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April 2, 2020

11/13/2019 5:20:00 PM
The Traffic Guy hears ...
When this tree fell over, its roots upended the sidewalk on Hawthorne Lane.RoundTable photo
When this tree fell over, its roots upended the sidewalk on Hawthorne Lane.
RoundTable photo

... that this year’s holiday parking program to entice patrons to shop and dine locally depends on customers having the ParkEvanston app. As last year, the City will provide ParkEvanston app validation codes to merchants, and the merchants can pass these along to anyone making a purchase at their store. So what it looks like is that customers pay to park, then shop, then get a validation code for the next time, since they have to pay for parking upfront. Last year there were 1,500 validation-code cards, each of which awarded the user to up to two hours of free parking (a $2.35 value, with parking at $1 per hour and the 35-cent fee to use the app). The program is not applicable to garage parking, only to street and surface-lot parking.

… that parking on Simpson between Dewey and Wesley will be somewhat restricted now that Meals on Wheels of Northern Illinois will be using the building at 1723 Simpson. Here are the restrictions: There will be two-hour only parking between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. on the north side of Simpson from Dewey to Ashland. This restriction seems to be a good sign that business is picking up in the area, so people (customers, one hopes) are coming and going. Two current restrictions will continue: a 30-minute parking/loading zone on the north side of Simpson from Dewey Avenue to the first alley west of Dewey, and a parking ban in front of the homes at 1717 and 1719 Simpson. Farther south, there will be 30-minute parking only between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. on the north side of Lake from Ashland to a point 150 feet east.

… that many construction projects are winding up, with projected dates of completion at the end of this month: the Isabella Street water main; the Lincoln-wood Avenue water main; the Cowper Avenue water main; the Payne Street water main; the Hartrey Avenue water main; the Monroe Street water main; Emerson Street traffic signals and the Hinman relief sewer. Other projects should slide into completion before the end of the year: Sherman Garage paint removal and lighting; Garden Park renovations and Main Street improvements between McDaniel and Hartrey. Not slated for completion until early 2021 is the treated water-storage replacement project.

…  that the City has amended its regulation of collections boxes, clarifying the amount that must be paid – a $150 registration fee, plus $50 per collection box – and giving owners of the boxes seven days instead of 24-28 hours to respond to complaints. Finally, collection boxes must be placed more than three feet from the property line. Previously, the ordinance read that the boxes should be in an “inconspicuous location,” which the City finally realized “defeated the purpose of having a collection box on a property to begin with.”

… that the City and Motivate International, Inc., have signed a five-year agreement  with a five-year extension option regarding Divvy bikes and bike stations here. Divvy, now owned by Lyft, will make a few improvements, provide 90 electric-assist bicycles with “lock-to” functionality (so the bikes can be secured at a Divvy station or bicycle-parking infrastructure); integrate its program with the Ventra card to allow users to initiate a rental with a transit card, and share some of its revenue with the City.

… that roots of a tree in the parkway on Hawthorne Lane that fell over a couple of weeks ago pushed up the sidewalk precipitously. When the tree fell, it knocked out a major gas main, but NICOR still took its time – about an hour – to show up to fix it, nearby residents reported. City crews have taken away the displaced sidewalk squares and the rest of the tree and have laid sod on the parkway. Hopefully it will be finished by the time winter sets in.

… that gasoline prices in the Chicago area had fallen by more than a dime per gallon by the first of the month, averaging $2.67/gallon on Nov. 4, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 1,437 stations. These prices are 28.3 cents per gallon lower than a month ago and 19.4 cents per gallon lower than a year ago

… that it was railroads that created the original time zones. According to History.org, at “exactly noon” on Nov. 18, 1883, American and Canadian railroads began using four continental zones, to “end the confusion of dealing with thousands of local times.”

… that October’s cooler weather brought soil temperatures down, according to information from Jennie Atkins, Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring (WARM) program manager at the Illinois State Water Survey. The WARM report said soil temperatures at four inches under sod averaged 570 on Oct. 16, 20 below the long-term average for mid-October. Temperatures have dropped 180 since Oct. 1. Soil moisture, on average, has changed little the first half of October, but the average hides the larger changes seen in the various regions – a decline of 8%-17% in the north and central parts of the state and an increase of about 44% in the southern regions. The WARM program collects hourly and daily weather and soil information at 19 stations across the state. Daily and monthly summaries can be found at the WARM website and in the Illinois Water and Climate Summary.

