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City cuts rate in hopes of filling Best Western deck

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Bargain hunters looking for parking downtown will soon have a new option.

The Best Western parking deck. (Mike Perlman photo)

Bargain hunters looking for parking downtown will soon have a new option.

Evanston's Transportation and Parking Committee voted Wednesday night to cut the monthly parking permit rate at the parking deck just north of the Best Western hotel on Sherman Avenue from $80 to $50.

Parking Manager Rickey Voss said only about half the permit spaces in the lot are now used and it's not meeting the city's revenue goals.

Voss said that with demand from workers at nearby businesses looking for inexpensive parking he believes he can fill most of the empty spaces immediately with the rate cut.

Committee member Dave Reynolds said that years ago the parking deck there was fairly full. But Voss said a lot of businesses that used to be on the same block as the deck have moved further north in the downtown area, reducing the demand.

Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, said that compared to the Sherman Plaza or Maple Avenue garages "this space is not nearly as attractive or as easy to maneuver through."

She said those differences seemed to help justify the lower rate. "It's not as light and airy as our newer garages."

Alderman Coleen Burrus, 9th Ward, suggested that with the rate cut some commuters who now park at Sherman Plaza and take the CTA to downtown Chicago from the Davis Street station might switch to using the Dempster Street CTA stop, a short walk from the Best Western deck.

Voss said that while the spaces in the deck are only signed to be available for permit parking from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and switch to metered parking after that to accommodate customers at nearby restaurants, he's instructed the parking enforcement staff to not ticket permit holders who end up being late getting back to their cars.

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