… that this bunny was seen recently nestling against a wall of the Civic Center.
… that the Allstate CTA Holiday Train has been on the Purple Line for a while and will continue through Dec. 21, when the Allstate CTA Elves’ Workshop Train will follow it and offer food baskets to community organizations. Folks will have to go to the end of the line – Linden in Wilmette to get a pic taken with Santa – 4:45 to 5:45 p.m. on Dec. 21.
.… that public parking on surface lots could become more scarce. The City just signed a six-month lease with GTC Main Street and 706 Main Street, LLC, for space in parking lot 15 – the main parking lot folks use when they patronize businesses at Main and Chicago. While it’s a good thing to have the spaces there continue for a while, TG was concerned about a staff memo that accompanied the resolution for the six-month lease: “Staff is looking to remove itself from the operation of this lot, but agreed to a short term solution to help the owners have time to find alternative operations.”
… that a few parking changes are coming to north Evanston streets. On Bryant, from Central to the dead end, there will be two-hour parking only. On the 2200 block of Lincoln, parking between 7 and 9 a.m., except Sunday, will be for residents only. And St. Athanasius School and Parish may be able to expand its parking. City staff think the expansion is permissible, but the Zoning Board of Appeals did not think so. According to the ZBA, the proposed parking expansion would increase the negative cumulative impact on the surrounding residential neighborhood, and may interfere with or diminish the value of property in the neighborhood. Readers may recall that the same standard was to be applied in considering Northwestern’s application for a special use for its Welsh-Ryan events. Funny how people read and apply things differently.
… that the garage parking rate is soon to increase. Residents who have been monitoring the squabbles over the increase in parking rates may remember that one of the recent justifications for upping the meter rate to $2/hour was that people could always pay less to park in the City-owned garages. And that will still be true, but the garage rates will be thus: 1-2 hours, $3; 2-3 hours, $5; 3-5 hours, $6; 5-8 hours $10 (5-12hrs) $10; 8-12 hours, $12; 12-24 hours, $18. Thankfully, the City folks heeded complaints – or TG’s snarky comments – about the previous signs that said “first hour free” (which it never was) and have replaced that with a notice that parking for less than one hour is free. Oh, and the parking tax for monthly parkers will increase as well early next year.
… that some ETHS students wrote messages on downtown sidewalks on Dec. 6 – messages about the present and imminent threats of climate change to this smoldering planet.
… that the City, per a staff request, will soon talk about the future of the Church Street garage. Of the three City-owned downtown garages, this one attracts the fewest customers. TG notes, however, that it is the easiest one to negotiate. The staff memo states in part, “It would be prudent for the City to begin discussing whether it would be beneficial to sell the Church Street Garage.” TG suspects an underused garage under private management would attract even fewer customers. However, the place could become a skateboard park.
… that the City will be buying some new vehicles: a Bluebird All-American RE Passenger Bus (from Central States Bus Sales in Big Rock, IL), a Ford F550 Bucket Truck (from Sutton Ford, Inc. of Matteson), a Ford F150 4×2 Pickup Truck and four Ford Fusion sedans (from Roesch Ford of Bensenville) and a Ford Transit Full Sized Van and four Ford Interceptor SUVs (from Currie Motors of Frankfort). Some of these vehicles will be bought through competitive bidding, and others, through a purchasing cooperative.
… that Kimley-Horn & Associates of Lisle will provide Phase I and Phase II engineering services for the Ridge Avenue Traffic Signal Intersections Project. The some $190,000 cost will be covered by a Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) grant ($138,380) and some General Obligation bonds issued by the City ($47,603). This part of the project is limited to intersection improvements only, so the firm will review crash data and evaluate mitigation measures, conduct a topographic survey including utility survey and geotechnical analysis, collect and analyze traffic data, review ADA compliance and pedestrian-crossings, add left-turn signals on side street approaches, realign the Oakton Street west approach to Ridge, look at the feasibility of adding left-turn lanes on Greenleaf , trimming trees and coordinating matters. The City notes that the average daily traffic on Ridge estimated at 15,000 to 20,000. The average daily traffic on the major side streets is estimated at 5,000 to 12,000. The cross streets involved in this project are Oakton, Main, Greenleaf, Dempster, Lake and Church.
… that there have been delays – some of them weather-related – in the work on the Main Street Corridor Improvement Project: Permanent pavement markings, some landscaping and final restoration work have been postponed until the spring, but temporary markings will be drawn. The mast-arm traffic signals will likely not arrive until January.
… that, speaking of roads, TG hears there have been quite a few major accidents at Dempster and Keeler, many of them apparently caused by vehicles exceeding the 35 mph speed limit.
… that Dictionary.com has picked its Word of the Year, “existential.” And Pantone has chosen its color of the year, blue. (The blue in this paragraph is Internet blue, not Pantone blue.)
… that Deborah Byrd – that well-known (dare TG say “stellar”) scientist of the sky, posted in in SPACE on Sept. 12 that astronomers Earthsky.org posted a story about the object labeled C/2019 Q4. It was discovered on Aug. 30 and thought to be “only the second interstellar object ever detected.” The first, discovered in 2017, was named Oumuamua, meaning something like “the first to arrive from afar.” Dr. Byrd wrote, “A statement from NASA called the object a ‘comet’” but later “the Scout system, which is located at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Cal., automatically flagged the object as possibly being interstellar.” Davide Farnocchia of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies there, wrote, according to Dr. Byrd, that the comets “current velocity is high, about 93,000 mph [150,000 kph], which is well above the typical velocities of objects orbiting the sun at that distance. The high velocity indicates not only that the object likely originated from outside our solar system, but also that it will leave and head back to interstellar space.” The working term for it is now “object.” But back to Oumuamua: Paul Scott Anderson posted in SPACE on Nov. 26 that there is new research on Oumuamua. Dr. Anderson wrote that a peer-reviewed research article published in the Astrophysical Journal of Letters on Nov. 11 suggested “Oumuamua might not be an interstellar asteroid or comet, but instead something never seen before: neither ice nor rock, but rather a very lightweight and ‘fluffy’ conglomerate of dust and ice grains, sort of like a “cosmic dust bunny.”
The Traffic Guy thinks …
… that, speaking of the sky, TG hopes everyone was able to get a glimpse of the recent full moon – the last one of the decade.
… that fence-posts are springing up on the street side of the path in east part of the Ladd Arboretum. TG is not certain of their purpose, these slim metal posts with orange paint on the top sixth or so of the post.
… that as many Evanstonians as possible should consider participating in the great Christmas Bird Count, which starts in just a few days – Dec. 14 – and runs to Jan. 5. Most folks are aware that millions of birds have been lost; this is a chance to help the Audubon Society ascertain how many are left. Information and signup are on the Audubon website, www.audubon.org. See the story by Libby Hill about birds and the bird count on this site.
Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas to all.