Northwestern football fans who’ve enjoyed bargain parking rates in an Evanston city lot along the Metra tracks could be in for a shock next season.

With the city’s new programmable parking meters in place, city officials are planning to boost rates for parking during special events — starting with Lot 54, which runs from Colfax to Livingston streets along Poplar Avenue, a couple blocks west of Ryan Field.

The lot now is targeted to commuters, with a rate of 25-cents per hour and a 15-hour parking limit.

Under a plan that was to have been presented to the Transportation and Parking Committee Wednesday night, the fee would be increased on game days to a flat rate of $10.

Revenue and Parking Manager Rickey Voss, in a memo, said that’s at the low end of special event parking rates charged in other cities he checked and would be only about half of what’s charged for other parking options around the stadium on game days. 

For the 220 spaces in the lot, six home games a year could yield close to $12,000 in extra annual revenue for the city under the plan — which also calls for doubling the expired meter fee during special events from $10 to $20.

The Transportation and Parking Committee failed to meet Wednesday because it lacked a quorum, but city officials indicated they’ll likely forward the special event parking meter fee hike to the City Council’s Adiminstration and Public Works Committee anyway for consideration.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Parking fees – what about commuters and residents?

    I think charging a higher parking fee on gamedays makes sense, and perhaps the City should charge even more than $10, which is still about half the market rate. However, there would be at least two unintended consequences. First, some people do commute to work on Saturdays, and those people would have to pay the higher fee, as well. Second, people who live in the neighborhood are often forced to park at the Metra spaces on gamedays because street parking is already limited and is even more scarce on a gameday. One way this could be addressed would be by implementing the gameday price anytime after 10:00 am. That would allow commuters and some neighborhood residents to park at a lower rate before the gameday parkers arrive. This wouldn't cost the City much because the majority of spaces would still be sold at the higher price, but would avoid imposing an undue burden on a handful of commuters and neighbors. Another factor to consider is parking for neighborhood businesses. If the higher rate applies all day, even long before a night game, for example, then patrons of nearby business would have to pay the $10 fee throughout the day. Perhaps the fee should instead be $2/hour, with a max of $10. That would allow some people to park for a shorter time at a lower price.

    1. Nice comment, the event

      Nice comment, the event parking rates does not appear to be well thought out. Maybe the city can sell monthly parking passes to those that need to park at this location on a frequent basis?

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