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April 21, 2019

4/3/2019 2:47:00 PM
The Traffic Guy hears ...
Did a driver give up in frustration or is the City saving money by re-using a local bag to target parking meters to be removed? RoundTable photo
Did a driver give up in frustration or is the City saving money by re-using a local bag to target parking meters to be removed?
RoundTable photo

… that the City will be grading some of its 300 unpaved alleys this spring, to smooth out potholes and ruts. The City encourages residents who are curious about theirs – or others – to call 311 or check out the alley maintenance schedule at cityofevanston.org/alleymaintenance.

… that, comparatively speaking, St. Patrick’s Day was quiet in Evanston, according to information from the Evanston Police Department – only one DUI arrest during the recent “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” period. But there were citations for transporting alcohol in an open container (two of these), failure to secure a child (three), violating laws about the use of cell phones (31), speeding (31), driving with a revoked license (one), driving without a license (two), driving without insurance (11) and 20 other misdeeds. There was also one arrest via warrant.

… that gas prices rose 7.6 cents per gallon last week, averaging $2.91/gallon on March 25, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 1,437 stations. Gas prices in Chicago are 30.7 cents per gallon higher than a month ago, yet stand 5.7 cents per gallon higher than a year ago. The national average price of gasoline rose 6.5 cents per gallon in late March, averaging $2.62 per gallon. The national average is up 22.2 cents per gallon from a month ago, yet stands 2.1 cents per gallon higher than a year ago: $3.56 per gallon. “Gasoline prices have increased in all 50 states in [late March], as refineries continue working toward cleaner, more expensive gasoline and as oil prices have continued creeping higher,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “There shouldn't be any surprises that prices continue to migrate higher given the warnings in the past few months … Unfortunately as seasonal issues continue to weigh on markets, along with higher oil prices, it’s likely we’ll continue to be in this pattern for at least a few more weeks.”

... that, speaking of gas prices, the
Illinois Chamber of Commerce is floating a plan that would raise the state’s motor-fuel tax from the current 19 cents a gallon 44 cents. If passed, it could inject a whopping $2 billion a year into the state budget for transportation.

… that red-wing blackbirds are here again – walkers, be warned. TG (and others) have heard reports of pedestrians’ being dive-bombed by zealous redwings when the humans stroll unaware near the nests. So, listen for their call, watch to see which direction they try to lead you – and follow it – because they may return and attack, or, possibly to their minds, protect.

From our readers: TG: This is a late response to The Traffic Guy thinks in the 1/24/19 edition.  You think the City should consider selling the air rights over the parking lot on Main Street east of Sherman because it will allow for more parking for the businesses. It would also preserve the only handicapped parking spaces for this part of Main Street which IMO has some good stores. – Carol Steiner

From TG: Thanks, Ms. Steiner. Your reason is the best, and TG agrees that there are wonderful stores in that area.

TG: One side of Central in the Green Bay/Central business area has $1.50 per hour meters and the other says $1 per hour on some meters. Also when I tried to feed a meter that already had 35 minutes left in it (because I planned to park there longer than 35 minutes), it took my two quarters but did not add any time at all, and a sign came up that says: “Anti-feed” It seems ridiculous. – Constant Reader

From TG: Thanks, CR. Seems like a notice like that would work better in a zoo or campsite where bears or alligators might be found. Here, though, grumbling about parking is getting more intense and, TG fears, more justified. TG has also learned that the much-touted parking app has a lag-time that can get parkers in trouble. Seems that it can take up to a half hour for the information that one has paid via parking app to reach the parking officers. TG has heard of at least one person who was given a ticket in that instance, and the Parking Officer admitted there was a lag time.  

TG: I have informed my alderman and the City Manager that I believe the City in its placement of regulatory signage is out of compliance with the Federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) section 2B.01: 02 “Regulatory signs shall be installed at or near where the regulations apply. The signs shall clearly indicate the requirements imposed by the regulations and shall be designed and installed to provide adequate visibility and legibility in order to obtain compliance.”
If Evanston does not have an ordinance on sign placement, then according to the IDOT employee I spoke to, the City needs to follow state guidelines which use the MUTCD Manual.
I also believe the lettering is too small, and signs need to be larger. There are guidelines on font sizes which I am also investigating.
Signs are at the beginning and ends of long blocks and cannot be read when a car pulls up and parks. No one can see the signs when they park past the sign or in the middle of the block. The signs are confusing....There are “two-hour maximum,” but not street cleaning.  But now with $75 street cleaning fine, clear and visible Street-Cleaning signs are now a priority.
Notice that signs at the beginning of blocks are at a almost 90˚ angle and cannot be seen or read from behind.
Think about this....Should a mother with a baby be expected to leave baby in car an walk to the end of the block to read all the signs? Should an old lady be expected to walk to the end of the block to read all the signs? The $75 and the towing charge are a lot for some residents, and I feel strongly that at least the signage be improved. … Finally, do the right thing for the people who live here. … Its  wrong to just ticket, ticket, ticket. Show some compassion. Fix the sign problem, and you might get more compliance, if that is the true goal of the City.  – Allen Feuerstein

From TG: Thank you for the information, Mr. Feuerstein. TG has edited and condensed the emails you sent to City officials.TG notes that you also asked the RT staff to look at the signs on Florence around our office and that you requested City to do the following: place 90˚ signs at the beginning of a block, preferably two signs mounted back to back – and, on longer blocks, a sign in the middle of the block; and have the traffic engineer do a block by block compliance review. TG note that residents can also sign up for text or email alerts, or both, to be notified of street-cleaning in their area. Of course, this does not help for those visiting outside their street-sweeping zone.

The Traffic Guy thinks …
... that even though spring brings the vibrant beauty that turns winter’s cold and wind into a memory, ugly things lurk below. With the melting of the ice on the canal, all that foolish stuff that people throw to bounce off the ice – or for other, unknown, reasons – now sinks to the bottom where it could rest for decades. TG has seen basketballs and traffic cones lying on canal ice, and these do not seem biodegradable. Does MWRD have a dredge to clear out the mindless debris of the winter? Maybe an ice-skimmer is needed to clear off the ice in late February?

... that people in Evanston, one hopes, as around the world celebrated Earth Hour last Saturday night. Folks were asked to turn off their lights for an hour, to give the earth a rest.



Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, April 6, 2019
Comment by: Andy Weingartner

Dear Traffic Guy,
What are the chances that Evanston will ban gas-powered leaf blowers? The noise and exhaust are environmental hazards and quality of life issues. The noise pollution in Evanston April through November is off the charts. James Fallows's article about leaf blowers in the April edition of Harpers has a lot more information about this.




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