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.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Snow/Street Cleaning Change

    With street cleaning beginning on March 1. Do we follow the street cleaning schedule or the Snow Emergency schedule since we get some pretty heavy snow falls in March?

    1. Seasonal switchover

      My impression from Wednesday night's discussion is that, if there's just been a big snowfall and the streets haven't been cleared of snow yet, follow the snow schedule — which is more restrictive. If there's no snow, follow the street cleaning schedule.

      That doesn't seem too hard to sort out to me, but I suppose the confused can follow the new sign's instruction to call 311 if they're in doubt.

      — Bill

  2. Over signage

    I recall not too long ago that a study found that Evanston has too many signs and it cluters the view and confuses drivers. When driving around Evanston you cannot help but notice that there are too many signs.and sign poles.  Where the same no parking sign on a block is posted 4 times; two postings is more then needed. My hope is that when they replace these signs for the old ones that Evanston reevaluate this situation and remove the unnecesary and duplicative signs.

    This would be a great summer job for teenagers to go thru the neighborhoods marking these old duplicative signs for removal.

    1. Nonsense

      I can't believe the signs in my hometown are more complicated than the signs in New York City, where I live now. 

      Why does the sign need more words to tell you that it is a parking sign?
      Why does the sign need to mention 311?
      The uses of am and pm are inconsistent! (e.g. 9am-1pm and 4-7pm, instead of 4pm-7pm)
      Who takes a ruler with them to measure if snow is four inches or two inches? and where would they put the ruler?
      What's a 'Snow Emergency' and a 'Snow Route'? why would a driver care? he just needs to know when he can't park.
      Why are there extra words on the sign for assumed snowfall dates? When it snows, it doesn't care what date it is.  What if there's a blizzard on November 29th or April 1st?
      And as far as the 1st or 3rd Thursday, etc. – is that really the most efficient street cleaning schedule and most effective way to communicate that? I'd have to pull out my calendar in ten degree weather for that math.

      1. The signs are much better

        The signs are much better than the signs that are currently in place. The real question is when is there 2 or 4 inches of snow on the ground? I think it is where the city takes their measurement and you can bet it is not taken where you are parked.

        You rarely see side streets plowed until 2 or 3 days after a heavy snow fall and they are plowed in the daytime hours.

        Snow Routes are main streets and are plowed at night.

        When in doubt always call 311. It beats getting a ticket and a towing charge.

  3. Misprint?

    Did the second sign shown for "Street Cleaning" really mean 4-7 a.m.?  Who works or is up that early?  I'm thinking the sign must have meant p.m.  Correct me if I'm mistaken.

    1. It’s for overnight cleaning – Not a Typo
      Some streets have restrictions for overnight sweeping. They tend to be primarily commercial streets in business districts, or big thoroughfares like Dodge.

      Other residential streets with two sided parking also may have the overnight restrictions.

      I think right now the restrictions in some of these areas is like 11pm-6am. So this will actually give people more flexibility

    2. Street Cleaning 4-7AM NOT a Misprint

      LP – no, 4-7AM is not a misprint.  Those of us who live over here on Oakton Street just LOVE the sound of the street cleaner waking us in the wee hours of the morning as it crawls by.  We have been classified as a "business district," therefore we do not enjoy a night of unbroken sleep on street cleaning "days." 

      Thank you to the city employees who had the brainy idea of cleaning "business districts" on residential blocks in the early morning hours…. my 85 year old mother-in-law, who has dementia by the way, just loves to wake up and harangue us because she fears the sound and thinks someone is trying to break in. 

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