief sewer, by South Boulevard; expected date of completion is Nov. 30.
• Lovelace Park tennis court renovations, Gross Point Road at Thayer Street; expected date of completion is July 1.
… that the Evanston Police Department recently released a list of last month’s scofflaw types. The EPD participated in the annual “Click It or Ticket” seat-belt enforcement campaign, May 10-28 this year. According to the EPD, “Issuing tickets was not our goal, but it was a way to remind people of the importance of such a simple action,” said EPD Traffic Sergeant Tracy Williams. A statement from the EPD noted, “Illinois’ seat-belt use rate is 93.8%, but unbelted occupants disproportionately account for over half of those killed in traffic crashes.” During the 19-day mobilization, Evanston Police issued 91 seat belt citations, two child car seat citations, one DUI arrest, 42 cell phone violation citations, three illegal transportation open alcohol citations, six suspended license citations, one unlicensed driver citation; two speeding citations, 19 no-insurance citations, one drug arrest and 25 others.
… that, speaking of safe driving, Super Senior Day is coming to the Levy Center. From 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on June 14, seniors can avail themselves of a review of Rules of the Road and a vision-screening exam. The Secretary of State mobile driver services unit will be available for participants to renew their driver’s licenses. For $20, folks can get an identification card, and those 65 and older may obtain a free, non-expiring State of Illinois photo ID card. Drivers age 75 years and older are required to take a driving test to renew their driver’s licenses and do so at a Secretary of State Driver Services facility.
… that GasBuddy reports that its survey of 1,437 gas stations in the Chicago area on June 3 found that gas prices rose 3.6 cents per gallon the week before, averaging $3.28/gallon on June 3 – .7 cents per gallon higher than a month ago, yet 4.6 cents per gallon lower than a year ago.
“The national average has fallen for its fourth straight week, probably not something motorists would associate with the start of the summer driving season,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. Mr. DeHaan also notes “oil prices have plummeted nearly $14 in the last 8 weeks, prompted by worries about President Trump’s tariffs on China and now also Mexico, undermining the U.S. and global economy, and perhaps leading to a slowdown in oil demand at the same time as U.S. oil inventories have rebounded sharply. While there may be volatility and a return to higher prices should Trump make a deal to avoid tariffs on both the countries, for now, it’s going to be a big win at the gas pump with prices in most areas likely to fall notably in the week ahead.”
… that the first day of summer, longest day of the year, when the sun reaches the Tropic of Cancer, its highest point, rolls around next week, June 21. It’s the summer solstice – from the Latin words sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still) – when the sun appears to stand still for a moment before apparently reversing its “journey” and heading northward. A nice irony about this time of year is that on June 22, 1633, the Catholic church forced Galileo Galilei to renounce his heliocentric world view. According to timeanddate.com, The Holy Office concluded that the Italian scientist, by stating that the Sun, not the Earth, is the center of the Universe, was “vehemently suspect of heresy.” Galileo spent the rest of his life under house arrest. (from timeanddate.com)
From our readers: TG: Parking in Evanston is such a terrible arrangement altogether. There are not enough spaces, nor are they convenient, and now they charge excessively and make it inconvenient to pay. Why not block the downtown area and make it foot and bicycle traffic only? Or have four-hour free parking on weekdays in all of Evanston to encourage shopping and social gatherings in the downtown area, especially at night? Just watch how this new system will deter people from spending their time and money downtown. – Kimberly Kurrus
From TG: Thank you for your letter and suggestions. TG agrees that something drastic has to be done. The City has made its Parking Fund an “enterprise” fund, meaning that it should pay for itself – rather than making it something like the wind beneath the wings of local economy. As an enterprise fund, it spirals everything downward, as the City wants higher parking rates to pay for the parking boxes and parking apps and parking enforcement officers and thus drive people away from Evanston.
The Traffic Guy thinks …
… that the Barnacle, the car-immobilization device mentioned a few weeks ago, seems to be sticking to more and more windshields around town. City crews affix a Barnacle to a car if the owner has three or more unpaid parking tickets. And these tickets do not have to be current ones; they can date back years. Here is a picture of what the Barnacle looks like from the inside of a car. In the short time since the RoundTable ran Shawn Jones’s editorial about the parking mess, two RT staffers have been Barnacled.
… that this year’s solstice, just before noon on June 21, would be a good time to re-emphasize the City’s claim to Lincoln Street Beach. Of course, the State now thinks the beach belongs to the People of Illinois rather than the Residents of Evanston. But it clearly should not be considered Northwestern’s beach, and the University should provide substantial public access to it.