From our readers: TG: Agree with you on the renaming of Sheridan Road. But must point out that as winter begins on Dec. 21, street cleaning has not been extended into early winter – just deeper into late fall.  –  James Latta

From TG: Right you are on the seasons, and thanks for the support of renaming Sheridan Road. Of course, Mr. Cohen’s point in the last issue – about the work of protecting blacks from the Klan and Jim Crow – is a good one, but the deliberate starvation of Native Americans is a tough one to come to grips with.

TG: I had not yet opened my vehicle tax envelope yet, so was happy to be alerted to the issues others were having. I was then expecting that you would provide the missing info such as who to make the check out to and where to mail it. I really appreciate your column, but you missed an opportunity to extend your good service.  
– Allison Cohen

From TG:
Sorry about that, Ms. Cohen. TG assumed that enough residents would take to their phones and emails and barrage the City with questions. Those who did not do so or who guessed (as did TG) might like to know, as you suggest, that checks should be made out to the City of Evanston and mailed to the attention of the Collector’s Office, Morton Civic Center, 2100 Ridge Ave., 60201

Not from our readers but from a transplanted Evanstonian: People of Seattle, while so far most of you have been pretty nice, I just want to say that if the car ahead of you is a little hesitant, maybe it’s because the driver IS NEW TO YOUR DAMN TOWN.
Maybe you don’t need to yell, “idiot!” at them. They’re probably not obstructing you intentionally for 30 seconds from reaching your very important destination. And your epithet might distract them for a further very important (to you) 4 or 5 seconds.  – Natalie Wainwright

From TG: Sorry to hear that drivers seem to be as rude in Seattle as many other places, Ms. Wainwright. Your advice is applicable here in the heartland as well. Rude driving may temporarily gratify something in the one who yells or honks, but it does little for the universe.

The Traffic Guy thinks …
… that the Mayor’s choosing to hold a “town hall” meeting in a local bar seems to send a message. Is it a, b, c, all, or none: a) Residents who do not drink or do not like bars need not come. b) Since it is a small place, not many residents will fit in. c) Other bars and restaurants – many of which are owned and operated by Evanstonians, as is the chosen one – do not really count. Cheers to the “in” group.

 … that some things just never end but cycle through the times. In the RoundTable’s 26th magazine, which comes out with this Nov. 14 print edition of the newspaper, writer Shawn Jones cites some data from Viola Crouch Reeling’s history of Evanston and the newspaper Evanston Index of more than a century ago. “Motor cars were replacing streetcars. In a sign that some things never change, ‘Bicyclists felt that the automobile drivers were trying to run them down,’ wrote Ms. Crouch Reeling. …  On May 5, 1900, the Index reported that ‘the police are giving warning that they will soon begin making arrests for violations of the ordinance which prohibits riding bicycles on the sidewalks and riding at night without a lantern.’” Echoes through the ages.

Everyone at the RoundTable is getting ready for the major transfer to being online only. TG is not certain whether or not stop signs fit into cyber-space but, unless hit by a wayward driver, will likely stay planted at Florence and Crain, winking at the cars and pickups, bikes and scooters, dog-walkers and stroller-pushers as they amble about this best of all possible neighborhoods.



Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2019
Comment by: John McClelland

Railroad time zones: Traffic Guy noted the relationship between the railroads and Standard Time (known to my grandparents as "Railroad Time"). Yep. So sensible. Can you imagine dispatching or riding trains on a route where every town had a slightly -- or not so-slightly -- different "solar time"? Commerce and politics intruded somewhat sensibly. The logical western end of Eastern Time, the 90th meridian, is about halfway between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River. Using it would have made Illinois a two-zone state, so the boundary got moved east to the state line. That led eventually to Indiana becoming a two-zone state and Chicagoland being an hour behind the East.



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