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The City of Evanston is gearing up to deal with a major snowstorm, which Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl said, “may be the worst blizzard we’ve ever had.” She asked residents to “stay home tomorrow if at all possible.”

City administrators said snow removal equipment is up and ready to go. City workers will be working 12 hour shifts. The City has retained a contractor to help haul the snow out of the downtown area to one of five sites. The City has 2,500 tons of salt, but the plan is initially to salt only the intersections, so the salt is not simply scooped up in what may be a continuous snow removal process.

Parking at the City’s parking garages at Maple Avenue, Church Street and Sherman Avenue will be free of charge between 3 p.m. on Feb. 1 and midnight on Friday evening, Feb. 4.  The City is encouraging people to use the garages to keep cars off the streets which will facilitate snow removal.

Many City buildings will be closed starting this afternoon and many City programs will be cancelled tonight. See accompanying story.

Warming shelters will be provided at various locations throughout the City. See accompanying story.

A snow route parking ban is in effect for tonight, Feb. 1, through Thursday, Feb. 3. A snow emergency is in effect between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. for Thursday, Feb. 3 and Friday, Feb. 4. See accompanying story.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz said his directives to City staff are to “use whatever resources are necessary to keep the community safe.”

Update 2/1/2011 1:55 p.m. City to Open Downtown Garages for Free Parking During Snow Emergency

Today, February 1, 2011 at 3 p.m. the City of Evanston will be opening its three downtown parking garages to accommodate residents who will be required to move their cars off the main thoroughfares during the upcoming snow event.

Vehicles will be allowed to park there for free and must exit the parking garage no later than 12 a.m. Saturday, February 5, 2011. Anyone exiting after that will be subject to a onetime $13 fee.

Parking garage locations are Sherman Plaza Garage, 821 Davis St.; 1800 Maple Ave.; and 525 Church St.

For further updates on the snow situation, visit www.cityofevanston.org.

Update 2/1/2011 12:34 p.m. Snow Route Parking Ban and Snow Emergency Declared

Snow Route Parking Ban in Effect Feb. 1- Feb. 3

Snow Route Map here>>>> 

The City of Evanston has declared a Snow Route Parking Ban for tonight, Tuesday, Feb. 1 through Thursday, Feb. 3, 2011. Community members are requested to park according to the red, white and blue signs on their streets to allow the City to effectively clear the snow. Emergency sirens will sound at 8:15 p.m. to remind community members to move their cars on nights snow route parking bans are in effect after an accumulation of two inches of snow.

During the Snow Route Parking Ban tonight, main thoroughfares in Evanston designated as Snow Routes will be cleared first, and parking is illegal on these streets between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 1 through Thursday, Feb. 3.

Even if plows have been through, snow removal operations may require return visits by City trucks. The fine for violating the Snow Route Parking ban is $50 plus towing and storage charges.

When community members move their cars to nearby side streets, they are reminded to follow the snow clearing regulations for that side street.

Snow Emergency in Effect Feb. 3 – Feb. 4

The City of Evanston has declared a Snow Emergency between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. for Thursday, Feb. 3 and Friday, Feb. 4, 2011. Snow Emergencies apply to streets with parking on both sides which are not posted as Snow Routes.

Parking is NOT allowed on the odd-numbered sides of the street on Thursday, Feb. 3; vehicles must be parked on the even number sides of the streets.

Parking is NOT allowed on the even-numbered sides of the street on Friday, Feb. 4; vehicles must be parked on the odd number side of the streets.

The City’s emergency sirens will sound at 7:15 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. on Snow Emergency Days.

Cars parked illegally during Snow Emergencies are subject to a $35 ticket and a towing fine of $100.

When community members move their cars to nearby side streets, they are reminded to follow the snow clearing regulations for that side street.

Most streets with parking on one side only now have permanent “ODD date” or “EVEN date” signs that allow them to be plowed during snow emergencies.

Inquiries about snow removal should be directed to Streets and Sanitation, (847) 866-2940, or publicworks@cityofevanston.org.

For updates on Evanston’s snow situation, tune in right here at AM1650, turn on Cable Channel 16, visit the City’s web site, www.cityofevanston.org, visit the City’s Facebook/Twitter/City Blog from its home page, sign up for e-News alerts on City’s home page or call (847) 866-2940.

For updates on the severe weather, visit www.cityofevanston.org.

Update 2/1/2011 11:52 a.m. Civic Center and Libraries to Close at 3 p.m. Today

The Civic Center and Evanston Public Library facilities will close at 3 PM today.

All Parks, Recreation and Community Services programs and events scheduled at the City’s community centers for after 6 PM this evening are cancelled, except scheduled skating classes at the Robert Crown Center.

The Levy, Fleetwood-Jourdain and Chandler-Neuberger Community Centers will remain open until 9 PM tonight as warming centers.

The Robert Crown Center will be open overnight as a warming center and shelter.

Final plans for City non-emergency operations tomorrow are not yet set. Further information will be available prior to 3 PM.

