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September 22, 2019

9/4/2019 4:09:00 PM
The Traffic Guy hears ...
Truck stuck Photo from Evanston Police Department
Truck stuck
Photo from Evanston Police Department

… that, starting Monday (weather permitting) crews from Culy Contracting of Winchester, Ind., will be rehabilitating sewer structures in various places around town: at the Morton Civic Center, in the downtown area and on Green Bay between Isabella and Noyes. As always, drivers should be alert for – and heed – the temporary “No Parking” signs that will sprout up.

… that the City has applied to the State for Highway Safety Program Grant funds to improve the intersections where Ridge meets Oakton, Main, Greenleaf, Dempster, Lake, Davis and Church. The total cost of the improvements as now planned would be $860,000, of which $700,000 would be funded by the grant, if received. The City would foot the bill for the remaining $160,000. According to the City, daily traffic on Ridge averages between 15,000 and 20,000 vehicles, and on the intersecting streets, the daily average is 5,000 to 12,000 vehicles. Police officers, Public Works Agency staff and residents have all registered complaints about traffic accidents along the Ridge Avenue Corridor (Church to Howard), so the grant application is focused on those intersections, where, according to the City, “there is a significant documented accident history.”

… that, speaking of police and traffic safety, the Evanston Police Department recently received two Traffic Safety Challenge awards from the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police. The Police Department’s Traffic Unit earned second place for municipal departments with 101 to 250 police officers for their traffic safety efforts during 2018.  The Traffic Safety Challenge recognizes departments that target such major traffic challenges as occupant protection, speeding, distracted driving and impaired driving. Detective Pauline Pogorzelski of the Tactical Unit earned the Looking Beyond the Safety Belt Award for her efforts in recovering a loaded firearm and a significant quantity of a controlled substance on a traffic stop.  She was one of only six recipients of this award statewide.

… that the City recently extended the parking hours on Howard between Ridge and Chicago to 3 a.m. – that is, they changed the “No Parking” hours, previously from midnight to 6 a.m., to 3 a.m.-6 a.m. Party on. And in the 600-700 block of Pitner, two-hour parking will be allowed on the east side of the street between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m., allowing parking for businesses and their clients in that area.

… that the City is going to purchase a hook lift truck with a dump body, spreader body and a Monroe plow from JX Peterbilt of Wadsworth. The truck will be used daily by Public Works Agency crews for forestry and snow operations. The cost is $250,000, and the purchase comes through the Sourcewell purchasing contract. The vehicle this one replaces has had 418 service visits and $165,721.40 worth of in-house and vendor repairs since it was purchased in 1995.

… that the City is also going to get a new emergency siren system that can be heard all over town. The present siren system, installed in the 1970s, has six sites – Fire Stations 2, 3, 4 and 5, the Evanston Township High School power plant and Police/Fire headquarters. Three sirens are located on roofs and the other three are on wooden poles. But with the new siren system – no more poles, no more roofs but Citywide coverage.

… that last month, the Police Department posted this story, titled “A Bridge Too Low: Close encounter of the concrete kind. On 8/20, a truck challenged the CTA viaduct near the intersection of Davis and Benson and lost. Traffic was down to one lane, but Purple Line service was not disrupted. The last time this happened was when an 18-wheeler got stuck under the very same viaduct in 2013. Back then, employees at nearby retail stores reported feeling the earth shake.”

… that the City and Northwestern have agreed on terms for a 30-year utility easement on Sheridan Road and in the alley north of Clark east of Chicago. NU will now be able to install a chilled-water piping system. The City will receive $122,000 for this.

… that, speaking of NU, the City is trying something new for parking on football-game days. Residents who have paid the wheel tax (used to be the vehicle sticker but no more stickers these days, just the tax) will be able to park free in one of the lots on game days. Non-residents (e.g., out-of-town football fans) will have to pay $20-$40 (depends on what school NU will be playing) to park there. First come, first served; no reservations.

… that ETHS already has a site for the house the students in its Geometry in Construction class will build this year: 1824 Emerson.

… that gas prices rose somewhat during the last part of August but were fairly low, in comparison with a year ago (10.3 cents per gallon lower, on average), for the Labor Day holiday. Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, said, “For now six straight weeks we've seen the national average price of gasoline decline, and after the recent escalation in the trade battle between the U.S. and China, it’s possible that the streak continues longer than previously anticipated as oil markets react to the news, sending oil lower… Fall will bring plenty of falling gas prices, so long as there remains turmoil between the U.S. and China.” In other words, cheap gas comes at a cost.
But the City does seem to put a lot of miles on its vehicles. It recently sold these at public auction: a Ford Taurus with 98,672 miles; a Ford Focus with 38,542 miles; a Ford Explorer with 90,812 miles and a Dodge Dakota with 104,509 miles.

The Traffic Guy thinks …
… that school days have replaced the dog days, and the combination of school starting and daylight dwindling should make all drivers more alert. Some kids are new at getting to school and may not really understand all the ropes of crossing streets. And then there are always jaywalkers, and sometimes it is hard to make out the forms of people in the street at twilight. Slow down, drivers; wear visible clothes, pedestrians; and, to quote an old TV show “Let’s be careful out there.”

… that the City and the Library should host a storytime at Robert Crown some evening with folks reading books about – what else? – big machines. Here are some thoughts: “Mike Mulligan and His Steam Engine,” “Little Excavator,” “Digger, Dozer, Dumper,” “Backhoe Joe,” “Katy and the Big Snow,” any of the Otis the Tractor books and ending with “Good Night, Good Night, Construction Site.”





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