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Committee mulls parking discount plan

Evanston’s Parking Committee Wednesday discussed a parking garage discount plan that committee members say residents may find unfair.


Evanston’s Parking Committee Wednesday discussed a parking garage discount plan that committee members say residents may find unfair.

The plan would reduce the monthly rate for a parking space in a city-owned parking garage from $85 to $60 — but only for new buyers.

Only companies and users who have not held a monthly parking account in the last two years would be eligible for the new rate.

As a trade-off, new buyers would only be able to park on the upper floors of a garage.

Regardless, some committee members voiced concerns about the fairness of the plan.

“I would not be very comfortable with saying to people ‘because you walked in early, you don’t get to have a chance for two whole years to get this separate price,'” Alderman Melissa Wynne said. “There isn’t any way that that is going to appear fair or equitable to anyone in Evanston.”

She also said the city needs to figure out how it could compel people to park on the right levels.

“What we don’t want to do is have to then hire somebody to make sure they do that,” she said.

The proposal is an effort to lure so-called “meter feeders” to the city’s much underused parking garages, said Jonathan Perman, executive director of the Evanston Chamber of Commerce, which proposed the plan.

Among the three city-owned parking garages, which are the city’s biggest assets, only 30 to 40 percent of the parking spaces are used on average, Perman said.

For every 500 spaces of city’s 3,300 that aren’t reserved with a monthly account, the city misses out on $510,000 annually, he said.

“There is a significant revenue opportunity here for the city with little or no additional costs,” he said.

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