Evanston aldermen next month plan to consider new regulations on newsracks as part of an effort to impose more order on the city’s streetscape.
The city already has an extensive set of regulations regarding newsracks, but City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz told aldermen this week that the city “has been lax” in enforcing the rules.
Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, said that in her ward newsracks “have been a problem on Chicago Avenue for years.”
She said they add to street clutter and that the existing rules have required a complicated notice process before the city can remove abandoned news boxes.
The aldermen discussed corrals that could enclose existing racks provided by the publications, like ones now in place on Sherman Avenue at Clark Street and in some additional locations downtown.
Newsrack corrals at Sherman Avenue and Clark Street.
Public Works Director Suzette Robinson said new custom corrals with lettering specific to Evanston could be purchased for about $1,500.
But some aldermen, including Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, said they preferred the look of rack systems that would put all publications behind identical metal frames of the same shape and color, like ones recently installed by Northwestern University outside the Technological Institute, even though those are roughly twice as expensive..
A cluster of newsracks outside Northwestern University’s Technological Institute. About three-quarters of these racks were empty when checked Tuesday.
Municipal efforts to restrict one-street distribution of news publications have been a touchy issue for ages with First Amendment ramifications.
While some restrictions have generally been upheld by the courts, others have been successfully challenged by publishers.
Marco Rodriguez, of Evanston-based CYMK Media Group, which publishes Shop North Shore, said a city policy that made it difficult for publishers to distribute their publications would likely face challenge.
As part of this summer’s Davis Street repaving project, the aldermen Monday approved adding newspaper corrals on the northwest corner of Oak Avenue and Davis, on the southwest corner of Maple Avenue and Dais, on Davis Street under the Metra viaduct and on the southeast corner of Orrington Avenue and Davis.