Chicago mayoral candidate Willie Wilson is planning another gas giveaway Saturday — and it’s expected to create additional expense for the City of Evanston.

City officials say the last giveway — which like the next one is scheduled to include the Mobil station on Green Bay Road as one of its locations — cost about $2,600 in taxpayer money to facilitate, including 29.5 hours of police overtime and five hours of 311 overtime.

Heavy traffic is again expected in the area of Green Bay Road and Foster Street throughout the morning Saturday, from the giveaway at the Mobil station at 1950 Green Bay Rd. 

Drivers who are not planning to participate in the event are encouraged to avoid the area and use alternate routes, if possible. The event begins at 7 a.m. and will last until 10 a.m. or until funding is exhausted. Lining up before 5:30 a.m. is not permitted.

Here’s a map showing traffic patterns for the giveaway event.

To facilitate traffic flow, the Evanston Police Department will implement a number of traffic control measures in the area, including:

  • Drivers will only be able to enter the Mobil station from southbound Green Bay Road. Overflow staging will be northbound McCormick Boulevard to southbound Green Bay Road. Simpson Street will not be used as an overflow staging area for this event.
  • Drivers will not be able to enter the Mobil station from northbound Green Bay Road, northbound Asbury Avenue, or eastbound Foster Street. No left turns will be permitted from northbound Green Bay Road into the Mobil Station or onto southbound Asbury Avenue. No left turns will be permitted onto westbound Foster Street, Simpson Street, Payne Street or Noyes Street.
  • Asbury Avenue will be closed to northbound traffic at Emerson Street, and Foster Street will be closed to eastbound traffic at the alley east of Wesley Avenue.

Two-way traffic on Green Bay Road will be maintained at all times. The median will be used to accommodate southbound Green Bay Road drivers who are not participating in the event.

Evanston Police officers will be on hand throughout the event to assist drivers. Community members are encouraged to follow the Evanston Police Department Twitter, @EvanstonPD, for updates on the day of the event.

With about 50 stations participating in the $1 million giveaway, that means about $20,000 of free gas is likely to be pumped in Evanston. So the projected city overtime cost for the event equals about 13% of the value of the gasoline being given away.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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1 Comment

  1. It’s my understanding that all other planned political events that require extra security are supposed to be paid for by the campaign (or its sponsor) that organizes the event. Is that not part of the permit process here? I personally know how hard it is just to build a fence in our fair city. This is clearly a voter influencing event and therefore should be paid for using the same permit process as a large political rally, privately funded festival or corporate event. If Evanston’s permit process needs amending, do it. I don’t want to pay taxes to support anyone’s campaigning until all campaigns are, by reform, paid for exclusively by the public.

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