Photo credit: City of Evanston snow plow picture

Evanston officials at the November 22 City Council meeting introduced a video that was short and sweet and had a commanding title: “Five Ways to Make Winter Easier.”

Edgar Cano, the city’s Public Services Bureau Chief, headlined the short public service announcement the City is running as part of Winter Weather Preparedness Week.  

“Snow and cold can make winter difficult,” said Cano, introducing his subject. “But if we all pitch in and do our part we can make the season easier for everyone.”

In the video, which lasts only a few minutes, employees from various departments involved in snow clearing offered these guidelines: 

— Clear sidewalks within 24 hours after any accumulation of snow or ice. The path created has to be at least 36 inches wide so that everyone – including children, seniors and those with disabilities – can travel safely.

— Clear snow from around trash and recycling containers so city crews can access them, empty them and stay on schedule. The same goes for fire hydrants, so firefighters can access them quickly in case of emergency.

— Register on the city website, and sign up for email parking notifications from the city about when it is time to move your vehicle. Parking restrictions on main streets designated as snow routes go into effect after two inches or more of snow has fallen. Once a parking ban is in effect, parking is not allowed on those streets between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.

— Emergency sirens will sound at 8:15 p.m. for snow route parking bans.

— The fine for violations is $60 plus towing charges.

— Snow emergencies affecting parking on side streets may be declared after four inches or more of snow has fallen. Emergency sirens will sound at 7:15 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. on the days when parking bans are in effect for side streets as an alert. 

Once a snow emergency for side streets is in effect, the city’s odd-even parking rules come into play: No parking between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. will be allowed on the even-numbered side of the street on even-numbered dates (for example, January 12); and no parking between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. is allowed on the odd-numbered side of the street on odd-numbered dates (for example, January 13). 

If a vehicle is ticketed, the fine for a violation is $69. If it is towed, the cost is $155, but the car will be relocated to a spot in the vicinity of where it was towed. 

Perhaps the most important step residents can take is to sign up on the city’s website to receive city snow alerts, stressed Public Works Agency Director Dave Stoneback. 

Residents can sign up for text or email snow alerts online at, by calling/texting 847-448-4311, or texting COE SNOW to 468311.

Other ways to receive notifications include the following: 

  • Text SNOW to 847-448-4311 for an automated message available 24/7
  • Call the Snow Hotline at 847-864-SNOW (7669) for a recorded message
  • Follow the City of Evanston on Twitter or Facebook
  • Check the city’s website
  • Tune into City Channel 16
  • Tune into Evanston Radio AM 1650
  • Listen for the city’s emergency sirens
  • Call/text 847-448-4311 from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. Hours of operation will be extended during snow events.

Bob Seidenberg

Bob Seidenberg is an award-winning reporter covering issues in Evanston for more than 30 years. He is a graduate of the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism.