Evanston news delivered free to your inbox!
… that the rain garden in Ingraham Park has been relocated. It used to be near the parking lot a few dozen feet east of Asbury. Now it’s still near the parking lot but closer to the Civic Center.
… that the Civic Center parking lot is getting in on stormwater management as well. Permeable pavers have replaced the asphalt along the north side of the south part of the lot (got that?). Rain will soak into the dirt between the pavers rather than pool on the pavement.
… that, in a purchase involving a multiplicity of jurisdictions, the City will buy a parcel of land from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District as one of the preludes to construct a new bridge over the North Shore Channel (the canal) at Central Street. The City owns the bridge; the MWRD, the surrounding land; and the State, the portion of Central Street there – it’s a State highway, so cue the Illinois Department of Transportation. The new bridge will be seven feet wider than the present one and will have a 10-foot sidewalk on the south side, and street parking will be allowed on that side as well. Because of the added length, some of the bridge will be on MWRD property; hence the need to purchse additional land. The cost is “not to exceed $700,000” (when there is a firm number like that, it rarely decreases), of which IDOT will fund 80%.
Readers will remember that the thermal imaging found enough deterioration in the more-than-a-century-old bridge to warrant replacing it. Although construction projects can cause temporary inconveniences, the main concern of several residents (TG among them) is the look of the new bridge. Iowa-based Stanley Consultants has been working on the project. Stanley also built the new pumping station at Church and McDaniel, the design of which is, well, serviceable. TG hopes that the City will follow the suggestions by Evanston resident Richard Miller, who has submitted several examples of aesthetically pleasing bridges in residential areas. His guest essay, “Why Can’t Evanston Have Beautiful Bridges?” can be found on the RT website (posted 3/7/18). Mr. Miller, a retired attorney, is the leader of the Working Group for Better Bridges in Evanston. He is the founder and Chairman Emeritus of the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois.
… that the City has given the OK to have year-round sidewalk cafés – a welcome addition here. Since the weather has been mild through much of October over the past few years, folks can continue dining and drinking over good conversation outside.
… that the Police Department provided its list of Fourth of July holiday scofflaws, which includes 74 folks cited for seat-belt violations. There were also three citations for failure to secure child; 27 for cell-phone violations; 27 speeding violations; two citations for driving with a suspended license; 10 for having no insurance and 31 other citations.
… that the City is eliminating the 35-cent transaction fee that users of the Park Evanston app previously had to pay each time they used it. Here’s more from the City: “Park Evanston users can load funds onto their wallet in $20 increments using a credit card or with cash at the City Collector’s Office in the Civic Center. … App users who choose not to use the wallet and instead pay for parking ‘as they go’ will be assessed a 35-cent transaction fee, regardless of whether or not they purchase the maximum time allowed. As always, there is no transaction fee for parking payments made at parking meters or pay stations.” The City says that since the launch in 2017, there have been more than 400,000 parking transactions using the app; it can be downloaded via the App Store or Google Play or by visiting parkevanston.org.
… that the City has also eliminated its convenience fee for paying parking citations online. The City also has maximum evening parking times outside of the core downtown business district and in surrounding neighborhood business districts. Drivers can now pay to park for up to four hours or more on many streets after 5 p.m. Readers will remember the photo (here again) from the July 11 issue, showing the incomplete implementation of this.
… that, speaking of parking, some residents who parked in the middle of some blocks without checking the signs at either end have received $75 tickets because there was a street-cleaning ban. TG heard some complaints to that effect, and the City must have heard more (or from more powerful folks). Now the City is going to spend $40,000 to purchase 1,250 “No parking/Street Cleaning” signs in the middle of certain blocks – in street-cleaning areas 3 and 4 right away, in area 2 this fall and in the spring of 2020 and in area 1 in the fall of 2020 and the spring of 2021. In the meantime, folks will have to walk a couple hundred feet more before to check when street-cleaning will occur. Wonder how much money and how much time will be spent when the aesthetic tide returns.
… that the City will buy a new street-sweeper from Standard Equipment Company of Chicago. The vehicle to be replaced had 274 service visits and $440,000 worth of repairs over its lifespan of 8+ years. The cost of the new sweeper is about a quarter of a million dollars. Perhaps this will sweep cleaner; TG often notices trails of debris left in the wake of street sweepers in current use.
… that new Tallmadge-style light fixtures are on the way. The City will now have a 10-year year contract with Spring City Electrical Manufacturing of Spring City, Pa., to supply the poles and luminaires. The cost for this year is less than $200,000. For about 80 years, the City purchased the fixtures from Union Metal, but after some reorganization, the company was not able to offer the City what it wanted. Those who love the Tallmadge poles may be interested to know that the original streetlights were assembled from several pieces, which allows water to seep in and corrode paraphernalia. So the City has a new mold, to which it will retain the rights, and will purchase 10 poles a year for the next several years.
The staff memo accompanying the recommendation to purchase new streetlights notes, “The luminaire was originally incandescent, but was upgraded to High Intensity Discharge (HID) in the early 2000s to be more energy-efficient. Over time, both incandescent and HID fixtures are being phased out and becoming harder to purchase. The luminaire is also designed to distribut light sideways and upwards, which has negative impacts for birds and other species in Evanston community. As a result of the Street Light Master Plan, it was decided that a new luminaire should be developed that cast light downwards to be dark-sky friendly. The new luminaire should also utilize an LED bulb (3000K in color temperature or less) in order to be more energy-efficient.”
… that the Fire Department will be getting upgraded mobile communications equipment and the APX emergency scene accountability system at a cost of about $1.5 million – with the federal government kicking in about 90% of the cost.
… that the City is purchasing a year’s worth of fuel from Gas Depot Oil Company of Morton Grove for $750,000. This is expected to cover the various fuel needs of City vehicles until early July of next year.
The Traffic Guy thinks …
… that the Humboldt Park alligator has energized some folks with talk about something other than the devolving state of affairs here. TG wonders what lurks beneath the surface of Evanston’s lagoons. Not much, in the case of the Arrington Lagoon at Dawes Park, which is drained at the end of the season. But Lovelace Park Lagoon – wouldn’t that be a place for monster stories at Halloween?
… The Perseid meteor shower will reach its maximum rate of activity on Aug. 13. Some shooting stars associated with the shower are expected to be visible each night from July 23 to Aug. 20. Annual meteor showers arise when the Earth passes through streams of debris left behind by comets and asteroids.