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City balks at postal parking rate cut

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The U.S. Postal Service is seeking to cut the rate it pays Evanston to park its trucks downtown by 20 percent and lock in that rate for 15 years.

City officials say that deal won't fly, and members of the city's Transportation and Parking Committee this week agreed.

Assistant City Manager Marty Lyons, in a memo to the committee, said he believes the city could make 30 percent more than the $100 a month the postal service is now paying for spaces in the lot at 1612-16 Maple Ave. by using the lot for a combination of daytime commuter parking permits at $65 a month and evening valet parking that could bring in another $65 a month.

He proposed that if the city were to renew the agreement with the postal service, the deal should be for no more than four years and start at a rate of $160 per month for 24 spaces in the surface lot and $105 per month for 44 spaces at the Maple Avenue garage, with $5 per month increases at each site after the first two years.

Parking is already tight near the surface lot site, and with new restaurant and residential construction nearby, city officials believe the demand for convenient parking is likely to increase.

From an economic development perspective, Lyons says, a long term deal with the postal service, even at higher rates, wouldn't be "the most strategic course of action" for the city.

The current lease agreement with the postal service expires in October.

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