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Recap: Administration and Public Works Committee

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

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.

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

The sale of the city-owned property housing the Peckish Pig restaurant on Howard Street to the restaurant owners is one of the items on tonight’s agenda.

Meeting called to order 6:05 p.m.

Minutes, bills and payroll approved.

A 3.1 – Asbestos abatement for 721-723 Howard St. Approved.

A 3.2 – Change order for Gibbs Morrison project. Approved.

A 3.3 – Change order for Fountain Square renovation project. $198K increase. Approved 3-1. Alderman Tom Suffredin, 6th Ward, votes no.

A 3.4 – Motorola service agreement for 911 Center. Approved.

A 3.5 – Divvy contract extension, 12 months. Related story.

Alderman Cicely Fleming, 9th Ward, says she’s concerned about the cost to the city of running Divvy — which is running about $100K/year.

Alderman Robin Run Simmons, 5th Ward, asks whether could cut the cost or the term of the agreement.

Community Development Director Johanna Leonard says need the year to see how program will work duing the summer months. Says are looking at possible station relocation options. Says have only had one full year of operation so far (plus a partial year in 2016.)

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, says Oak Park’s cancellation of Divvy has been making news.

Leonard says Evanston has done more to encourage a bicycle culture than Oak Park … Oak Park wasn’t seeing as much ridership as Evanston.

Suffredin asks whether could get some Oak Park docking stations now to add service in the northwest park of town.

Leonard says not clear yet, but will investigate.

Fleming asks whether Divvy deal prevents having dockless bikes here.

Leonard says she’s not aware of any restrictions in the contract. Says the quality of dockless bikes can prevent some safety issues for the rider … and how they can be left safely after a ride.

Approved.

A 3.6 – Using local employment program penalties for firefighter application fees. Approved.

A 4 – Capital improvment plan project reimbursement from general obligation bonds. Approved.

A 5 – Agreement with assessor’s office for geograpic information system data. Approved. 

Rainey says the county’s data is out of date. 

Approved.

A 6 – Morton Grove-Niles Water Commission addendum. Approved.

A 7 – Sale of city-owned property at 623-627-1/2 Howard … to Peckish Pig owners.

Rainey congratulates the owners.

Approved.

Discussion items

Public Comment

Dan Joseph, former CTA bus driver, used to drive on Ridge. Says lanes are nine-feet wide — and bus with mirrors is also nine-feet wide. To be safe, he says, buses have to occupy both lanes.

Says Ridge in Chicago has just two, 12-foot lanes. Says Evanston shouldn’t need four.

APW 1 – Ridge Avenue Corridor. Related story.

Laura Biggs, from public works agency, says a 2007 project achieved better signal coordination.

Says 15,000 to 20,000 cars each day on Ridge. Her presentation.

Says restrictions on left turns at some intersections have reduced accidents there — but seem to have led to an increase in left-turn accidents at other intersections on Ridge.

Says could reduce speed limit.

More traffic enforcement possible. Might try speed or red light cameras — but may need state approval for that.

Could more aggressively trim trees.

Could do split-phase traffic signals at more intersections. Likely to reduce accidents — but increases traffic backups.

Could hire consultant to do an in-depth study of the corridor. (Likely to cost $100K.) Improvements could be $100K to $300K per intersection.

Suffredin asks about changing to a three-lane configuration. Biggs says that could be done, although a reversible lane would probably be difficult.

Rainey asks about conversation with Preservation Commission about mast-arm signals?

Biggs says not recently. Says IDOT’s estimate of a 25 percent reduction in accidents seems likely to her.

Fleming says she would favor mast arm signals.

Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, says the property loss from accidents is high — would justify adding mast-arm signals.

Rainey suggests taking the issue to full City Council next month.

APW 2 – Sidewalk Complaints

Ashley King, acting CFO, reports 405 sidewalk complaints last year.

Fleming says she’d like to know more about what the responses were to the requests made.

Decision is to revisit the issue at a future meeting.

APW 3 – Pilot Landlored rehabilitation assistance program

Related story.

Tina Paden, who says she owns 15 affordable rental units in town that provide housing for 53 people, says her buildings need to sort of assistance this program could provide.

Simmons says she agrees that should support landlords who are providing affordable housing in the community.

Rainey moves that this proposal be referred to the Council’s Jan. 29 meeting

Fleming says she’d like to see the units kept affordable as long as possible — longer than the five years in the proposal.

APW 4 – History of Homeownership.

Item postponed to a future meeting

Meeting adjourned at 7:21 p.m.

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