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Administration and Public Works Committee

Here's a recap of our live coverage of this evening's Evanston City Council Administration and Public Works Committee meeting.

The meeting was scheduled to begin at 5:45 p.m.

A packet with information on tonight's agenda items is available online.

Meeting called to order at 5:54 p.m.

Public comment

Rubin Aluno of Whole Foods at 1640 Chicago Ave. speaks in favor of the store's request for a license to expand its liquor sales from beer and wine to include hard liquor.

Junad Rizki expresses concern about electrical safety at the water plant.

Agenda items

Minutes approved.

Payroll approved.

Bills approved.

Water utility electrical study. $73K contract with Greeley and Hansen of Chicago. Dave Stoneback, utilities director, says new OSHA regulations require new labeling of electrical equipment — that will be part of the scope of the study. Says regarding the fire at the water plant, the city's insurer decided to pay the claim without doing a complete study to determine the exact cause. Contract approved.

Vehicle and equipment purchases … nine items totalling $434K. Approved.

New World Financial System implementation contract amendment with Schaefer Consulting. Assistant City Manager Marty Lyons says that while the city will be paying the contractor more, it will actually save money — because it will cost less than having city staff do the work. (City IT department has lost some staff recently, necessicitating the change.

New TV camera system for council chambers and Room 2404. $97K contract with AVI Systems of Bensenville. Approved.

McDaniel Avenue street lighting project change order $13K. More lights for McDaniel between Crain and Dempster streets. Approved.

Church Street street lighting project change order $80K. More lights near Evanston Township High School. Approved.

Utility easement for Trader Joe's development. Approved.

Church Street Boat Ramp grant application to the state department of natural resources. Parks Director Doug Gaynor says over 100 boats use the ramp — including the DNR and the Coast Guard. Approved.

Sheridan Road/Chicago Avenue bike path state grant application for federal funds.  Total project cost $1.9 million. Grant might fund nearly $1.5 million. Would be off-road (on parkway) path from Chicago Avenue to Lincoln Street on the east side of the road by the NU campus.

Public Works Director Suzette Robinson says would reduce current sidewalk width from 12 to 8 feet and add a separate 8 foot wide bike path. Says project would also create landscaping to encourage pedestrians to use crosswalks at intersections.

Also have two-way bike path on Chicago Avenue from Davis Street to Sheridan Road.

Says assuming grant is receved there'll be "a tremendous amount of public input" before final designs are developed for the project.

Alderman Jane Grover says Wilmette did beautiful bike lanes on Sheridan a few years ago — but Evanston at this point has trecherous riding conditions now on Sheridan. Approved.

Bike share system grant application. Related story. Catherine Hurley, sustainable programs coordinator , says the program is idea for short point-to-point trips. Can pick up a bike and drop it off at any station in the system.

Can help people get from transit hubs to their homes or workplaces.

Says there are at least 20 large programs run by city or county governments across the United States.

Says there are a lot of advantages to being part of the Chicago system — because it gives people access to bikes throughout the area.

Says grants will be awarded in January.

Initial proposal is for seven stations with ten bikes at each station. Have tentative ideas for locations.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, objects to the lack of any stations in the proposal on Howard Street.

Public Works Director Suzette Robinson says wanted to get locations that would be most likely to get high density of use — and then building out the system further from there.

Says there will be additional grant funding opportunities each year.

Rainey asks that the proposal should be held. Calls it "a slap in the face."

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz says you can have a station. Says could have nine stations — one at Howard and one on Dempster. Would cost about $20K extra for additional stations.

Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, says its glaring that there's no locations on the west side.

Hurley says would eventually like to have stations every half mile — but that would take 12 to 15 stations.

Chicago, she says is trying to have stations every quarter mile.

Bobkiewicz says Hurley initially asked for 14 stations. But when looked at match cost and the ongoing operating costs — he thought that was too much.

Says ongoing cost for the city could be $60K to $80K.

Depends on how much city wants to spend.

Rainey says she's not asking for more stations — just spreading them outl.

Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, agrees to spread them out.

Rainey says — its about who would ride a bike and you're saying that we [in South Evanston] wouldn't.

Committee votes to approve the bike sharing program.

Whole Foods liquor license change. Approved.

Howard-Hartrey TIF district expansion. Proposal designed to add the 222 Hartrey building proposed for new Autobarn location to the tax increment financing district. TIF district had been extablished in 1992 for former Bell and Howell warehouse site. Now contains shopping center with Jewel, Target, Best Buy and OfficeMax. TIF is scheduled to expire in 2015. Proposal at this point just starts the process of expanding the TIF. Further reviews to come. Approved.

Discussion item on Northwestern University bus routes

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz shows map of routes. Says Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, says has received complaints from residents about bus service that runs from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. — serves Tech Institute and library.

Concerned about idling buses, etc.

Bobkiewicz says city staff met with NU offiicals this afternoon. NU said its a loop route and need to be able to make a loop. Considering Central or Foster — but residents there may not be thrilled.

Says NU will look at ending bus service earlier in the evening and urging students to use the "safe ride" service.

Also considering trying to use only hybrid, rather than diesel buses that would reduce fumes.

Bobkiewicz says hopes to be able to come back to the committee at Sept. 9 meeting with proposed agreement with the university.

Fiske says residents on east side of Sherman at Noyes are especially concerned. Says there have two bus stops within about 50 feet of each other. Says get large congregation of people waiting for buses.

Alderman Delores Holmes says if move the stop to the other side of the street then it will be in her ward.

Rainey suggests appointing a subcommittee of Grover Holmes and Fiske to have a public meeting on the issue.

Grover seconds. Approved (with Burrus abstaining.)

Meeting adjourned.

Planning and Development Committee to start at 7:30 p.m.

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