Evanston public safety officials are concerned about increased safety risks to residents as people start to emerge from their homes after this week’s near-record setting blizzard.

Police Chief Richard Eddington notes that because many sidewalks still are not plowed, people are walking in the streets.

He says that poses a major safety risk for the pedestrians, and at a news conference late this afternoon he urged drivers to exercise extreme caution and watch for pedestrians — especially in the nighttime hours when they may be very difficult to see.

“We’d really like to avoid any pedestrian accidents,” Eddington said.

Fire Chief Greg Klaiber said that, with schools closed again tomorrow, he expects more youngsters will be out looking for activities to keep them busy, and that may lead to increased ambulance runs to the city’s James Park.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz said sledding at the park is extremely dangerous. It’s also illegal, with signs are posted notifying residents of the ban, “But we’re realists,” Bobkiewicz said, “and know that despite the ban people are drawn to the hill, and in past storms paramedics have been called out  on several occasions to deal with injuries.

Parks Director Doug Gaynor said that to give young people safer options all the city’s recreations centers will be open Thursday with their regular activities and open gym sessions. He said he also anticipates the parks and the city’s golf course will see a lot of use from folks on cross country skis and snowshoes.

The city’s main library and south branch library are both scheduled to re-open tomorrow and the Civic Center will return to normal operations.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Sledding Safety????

    How dangerous is the little hillock called a hill at James Park?

    How many injuries and what kind of injuries have occurred from sliding on a sled down the hill?

    Age of the person injured?

  2. Have you ever gone sledding there?

    Sledding on the front side of the hill is generally fine, though it can be icy. It’s unfortunate that’s no longer allowed.

    If you push the limits (for example, sledding down the back side), as I occasionally did in my younger days, then serious injuries are a definite possibility. In hindsight I’m surprised I didn’t end up in the emergency room.

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