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Not content with banning bicycles and skateboards on sidewalks in business districts, Council members are pondering a new ordinance that would restrict sidewalk use to mostly unencumbered walkers.
“I’m tired of dodging SUV strollers,” said Alderman-at-Large Kir Mudgon, “And getting poked in the eye by golf umbrellas,” the alderman added. “Let’s set the fines really high.”
The ordinance would limit strollers to one axle – essentially confining parents to retro umbrella strollers – and contains fines of $10 per day per axle for violations. Special three-month permits for three-wheel- and four-wheel-drive strollers are available for a fee of $100/axle, according to information from City tax czar Pearl Le Blanc. “These are renewable yearly, so SUV-stroller parent will have to decide whether they want to pay for getting their children out in warm weather – and take advantage of all the
storage spaces – or wait until the wrenching ennui of winter and pull out the big-wheeled buggy. What a choice! Either way the City wins,” Ms. Le Blanc added.
A second part of the ordinance limits the circumference of umbrellas acceptable on Evanston streets to 34 inches, with a fine of $5 per circumferential inch for violations.
“This ordinance is a joint venture with the elementary school district,” said Patricia Grimweld, City-School liaison. “Kids in fourth-grade math can tell their moms how long the spokes can be when they go shopping for umbrellas. The PTA will be collecting all outsized umbrellas and turning them in to bat wings for the all-District Halloween party in October. So nothing will be wasted. And at the high school, kids in Senior Studies are planning an ‘Umbrellas to Garden’ water-saving project, by turning the umbrellas inside out, reinforcing the waterproof material and planting them in the edible garden and community gardens as mini-cisterns.”
Just as the ordinance was about to be passed unanimously, the Mayor offered a rider. “I nearly got bumped onto the third rail by a backpack-wearing kindergartner,” said the Mayor. “People have been talking for years about the dangers for kids if they wear heavy backpacks, but the hidden danger is to those around them. A sudden turn by someone taller than three feet can knock a passerby into the street.”
The Mayor added, “I know these kids have to have homework so they can get into our local world-class university. I’ll see if the U will donate 10,000 little purple wagons to haul their homework home in,” the Mayor added helpfully.
“The wagons will have to be blue and orange through high school,” corrected Ald. Mudgon.
Although approved only for introduction, the ordinance is likely to be approved at the Special April 1 City Council meeting.