… that snow parking bans and snow emergency bans kick in on Dec. 1. The Snow Route Parking Ban applies after an accumulation of 2 inches of snow, and parking is banned on certain streets between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. An emergency siren will sound at 8:15 p.m. if a parking ban is to begin at 11 p.m. The Snow Emergency Parking Ban applies after an accumulation of 4 inches or more of snow, and parking is banned between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. on the even-numbered side of the street on even-numbered days and on the odd-numbered side of the street on odd-numbered days. Emergency sirens will sound at 7:15 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. on Snow Emergency Days. Residents may sign up to receive notices of these parking bans by email or text, or may visit the City’s website or call in for up-to-date information. Readers are reminded that even after a plow has cleaned a street it may not necessarily be safe to park there. The plows may come back – the snow may continue.

… that, speaking of snow removal, City Council just authorized the City Manager to retain companies to provide towing services during snow emergencies, in an amount not to exceed $60,000. Cars parked in violation of the Snow Route Parking Ban or the Snow Emergency Parking Ban may be towed so City workers can plow the streets. In most instances, City staff say, cars are towed to cleared streets to expedite snow-removal operations. Once the streets are cleared, the cars are returned to the vicinity from which they were towed. But cars may also be towed to an impound lot. The fine imposed for a vehicle towed and returned to its location may be up to $155. This is on top of parking fines, which may be up to $60. Way, hey, tow them away.

… that once again the City’s snow plow blades will be the coolest around. As part of the 10th annual Paint the Plows Contest, students from 10 schools in Evanston painted the blades, depicting school, city, holiday or winter spirit through this year’s theme, “Think Outside the Bag.” The City collected the community’s votes on the plows, and at City Council’s Nov. 23 meeting, Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl will present plaques to winners in the following categories: “Best Theme Spirit,” “Evanstonians’ Choice,” and “Mayor’s Choice.”

… that October was warmer and drier than average in Illinois. The statewide average temperature was 55.8 degrees, 1.7 degrees above average, reported Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey, University of Illinois. The statewide average precipitation was 1.47 inches, 1.79 inches below average and the 22nd driest October on record. The outlook for November, according to the National Weather Service, shows an increased chance for above-average temperatures across Illinois and the Midwest. The northern third of Illinois has equal chances for above, below, and near-average precipitation, says the weather service. TG thinks this prediction will probably be right – this season’s snow fall will be above, below, or near average.

… that City crews have been out sweeping leaves from the streets. A photo of one block’s worth is pictured above.

… that the average retail gasoline price in Chicago on Nov. 8 was 70.9 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago and 32 cents per gallon lower than a month ago, according to Gas Buddy.

… that City officials held a ribbon cutting at the relocated Howard Street Police Outpost, located at 745 Howard St. The outpost was relocated from 633 Howard St, which may become a restaurant.

… that on Nov. 4, the Evanston Police Department had telecommunication issues due to an electrical malfunction. Between 6:12 p.m. and 6:57 p.m., 911 calls were routed to the Wilmette Police Department dispatch, which relayed the calls to Evanston police. It is good there was a back-
up plan.
 …
… that some gun-toting Evanston residents were caught because police officers could smell the odor of weed coming from their cars. On Nov. 3, at about 5 p.m., a police officer made a traffic stop in the 400 block of Dewey, smelled weed coming from the vehicle, and then discovered a loaded 9mm handgun under the seat. An Evanston resident was charged with a parole violation, two felonies, three misdemeanors and two traffic citations.  About seven hours later, police checked out a parked vehicle in the 1900 block of Brummel. Again, officers smelled weed, the officers searched the vehicle and found a 9 mm Beretta in the glove compartment. The occupant was charged with one felony and two misdemeanors.

… that Comet C/2013 (Catalina), discovered two years ago, might be visible with the unaided eye later this month – assuming the sky is dark enough. The comet will be in the east in the predawn sky, near the planets and moon between now and early December. At first, astronomers thought it was a rocky or metallic asteroid, but further observations confirmed it as an icy comet. Comet-watchers are warned not to view the comet in parked cars if they are smoking weed or carrying unregistered guns in their cars.

… that some brave soul was surfing on Lake Michigan on Nov. 11 in 50 degree weather without a wet suit. Hmm, the air temperature was about the same as the water temperature.
From our Readers: TG: Once again, Evanston is providing free evening parking for the holiday season. The City recognizes that this encourages people to come to the City to shop and dine. I continue to wonder why the City fails to see that this logic is not limited to the holiday season. Free evening parking used to be available at some City garages. Now – except in the holiday season – the City effectively imposes a $2+ dinner tax (via parking costs). This puts downtown merchants, particularly restaurants, at a great disadvantage when it gets too cold to walk to downtown restaurants from free parking areas. We often decide to eat elsewhere in the City – or go to Wilmette, Skokie and Chicago, to avoid this nickel and diming disincentive to eat in downtown Evanston. – James Genden

From TG: Good points, all of them. Driving elsewhere to eat also drives down the City’s share of sales tax revenues.

TG: I am a parent at Lincoln Elementary School and every day I walk my children across the treacherous intersection at Main Street and Forest Avenue.  
Today I witnessed an accident that occurred within feet of the crossing guard, parents and students. A southbound car on Forest Avenue turned right onto Main Street straight into a car going westbound on Main Street.
It did not appear that anyone was hurt, and I had to leave, but later I called the non-emergency line at the police station to report what I witnessed. Not surprisingly, the policeman said they already had five witness accounts; there is always a throng of children and parents surrounding the school every day before and after school – right at the busiest commuter times.
This narrow block of Forest Avenue, immediately in front of an elementary school, is wrongly bearing the full load of southbound Sheridan Road commuter traffic that should rightfully be flowing down the roomy, nearly vacant southbound corridor of Sheridan Road only two blocks east. Our crossing guards do their best, but it is only a matter of time before a child is hit by a car. Every day I witness dangerous turns, frustrated commuters, and overworked crossing guards.
I do not know when or why the decision was made to route southbound Sheridan Road traffic away from Sheridan Road and right past our elementary school. This traffic patterns needs to be reconsidered immediately to avoid more accidents and prevent children from getting hurt.
TG: Could you please advise me on the best way to help make this change – is it through the police, our alderman, or another way? If you know any history on the routing of Sheridan Road down Forest Avenue past our elementary school, I would love to hear it. – Kay Israelite
From TG: Thank you for the letter, Ms. Israelite. TG has forwarded your letter to the City’s traffic engineer. It would make sense to call your alderman and advise District 65’s superintendent who could bring it up at the City/Schools Liaison Committee.
TG: When I mailed in our wheel tax for our four cars, I put the single check in one envelope. When the city mailed me back the “paid” receipts, in duplicate, they sent me 8 separate pieces of mail at .485 cents each. Really?            – Liz Landon

From TG:
Well said.

The Traffic Guy thinks …
… Readers should enjoy the tree-lighting celebration on Nov. 20 at Fountain Square. Festivities will begin at 5 p.m. with music by the Evanston Children’s Choir. At 5:30 p.m., Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, Santa and Mrs. Claus will flip the switch and light the tree in Fountain Square.

… that we have a lot to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving!