City environmental board supports plastic bag ban, talks bike plan

Edward Cox, Video Editor

The city’s Environment Board agreed to support a ban on plastic bags Thursday.

City council will review the proposed ordinance in a special meeting May 19. Evanston sustainable programs coordinator Catherine Hurley said the city’s legal team will draft a ban modeled after one passed by Chicago City Council. The Chicago ban prohibits plastic bags in chain stores or franchise stores more than 10,000 square feet in size and will go into effect in August 2015.

City manager Wally Bobkiewicz, who requested that the ordinance be brought before the board, seems receptive to the ban, Hurley told The Daily.

“The mood is pretty open to having an open public discussion about it,” Hurley said. “I think it’s low hanging fruit. By bringing in your own bags … (you can) reduce environmental impact.”

City officials should include compromise language in the draft, public works director Suzette Robinson said. A previous discussion in 2011 on a similar ban failed to come to fruition, Ald. Jane Grover (7th) said.

Members also discussed creating “comfortable corridors” throughout Evanston for cyclists to use. In the city’s bike workshop on Saturday, Evanston officials presented a plan that would add safety features to eight “corridors,” including parts of Asbury, Chicago, Sherman and Maple avenues, Noyes and Howard streets, Green Bay Road and several other streets, in most cases by creating protected bike lanes. It would also prohibit bike travel on parts of Dempster, Main and Central streets, South Boulevard and Green Bay Road.

Participants reviewed the different corridor locations during the workshop.

(Residents weigh in on preliminary bike plan)

Four of the bike corridor options fall on streets that will be resurfaced between 2015 to 2017 under Evanston’s capital improvement plan. The city may request grants or use city funds to create corridors, Robinson said.

If the city approves the measure, city employees will have access to a bike pool, Robinson said. The measure would create a pool of four bikes employees could use.

At Thursday’s meeting, board members created a subcommittee to promote environmental awareness.  Evanston Neighbors United members and volunteers Linda Beck and Dorothy Headd said the group has been raising awareness of a waste transfer facility near Evanston Township High School since 2010.

The pair have coordinated with Northwestern’s Brady Scholars, who researched the facility as part of a senior project, Beck said.

“We want to raise awareness of health and safety issues,” Beck said.

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