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October 21, 2019

10/2/2019 3:23:00 PM
The Traffic Guy hears ...
TG: I just saw this newer protected turn/crosswalk at Grant and Grey (photo above). Will we see more of these? Not very attractive.   – P. Lawless
TG: I just saw this newer protected turn/crosswalk at Grant and Grey (photo above). Will we see more of these? Not very attractive.   – P. Lawless

Correction: This column was corrected on Oct. 3 to note that the NU football game begins at 7:30 p.m., not 8:30 p.m.

… that Evanston is suddenly cool again – this time with millennials, Forbes Magazine recently reported. We’re part of “hipsturbia.” Millennials who have kids but are not ready to give up city life are “looking for affordability as well as urban staples like dining, shopping, entertainment and jobs, all within a walkable distance. The movement is being called ‘hipsturbia.’” These “cool suburban communities” have active downtowns and are often found near “large anchor communities, like New York City, San Francisco and Chicago.” Evanston is one of these, Forbes reported – the only one between the Atlantic and the Pacific. Coastal hipsturbias are Hoboken, Maplewood and Summit, N.J., Yonkers and New Rochelle, N. Y., and Santa Clara, Cal.

… that, also on the subject of Ridge, the City has received a grant of $700,000 from the Illinois Department of Transportation’s local Highway Safety Improvement Program to improve intersections at Oakton, Main, Greenleaf, Lake, Davis and Church. The improvements will include left-turn lanes on cross streets, better pedestrian signals, east and west left turn signals on Ridge and “enhanced high-visibility crosswalks.” Work won’t begin until 2022, but, when it’s completed, travelers will have a better ride or walk.    

… that the City is refunding about $5,000 in parking ticket fees to many people who received parking tickets on Sheridan Square in the past three years. Readers may recall that the City allowed a supposedly short pilot program banning parking there – near Garden Park and South Boulevard Beach – to continue for three years. The check will serve as an apology.  

… that construction on the Central Street bridge has been delayed until about 2021. In order to build the bridge, the City needs to purchase land from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District; in order to purchase the land, the City has to find the money and is hoping for some federal funds. If the money comes through and the sale goes through, the first half of the bridge will be built in 2021 and the second half the following year. This could be good news for the folks who are hoping for an aesthetically pleasing bridge.

… that Oumuamua, which astronomers noted and named last year, may not have been named precisely. Astronomers, when they discovered it in 2017, named it Oumuamua (pronounced “oh moo-uh moo-uh) which is Hawaiian for “messenger from afar arriving first.” But now there is some evidence that this object may not have been the first interstellar visitor to Earth. According to a post in Space by Deborah Byrd, republished on Sept. 12 in EarthSky.org, an interstellar visitor, similar to Oumuamua but smaller, “not only ventured into our solar system, it actually hit Earth’s atmosphere and became a fiery meteor in our skies.” Dr. Byrd cites the findings, which were peer-reviewed and published in April in Astrophsical Journal Letters by researchers Amir Siraj and Abraham Loeb at Harvard University.

… that on Sept. 21, Bruce McClure posted in “Astronomy Essentials” that light and darkness are not truly equal at the equinox. “The sun is a disk, not a point, which provides an additional 2 ½ -3 minutes of daylight at mid-temperate latitudes.” Plus, “atmospheric refraction raises the sun about 1/2 degree upward at sunrise and sunset, which advances the sunrise yet delays the sunset, adding almost six minutes of daylight at each end of the day,” Dr. McClure wrote. Equilux, or “equal light” is the day on which the light and dark are equal. This occurs “a few to several days” after the autumnal equinox and before the spring one.

From our readers: TG:
What is purpose of metal structure that has been installed on two corners of the intersection at Grant and Grey streets?   – Albert Merkel

From TG: Your aldermen, Eleanor Revelle, said placing the temporary bump-outs was a trial to see if they would slow traffic, because some residents in the area had reported problems with speeding. She said feedback from neighbors, though, was quite negative and that Grant should be back to normal soon. Among the problems reported were traffic backups, difficulty for vehicles to turn the corners and problems for emergency vehicles to get through.  

TG: The Park Evanston App is overcharging and there seems to be no recourse. Last week I inadvertently approved a $20 payment at the Central Avenue Metra station for what should have been a $4.50 charge. Today I didn't approve another overcharge, this time for $13.50.  Evanston 311 said that they were aware of the problem and advised that it was up to me to pay the overcharge or risk getting a ticket. It seems like Park Evanston is more deserving of a penalty. Thanks for listening, I feel better now.  – Steve Torres

From TG: TG agrees that Park Evanston should pay a penalty – in addition to returning your money. Others have complained about the app, so maybe the City will improve it or find another one.

TG: I was amused by the comment at the end of your article, noting the gas wasted in the few seconds of idling while adjusting mirrors, etc. Talk about arranging deck chairs on the Titanic! The fewer than 10 seconds of idling at start-up pale in comparison to the many minutes spent idling at red light, after red light, after red light, after red light, after....
If the lights were simply on random 50:50 timers, the odds of missing as many as one does would be about 1 in 1000. Is this a deliberate campaign to keep people who don’t live in downtown Evanston from doing business in Evanston?  – Mike Levine

From TG:
Thank you for your thoughts, Mr. Levine. You are certainly right about idling at the red lights. I don’t know if that’s the City’s motive, but that, plus the unconscionable parking rates, certainly seem to have the result of driving folks elsewhere.

The Traffic Guy thinks …
… that a traffic nightmare is coming on Oct. 18, when Ohio State will play Northwestern in a night football game. It’s an 7:30 game, but the plan is open tailgating and parking at 3:30. This is about the time when kids get out of school and like to take their time going home – and there are four schools in the area that would be affected: Orrington, St. A’s, Kingsley and Haven. Do folks really need to congregate five hours before a football game? NU officials should put the parking/partying time back to 5:30 p.m.





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