Evanston aldermen Monday approved plan for five new bike corrals as part of the Davis Street repaving project downtown and started discussion about how to expand the corral concept across the city.

Evanston’s first on-street downtown bike corral — on Benson Avenue outside the Evanston Athletic Club.

Evanston aldermen Monday approved plan for five new bike corrals as part of the Davis Street repaving project downtown and started discussion about how to expand the corral concept across the city.

Three of the corrals on Davis will replace existing automobile parking spaces — between Oak and Ridge avenues on the south dide of the street and between Oak and Maple avenues on both the north and south sides of the street.

Two other corrals would be placed on plaza areas at Orrington Avenue on the north side of the street and at Hinman Avenue on the south side of the street. Those wouldn’t eliminate any parking spaces for cars.

The aldermen had more trouble agreeing on how to handle requests for bike corrals elsewhere in the city.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz said residents seem to really like them, but he voiced concern that if too many metered parking spaces for cars were eliminated to make room for the bike corrals, “we’d start talking real money” lost to the city’s parking fund.

Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl suggested that businesses that want the corrals should pay a fee equivalent to the parking meter revenue that would be lost.

The Evanston Athletic Club agreed to pay for the city’s first bike corral outside its front door for an initial year, but the city later decided to waive the charge when it came time to renew the plan.

Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, who chairs the city’s Parking and Transportation Committee, said she appreciated that businesses may be willing to pay, but “from a public policy standpoint I don’t like the idea that one business should be able to buy a space for their customers in front of their store that’s on the public right of way.”

“All the parking spaces on a street are for all the businesses or people who need them,” Wynne added.

She said it would be better for the city to take on the responsibility of deciding where corrals should be located, based on the demand.

Public Works Director Suzette Robinson said staff planned to prepare an ordinance to deal with locating bike corrals in business districts across the city for discussion at the council’s second meeting in July.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Now that is an OK Corral !

    This is very welcome news!  What is not to like about this wonderful change to the transportation landscape in Evanston?  The addition of more new bike corrals in different parts of town is a good sign that the most efficient, healthy and carbon free mode of transportation will get a big boost in Evanston.

    Just in time to roll out the City of Evanston / Sustain Evanston / Citizens' Greener Evanston's (a joint effort) latest goal to reduce carbon in our community by 25% by 2016 …  Evanston exceeded our 2012 goal of 13% CO-2e reduction last year… one of the few communities in the entire country that set a goal and met/exceeded it!

    Thank you Madame Mayor, Wally, City Council and bikers in town!

    Respectfully submitted, Brian G. Becharas

    Brian G. Becharas
    Energy Education Associates
    619 Oakton St.
    Evanston, IL  60202  USA
    Personal e-Mail:
    Home/office 847.475.0319  Mobile 847.922.1114
    Secretary: Renewable Energy Task Force, Chairman: Transportation Task Force,
    CGE –

  2. Great news for Evanston!

    I just returned from NYC where Bloomberg has done amazing improvement to the public realm by installing protected bike lanes and parklets. What was a claustrophobic, hyperactive city has been made calmer and more pleasant, and less polluted and overheated.

    This can only be a good thing for Evanston too. My only reservation is on requiring businesses to pay for the lost parking meter money. A better alternative would be to increase the cost of the remaining parking spaces until  it is balanced with the need for them (approximately 80% full). For too long cities have subsidized cheap parking on public land at everyone's expense. Now is the time for more equitable, sustainable transportation infrastructure.

  3. Great news on more bike corrals

    Great news on more bike corrals! However, businesses that welcome bicylicts should not be required to subsidize lost parking revenue. Bicyclists require less city services, roads, maintenance, etc. than automobiles. Those businesses welcoming bicyclists as customers should be rewarded, not penalized.

  4. Wally not aware of City’s own Transportation Plan?

    I am wondering if Wally has read the Multi Modal Transportation Plan which the city paid good money to have completed in 2009.

    It was adopted unanimously by Council and recommends that efforts be undertaken to encourage a) zero-emission modes of transportation and b) more use of the under-performing parking garages.

    A bike corral meets both of these goals.  It provides incentives for people to use transportation modes that cost the city less money like bikes.  And for those who need to use cars, there is plenty of room in the garages which the Transportation Plan describes as being inefficient because of their excess capacity.

    From the standpoint of economic sensibility, additional bike corrals help save the city money.  They don't necessarily result in "lost revenue."

    One blemish on the staff is that they never do full cost/benefit accounting on things like this.  it is bad administration not to do so. 

  5. Yes to more corrals, no to charging businesses for them

    Mayor Tisdahl's suggestion to force businesses to pay for lost parking meter revenue is equivalent to taxing bicyclists for use of the road. It will greatly discourage additional bicycle corrals.

    The City of Evanston's leaders should realize that bicylists are already partially subsidizing motorist's use of the roads (search term: bicyclists subsidize roads). This is a well documented argument that looks at the fact that the majority of revenue used to build and maintain local roads comes from non-user fees.

    Evanston's roads are built and maintained mostly by income, property, and sales taxes. Bicyclists pay these taxes like everyone else. But they require a much smaller percentage of the road and maintenance costs than those who drive.

  6. More bike corrals, more of the year!

    Yay to more bike  corrals! This is the way to go, and the human-powered transit is the transit to encourage. Allegations of "lost auto parking  revenue" are lame in a city committed to reducing CO2 emissions. Safe, secure bicycle routes and bicycle parking are of paramount importance.

    For the record, the bike corral pictured is so well utilized that it should be doubled in size for summer, and maintained in the winter at its current size. Surely this utilization signals a need for more such corrals, and ones that exist year round.  Keep up the good work!

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