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Evanston, IL POP-UP NEWSLETTER: Complete Streets, ADUs, OPAL, WasteShed

I’m starting to experience this month as the boomerang month. While September has always been the beginning of harvest season, the end of summer vacation, and back-to-school time, the energy change from August to September seems more and more pronounced over recent years. That quick turnaround — the return of the boomerang — seems reflected in the variety and depth of topics that crossed my radar for this newsletter — and the speed with which they showed up. Plus it’s a full moon tonight.

Evanston voters, media, political groups, businesses, activists
Residents in my neighborhood (Nichols Neighbors)
Some non-Evanston voters with Evanston connections & interests

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A. COMPLETE STREETS: Public input invited on 3 projects (my comments on 2)
— Shared Streets: Greenleaf Pilot Project
— Chicago Avenue multimodal corridor streetscape
— Church St. Pedestrian and Bicycle Improvements
B. MORATORIUM ON ADUs REJECTED: My pre-vote comments
C. OPAL: Thank you, 2014-21
D. OPENING IN EVANSTON: WasteShed (arts resource center)

Public input invited on 3 projects

Although the City has chosen to use the too-technical “multimodal” instead of more plain language terminology — “complete streets”, I applaud the City for continuing to ask for detailed input on major transportation improvements. This year, 2021, Evanston has asked for feedback on three initiatives:
— Shared Streets pilot project (Greenleaf St.)
— Chicago Avenue Multimodal Corridor Improvements
— Church St. Pedestrian and Bicycle Improvements

I believe that the City is still taking input on all three (as of Sept. 19, 2021). Check the links.

Since I live near Greenleaf St. and Chicago Avenue, I sent in my thoughts on those two projects. For my complete comments to the City, see my recent blog: Evanston, IL: COMPLETE STREETS — projects, surveys, feedback.

For a quick summary, here’s my main points:
a. All Evanston streets (and alleys) should be considered shared streets (except Ridge).
b. $$ and time (staff and people who use the streets) would be better spent on:-
— education (driver and bicyclists)
— common sense infrastructure (zebra crossings, bump-outs)

a. General: What’s needed in 2021-22 is a clear & consistent design of the BASICS — the bones — of a multimodal model, not North Shore prissy cutesy, trendy, “beautification” elements that clutter up limited sidewalk space.

b. Details: My comments on the details are organized as follows:
— Questions not addressed (landscape maintenance, snow management, public access to Northwestern U. buses, etc.)
— Design elements: high, medium, low priority
— Basic street furniture (high priority): bike racks, benches, etc.

My pre-vote comments

Thankfully, the City Council voted down a misguided moratorium on internal Accessory Dwelling Units if the property is not owner-occupied. My comments (sent to my alderman, 4th ward) before the vote are in a separate short blog: EVANSTON, IL: Votes “no” on ADU moratorium (accessory dwelling unit).

Briefly, the blog headings are:
— History (subdividing single family homes during economic downturns has a long Evanston history)
— Structural problems (moratorium won’t solve)
— Proceduralism (avoiding the real issues)
— Internal migration (we should be ready)

C. OPAL: Thank you, 2014-21

I’d like to add my thanks to OPAL for their seven years of intense activism and leadership on education, racial equity, transparency, elections, public trust, and community building. 

OPAL stands for Organization for Positive Action and Leadership. That’s certainly what OPAL members provided for seven years. Here’s their last newsletter, a short summary of their accomplishments and A Final Thank-You


WasteShed is a nonprofit arts resource center in Humboldt Park — a destination for affordable, eclectic, gently used creative materials.

If you remember the old Kohl Teaching Center on Green Bay (near the pancake house), that’s just the tip of the iceberg that’s WasteShed in 2021. (The teaching center later became the Kohl Museum in 1985, moving to Glenview in 2005.)

Or, you can think of the WasteShed as a thrift store for artists, teachers, and crafters. Or a bricks & mortar rummage sale. Evanston used to have many more thrift stores, garage sales, and rummage sales. It’ll be great to have a one-stop, permanent location for recycling art supplies.

According to Sept. 14, 2021 press release, WasteShed will be opening a second site right here in Evanston.
— Location:  Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse (1245 Hartrey)
— Pre-opening housewarming Oct. 8, 2021 (7 – 9 PM) For press attendance, please email Adrian Jacobs via for more event details and accommodations.
— Official opening: November 2021
— Volunteer at Evanston location, more info?
Donate to Evanston location

Website and more information:
— Sept. 10, 2021 blogpost: “The WasteShed’s 7th anniversary: We’re Expanding!” 
— Short video (4 mins) from Chicago Tonight gives you an inside look.

This should be a great partnership with Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse.