Evanston's city-owned Maple Avenue garage.

City officials will seek Transportantion and Parking Committee approval tonight of a plan that would require shoppers to buy something at a downtown store to get free parking this holiday season.

In recent years the city has waived parking fees on weekdays after 5 p.m. and all day on Saturdays at the downtown garages and three city city parking lots at a cost of about $48,000 in lost parking revenue.

In a memo to the committee, Parking Division Manager Jill Velan says the new plan is to provide merchants with validation codes for the ParkEvanston app or validated tickets for the city parking garages that they could distribute to customers who make a purchase in their stores.

That way the discount program would work at on-street meters as well as the garages — but only people who made a purchase would benefit from the program.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. I am a Luddite

    How does this plan benefit patrons of Evanston businesses that park at on street meters but do not posses a smart phone?

    1. It doesn’t

      Hi Dan,

      The plan does not benefit people who lack smartphones and insist on parking at on-street meters.

      But it does not take away any benefit they have now either.

      A nationwide survey shows that as of this year 77 percent of U.S. adults have smartphones. Based on the demographic breakdown in the survey, it would appear that the ownership level is likely to be considerably higher than that in Evanston.

      — Bill

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