Update 2/1/2011 8:30 a.m. Water Bill Due Date Extended from 2/3 to 2/10/2011

Due to weather conditions, the City of Evanston has extended the due date for City water bill payments from 2/3/2011 to 2/10/2011 so that residents do not have to go out in the severe weather conditions. Late fees will be waived during this period. Residents also have the option of paying their water bills online or on the phone at 847/225-7357. More here on how to pay your bill>>>

Update 1/31/2011 5:30 p.m. Cancelation

Due to inclement weather conditions, all administrative hearings scheduled for Wednesday, February 2, 2011 at 9:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. have been rescheduled to: Wednesday, February 9, 2011, 9:30 a.m. or 1:00 p.m. (same time as originally scheduled), Civic Center, 2100 Ridge Ave, 2nd Floor, Evanston, IL 60201. 

Blizzard Warning Issued through Wednesday

With a severe winter storm expected to take place Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday, the City of Evanston reminds residents to monitor the latest weather forecasts and make preparations ahead of time to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.

The National Weather Service has issued a Blizzard Warning through Wednesday. A Blizzard Watch means sustained winds or frequent gusts of 35 mph / 15 m/s or greater with heavy snow forecasted for a period of 3 hours or more. This can lead to whiteout conditions that make travel very dangerous and potentially life threatening. Residents are encouraged to visit the National Weather Service website at www.weather.gov for current weather forecasts.

City officials encourage all residents to stay off the roads and stay indoors during this storm if possible. City plows will have an easier time clearing roadways if they are free of vehicles. With the anticipated 40 to 50 mile per hour winds associated with this storm, snow removal will be more difficult than normal. Please plan ahead and make necessary trips now while the weather is still good. If you absolutely must travel during this storm, please make sure you have a winter storm survival kit with you. 

Snow Parking Regulations

Residents are reminded that they should not leave their vehicles parked on the street during winter storms, as it makes snowplowing more difficult and leaves large amounts of snow on the roadway. See the City of Evanston’s snow parking regulations to prepare yourself for the pending snow declarations that will be issued…  here>>>

Driving during snow removal operations

Give snow plows enough room to do their jobs safely:

  •  Don’t follow too closely behind the plow;
  • Don’t pass a snow plow on the right;
  • Slow down!

Visibility may be reduced due to blowing snow caused by plowing. 

Preparation Tips

The city offers the following tips to stay safe during inclement winter weather:

  • Have safe emergency heating equipment available.
  • Have disaster supplies, such as a flashlight, portable radio, first aid kit and three-day supply of food, available in case the power goes out.
  • Stay indoors and dress warmly.
  • Conserve fuel.
  • If you must go outdoors, dress warmly and wear loose-fitting, layered, lightweight clothing. Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.
  • Remember to help your neighbors who may require special assistance – infants, elderly people and people with disabilities.
  • A full list of tips can be found here>>>

Warming Centers

The City of Evanston offers a variety of services to protect the public from extreme cold temperatures. Exposure to cold temperatures, whether indoors or outside, can be dangerous to anyone, but particularly the elderly, infants and young children, persons with disabilities and people on medication. Learn more about extreme cold here>>>

During times of extreme cold, residents are encouraged to take advantage of warming centers across the city during normal business hours:
• Chandler-Newberger Center at 1028 Central Street,
• Ecology Center at 2024 McCormick Blvd.
• Fleetwood-Jourdain Center at 1655 Foster St.
• Noyes Cultural Arts Center at 927 Noyes St.
• Levy Senior Center at 300 Dodge Ave.
• Robert Crown Center at 1701 Main St.

Snow Removal

Homeowners and building landlords are responsible for clearing sidewalks adjacent to their property within 24 hours after a 4″snowfall. Landlords are also responsible for clearing parking lots within 24 hours after a 4″ snowfall.

When shoveling a sidewalk, please clear a path that is at least 36 inches wide to allow everyone, including children, people with disabilities and the elderly, to travel freely using the sidewalks instead of the streets. If snow is packed and difficult to remove, it’s acceptable to use salt or sand to make them passable. Please be aware of elderly or disabled neighbors who can’t shovel their own walks and offer to help them clear snow if you are able.

Snow Shoveling Program for Seniors & Disabled

This City of Evanston is happy to connect the elderly and disabled with volunteers that are willing to assist with snow shoveling; this new program has been developed to assist these community members in need. Those requesting assistance will be provided a list of individuals in the community that are willing and able to assist!

Please encourage Evanston seniors or those with disabilities needing assistance with shoveling sidewalks and driveways to contact the Levy Center at 847/448-8250 or aging@cityofevanston.org for a list of volunteers who may be able to assist them. Fill out the online Request for Snow Shoveling Assistance form here>>>.

Learn more about the program here>>>

City Operations for Wednesday, Feb. 2

The Civic Center will be open for emergency operations only.  All non-emergency business will be suspended for the day and staff will focus on supporting snow operations.  Each department director with Civic Center operations will determine departmental operational needs and inform individual staff members accordingly. 

The Evanston Public Library will be closed.  

The City’s community recreation centers (Fleetwood Jourdain, Crown, and Chandler-Newberger) will be open from 10 AM to 4 PM.   The Levy Center will be closed for regular activities, but staff will be present to assist seniors as needed. 

All other city services will be operating either performing regular services or supporting snow operations. 

It is anticipated that the Civic Center will return to regular operations and the Libraries will re-open on Thursday February 3.