Evanston's Transportation and Parking Committee recommended approval Wednesday night of a new street sweeping schedule and new signage to better explain it.
As described by Jim Maiworm, infrastructure maintenance bureau chief in the city's Public Works Agency, the new schedule would extend the street-sweeping season from the current April 1 to Nov. 30 period to run from March 1 through Dec. 15.
But it also would reduce the frequency of street cleaning on most streets from once every three weeks to once a month.
Maiworm, and Johanna Leonard, the city's economic development division manager, said the current schedule is impossible to clearly explain on signs and contributes to a high level of non-compliance with the rules.
Examples of the jumble of street cleaning signs now used in Evanston.
That in turn leads to lots of tickets issued and streets that don't get adequately cleaned -- especially in neighborhoods where parking spots are always hard to find.
Maps showing where the most street-cleaning tickets were issued over the past two years.
With a rolling scheduled of once every three weeks that varies from neighborhood to neighborhood, its hard for even long-time residents to remember when a street is actually scheduled for cleaning and impossible for visitors to figure it out from the posted signs.
With the new schedule, Maiworm says, signs can clearly communicate that it's, for example, the "3rd Thursday" of the month that a street is scheduled for cleaning.
He said the new schedule would also give crews some slack time at the end of the month to schedule extra cleanings of streets that have special clean-up needs.
Separately, Maiworm says, he also plans to split the cleaning zones in half, so that instead of parking bans lasting seven hours, parking will only be banned on any street for a four hour stretch.
He also said the new schedule would permit cleaning twice a month on streets that experience shows need the more frequent sweepings.
Leonard said that, possibly as a result of global warming, it seems leaves don't drop from the trees as early as they used to, making extending the cleaning season into December a good choice.
Alderman Melissa Wynne, whose 3rd Ward includes many of the areas with the highest levels of street cleaning tickets, said she liked the new schedule -- but didn't want to see the frequency incresed to twice a month in those areas.
"In some areas there just isn't a place to put your car and people live with the street-cleaning tickets," Wynne said. "In those areas if we went to cleaning more often, I think the ticket maps would be solid red.."
The new schedule would reduce the number of cleanings on most streets from a dozen per year to ten.
Maiworm says he hopes the improved signage will improve compliance with the parking regulations and result in cleaner streets despite the reduced cleaning frequency.
And he said some special cases -- like Thanksgiving week cleaning of streets with a "4th Thursday" cleaning schedule -- could be handled by posting temporary signs on those streets for a make-up cleaning day.
The plan now goes to the Administration and Public Works Committee and the full City Council for approval.