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… that the City has set up temporary outdoor ice rinks in Baker, Ackerman, and Foster parks, as well as getting Arrington Lagoon ready for ice-skaters. It takes a few days of cold weather to add layers to the ice to make it safe and solid.

The ice rink at Ackerman Park just needs ice (and skaters).

And the next time snow comes along, kids can build snowmen (TG prefers “snowfolk”) and enter photos of them into the City’s contest.

… that the Evanston Police Department reports that catalytic converters are a hot item for thieves here, with 21 thefts since the first of December. Most of these have occurred in south Evanston, with Toyota Priuses and Hondas the preferred targets of this thievery that takes only a couple of minutes. Seems it’s not the converters themselves; it’s the composition. Rare earth metals, the EPD reports, especially rhodium and palladium, are worth more than gold.

… that a new law authorizes the Secretary of State to allow drivers to register their vehicles for two years at a time. This is not a two-fer; drivers have to pay the full fee for each year. It will take a while – until after the computers have been upgraded – before drivers see the practical implementation of this.

… that the Evanston Police Department reported issuing 70 citations for seatbelt violations between Dec. 18 and Jan. 4; along with these, officers arrested four people for driving with suspended licenses and issued citations for the following: 24 cell phone violations; 39 speeding violations; 25 “no insurance” violations; and 23 other violations.

… that this set of cameras and instruments on a tall pole near the Ecology Center is a Road Weather Information System. Public Services Bureau Chief Edgar Cano says the weather station provides road conditions and weather forecasts at that particular location. The system includes a camera and sensors which measure road temperature, surface friction and condition, as well as air temperature, wind and precipitation. 

… that the City is taking a long look at parking with a Citywide parking study and an analysis of parking data. Wantman Group of Downers Grove was supposed to have begun the study last April, but COVID-19 intervened. Now the plan is for them to begin this April. Who knows what they’ll find after this year of lockdowns, economic deterioration, remote work and meeting? And Automated Parking Technologies received a contract extension to continue analyzing and reporting parking data at the City garages and on the City’s website.  Last summer the City installed signs on its garages that list the number of parking spaces available in real time. Any piece of that information could be an outlier, since usage of the garages last summer was, one might say, sporadic and unpredictable.

… that, while we’re on the subject of parking: Tesla is going to build and install a supercharger station in the Maple Avenue garage. Taking up 12 spaces, this supercharger is vehicle-specific, but  there will also be chargers for other electric vehicles.  And Enterprise will lease space in the garage as well.

… that the City is going to split the cost of a 2006 Pierce Dash Aerial Ladder Truck with the Evanston Foreign Fire Tax Board. Fleet 311R, a 1990 Pierce Arrow Aerial Ladder Truck, is, one can tell, 30 years old, and the standard of inspection, etc., the National Fire Protection Association 1911, recommends replacing apparatus more than 25 years old. And, speaking of fire apparatus, the City of Evanston now has an intergovernmental agreement with the Wilmette Fire Department to share reserve fire trucks and engines and EMT vehicles.

… that Nike, a peregrine falcon born and fledged on the south Library ledge in 2019, was recently spotted “alive and well-fed” near Ann Arbor, Mich. Mary Hennen and the Field Museum sent this photo taken by Matt Smith on Dec. 29.

 

Fledged on the ledge. Flying in Ann Arbor. Photo by Matt Smith, courtesy of the Field Museum

… that, thinking of the skies, the sun will return to Barrow, the northernmost city in the U.S., and other points above the Arctic Circle, next week. Already, TG hears, there are glimmerings of pink skies. Sunrise there would be at about 1 p.m., and sunset less than an hour later.

… that the crews from Stantec Consulting Services of Chicago encountered an unexpected challenge in replacing a raw water intake: a long-decommissioned shoreline intake. During recent inspections, according to the City, “staff has observed that wooden piles supporting the structure are severely deteriorated,” and they suggest the structure be formally abandoned and stabilized so construction can proceed safely.

From our readers:  During a bike ride, saw this buck just North of Church St along the canal trail.— Milos Radojevich

From TG: Thank you, Mr. Radojevich. That’s a great photo of a strong and healthy-looking buck.

TG: Three years ago, my husband and I moved from Chicago to Evanston to have access to the lakefront and outdoors. We’ve enjoyed biking and walking along the lakefront since we moved and now even more since the outbreak of COVID-19. This spring the bathrooms at the Clark Street Beach were open, but now this fall they are closed. With limited activities during the pandemic, walking outside is a major activity. Is there a way the City could open a lakefront bathroom? Why is it closed? — Nancy  Bradt

From TG: Ms. Bradt, you make an excellent point about the need to be outside during this pandemic. Keeping bathrooms open and safely sanitized might be an enormous task, since they might have to be cleaned after every use. TG will pass your suggestion along to City officials.

The Traffic Guy thinks …

… that the short-term parking for people to make a quick shopping trip or pick up carryout food is a good move by the City.