… arrrgh! that today, Sept. 19, is Talk Like a Pirate Day. This day also ends a string of palindromic dates – from 9/10/19 to 9/19/19. These are the last palindromic dates until the next century.

...  that, beginning Nov.1, there will be no ticket agent at Union Pacific’s Central Street Metra station. Riders will have to use the Ventra app or go to Davis Street or up to Wilmette to get a ticket to ride – or buy one on the train. In a recent letter to City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz, Erik Varela, Director of Public Affairs Illinois for the UP, had these comforting words: While Metra no longer offers ticket by internet, customers can visit the Metra website (https://metrarail.com) to view ticket prices, buying options, schedules, etc. A decade or so ago the Central Street Metra station was a lively place to be – with the Upstairs Café, which closed a few years ago, and, before that, the Top of the Tracks coffee shop.

… that Bike the Ridge is coming up at the end of the month. On Sept. 29 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. people on bicycles (not motorized bikes), tricycles and scooters (but not skateboards) – and perhaps an alderman or two in a pedicar – can breeze up and down Ridge between Howard and Church. Ridgeville Park District, just north of Oakton on Ridge, is a great place to stop for a break.  

… that a program called CarFit is coming to the James Park parking lot from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sept. 20. All seniors (55 and up) are invited to attend the event, where they will have the opportunity to see how well their cars “fit” them. A proper fit in one's car can greatly increase not only the driver's safety but also the safety of others. Older drivers are often the safest drivers in that they are more likely to wear their seatbelts and less likely to speed or drink and drive. However, they are also more likely to be killed or seriously injured when a crash does occur because of the greater fragility of their aging bodies.

… that the Evanston Police Department said it issued 231 citations over the Labor Day “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, Aug. 16-Sept. 3. Here’s the breakdown, per EPD: 94 seat belt citations, 1 failure to secure child, 69 cell phone violations; 15 speeding. 3 suspended licenses, 19 no insurance, 1 warrant arrest and 29 other violations.

… that, turning from driving to parking matters, it seems that Oak Ridge Property Evanston, LLC, is seeking permission from the City to locate its required off-street parking not in the project it contemplates building at 1570 Oak Ave./1555 Ridge Ave. but in the Maple Avenue garage – a distance of more than 1,000 feet. It’s getting to be a fairly common ask – that developers use the City-owned garages to get out of the parking spaces required by the City’s zoning ordinance. TG sees some advantages in this, if there is room in the garages and if using the City-owned garages reduces the height of the building.

… that St. Athanasius Parish would like to expand its staff parking lot – well
almost double it – from 14 to 26 spaces.
Stay tuned.

… that, speaking of parking, there are some changes afoot in parking around town. The north side of the 600 block of Madison (Chicago to Custer) will have parking from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. for $.50 per hour. Farther north, there will be two-hour parking on the east side of Maple between Garnett and Foster. Even more limited will be the lot at 825 Hinman, which will become permit-only (Main/Chicago businesses should love all these ways to divert customers from the area.) But there will be a net of 13 spaces at 717-19 Howard.

… that the ETHS Educational Foundation has donated $35,000 to the high school to purchase an electric vehicle kit and instructional materials from SWITCH Vehicles. According to a memo from Evanston Township High School, “The SWITCH kit is designed to be assembled, tested, driven (only by the instructor and only in the ETHS parking lot) and then disassembled and prepared for the next school year. The electric car kit will be used by all students in the automotive technology program and also by some engineering students. The teacher has already been exposed to this technology.” The balance of the $43,000 cost will come from the Career and Technical Education Department’s budget.

… that the predicted decrease in gasoline prices over Labor Day did in fact materialize here, the average price falling 1.8 cents per gallon, according to a Sept. 3 survey of 1,427 gas stations in the Chicago area. Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy said, “While a China/U.S. trade deal could undermine the normal seasonal decline in prices that we anticipate, it’s still nearly guaranteed that average gas prices in nearly every state will stand lower on Thanksgiving and Christmas versus where we stand today.” And, while attacks did damage Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities, analysts predicted the impact – on Saudi Arabia and the World market – would not be severe. The U.S. Energy Department said it would use its strategic oil reserves if necessary

… that ETHS will purchase another multi-function school activity bus to add to the three purchased nine years ago. The cost is $50,000 and the seller is Southern Bus & Mobility of Breese, Ill.

… that Illinois State Climatologist Trent Ford at the University of Illinois’ Illinois State Water Survey said the first signs of drought appeared in much of the state in August, but a swath of Illinois showed above normal precipitation. “Preliminary data suggest that August was drier than average across much of the state north of I-72 and south of I-64, in some cases with up to four inches below normal precipitation, while much wetter than average conditions prevailed between the two interstates,” Dr. Ford said. The U.S. Drought Monitor identified moderate drought in northwest and east-central Illinois in its Aug. 13 map. The signs of drought in August were the first in the state since September 2018, which represents 48 weeks, or the largest number of consecutive, drought-free weeks since the U.S. Drought Monitor began 20 years ago.

… that, speaking of precipitation, the City apparently thinks there will be considerable ice and snow here this winter. The City will purchase up to 7,500 tons of rock salt – at about $80 per ton – from the Morton Salt Company in Chicago. The City notes in a staff memo about the purchase that there was above-average snowfall in each of the last two winters – the heavy storms of climate change, possibly – leading to “depleted salt stock piles. …  Vendors have not been able to mine enough salt to meet demand and establish proper reserve levels.” So, low supply, high demand = a price increase.

… that the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District will allow Northwestern football fans to park and tailgate on holes 1, 2, 3, 11 and 12 of Canal Shores Golf Course. While the tailgating is not new, the fact that MWRD rather than Canal Shores will get to collect the revenue is a change. Readers may remember that Canal Shores got into, well, hot water with MWRD for allowing tailgating for the past several years and the Out of Space concerts in the summer of 2018. MWRD believed that it should get the revenue, so it cut Canal Shores out of the picture and now is dealing directly with NU.

The Traffic Guy thinks …
… that it would be good if one or more people could figure out a way to measure how much gasoline is wasted – that is, really, how much could be saved if people did not start their cars until they had done all the preparations such as adjusting the mirrors and fastening the seatbelt. Say it takes eight seconds to adjust the mirror and fasten the seatbelt; breaking that habit would take eight seconds of carbon emissions out of the air each time a car is turned on, which could help a bit. TG assumes that many folks have already figured that green tip out.  

… that everyone probably enjoyed Streets Alive! Above is a picture of the blackboard there asking people to write how they would use an open street.

… Autumn is on its way. Hope everyone enjoyed the Harvest Moon on Friday the 13th. Happy vernal equinox to all.