"We are all in this together." The words, the mask and the heart say it all. RoundTable photo

The Traffic Guy hears …

… that people flocked to Fountain Square on Nov. 7 to revel in the victory of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Genie Lemieux-Jordan of Evanston Photographic Studios caught what may have been Evanston’s most unusual celebrant.

… that the City is trying to entice customers back to Evanston shops and restaurants by easing up on its parking restrictions. The exiting free parking – on Sundays on the street and for the first hour in a City garage – will continue. Here are a few of the changes, which will be in effect through Jan. 3 (yes, a new year is on the horizon).

There will be 15-minute free parking zones outside of businesses displaying the “Keep Calm” sign.

Maximum time limits for on-street and surface lot parking will be extended, as long as the parking fee is paid. 

Again this year, the City will provide two-hour-free-parking vouchers for local businesses to distribute to customers. These vouchers will work only through the ParkEvanston app and can be used any time through Jan. 3.

… that the North Branch Library has a poignant farewell on its windows. Maybe after the pandemic eases up its rage, the Library trustees will find a way not only to reopen the South and North branches but also to again establish a branch in the Fifth Ward.

… that the City’s Parks, Recreation and Community Service Department has reverted to its former name, and, presumably, function: the Parks and Recreation Department.

… that, speaking of recreation, some hardy folks took advantage of the not-quite-fall weather a few weeks ago to go surfing near Dempster Street.

… that the City is finishing up the five-million-gallon water-reservoir project at the end of Lincoln Street by North Campus drive a little earlier than its projected completion date of next February. Readers will remember that replacing the 84-year old reservoir was about a $20 million project. The reservoir is on NU property or, well, under it. The City was able to get a low-interest loan, though, and Evanston water is certainly worth protecting.

… that some local squirrels found a feast in these non-composted pumpkins.

… that a study by the company BarBend.com found that Evanston was among the “least fit” cities in Illinois. Juggling work schedules and children’s schooling involves more of a mental than a cardio workout. So Evanstonians may have more mental acuity, even though they are probably doubly (or more) stressed.

… that, even though the Leonid meteor shower peaked a couple of days ago, the Earth is still crossing the orbital path of Comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle, and that should continue until the end of the month. Some of the icy debris from the comet enters the Earth’s atmosphere and vaporizes – voila, the Leonids.

From our readers: TG: After bagging 8 bags of leave recently, I ran out. This time I fashioned the leaves after a Tibetan Mandala. I know they will blow away; yet preserved in my mind. — JoDe Dietsch

From TG: Another way to make peace with nature. Thank you for the thoughts and the picture of your yard, near Lee and Florence.

TG: Any idea when the path through Butler Park will be repaved? And why they tore it up? It runs from Golf to Church just east of the canal and is one of the prettiest parks in Evanston – but totally unusable for bike riding at present. – Les Jacobson

From TG: Chris Vanetta, Senior Project Manager, answered your question, Mr. Jacobson: “The primary goal for the Butler Park project was to solve the various drainage issues affecting the park. There was a lot of existing flooding, especially on sections of the path. To fix this, we added storm drains in some locations and in others we had to change the elevation of the path. This is why you are only seeing construction in certain areas. It was never in the scope and we did not have the budget to perform a full replacement of the trail throughout the park.

“Some of the new drainage infrastructure we installed outlets directly into the North Shore Channel. Since we were doing work this close to the channel it is standard practice (and required by our permit) to install an erosion control barrier to prevent any soil, construction materials, debris, etc. from washing down into the channel during a rain event. That is the purpose of the short, temporary-looking fence.”


The Traffic Guy thinks …

… that unglossed history is showing that a lot of stories about the 1621 so-called first Thanksgiving meal are more fabled than accurate. Next Thursday is a time to celebrate with family and friends – remotely, of course – and it can also be a time of reflection about how a band of pilgrims seeking religious freedom became usurpers, conquerors and exterminators.

… that this sidewalk message to everyone sums it up: “We are all in this together.”

… that, as the days get darker and things get grimmer, the thing to do is drive: There are toy drives, food drives, coat drives, blood drives. This community is compassionate – it won’t get into overdrive.