Nine hundred people stood in line Monday at the Civic Center to get Evanston city stickers for their cars, with wait times of as much as 40 minutes reported.

Nine hundred people stood in line Monday at the Civic Center to get Evanston city stickers for their cars, with wait times of as much as 40 minutes reported.

Lines at noontime today seemed shorter, but City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz, observing the crowd, said he hopes to make major changes in the program later this year to reduce hassles for residents.

“We’ve got to do better, especially on the residential parking permits,” Bobkiewicz said.

Now, he said, the city goes too far in requiring proof from residents that they actually live in the area where they want to park.

Residents frequently don’t have the documentation with them, which means an extra trip to get the stickers.

The biggest change in the works is a plan to completely eliminate the physical stickers and equip parking enforcement vehicles with cameras hooked to computers that can read license plates as the vehicles drive down the street and query a database listing which car owners have paid their city fees.

That should eliminate the annual cold-weather chore of attaching stickers to windshields.

Bobkiewicz says that while the license-plate reading software is well established for some applications, Evanston appears to be among the first cities planning to use it to verify that cars parked on a street have paid the appropriate city fees.

City officials explored implementing such a system last year, but ran out of time to put it in place before the deadline to start issuing stickers again the old way.

Asked about potential privacy violations if the city was able to collect and save data on where every car in town was parked every day, he said the city would adopt “best practices” standards to make sure such violations didn’t take place.

Residents have until Saturday to buy their stickers to avoid penalty charges and possible fines.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. By Mail?

    I mailed in payment for a city parking sticker, did not need the residential parking passes. Was it required to physically appear in person or will the city be processing applications that were mailed in?

    1. Still waiting for sticker?

      If you ordered a sticker online or by mail some time ago and haven’t gotten it yet … it would probably be a good idea to call the city parking folks at 847-866-2923 to inquire about why you haven’t received it yet.

      You’re not supposed to have to go to the Civic Center if you ordered it online or by mail.

      If you haven’t ordered online or by mail yet, I suspect there’s little chance you’ll get one before the deadline unless you show up in person.

      — Bill

  2. City Sticker

    I ordered mine online but there was a problem with the address.  The website only picked up my street number but not the street name.  It was returned to city hall and they sent it out again with a handwritten envelope.  So, yes, I would suggest calling city hall if you ordered one and haven’t received it yet.   

  3. How much will it cost?

    311 is going to be costing the taxpayers – over $600,000 ( reported cost )  how much will a new system with software and cameras cost the taxpayers for sitckers?  As stated no one else is using this, ( might be a good reason?)
    311 basic problem is how do a group of people sitting at the police station interact effecively with the various departments they are creating service requests?

    Given the data base problems the city has in collecting and maintaining data bases – such a system will have all types of problems.  One only has to look at the city lack of running its capital plan to understand the city is not controling its data or  funds. 

    Given the state is not fast to issue new plates  for cars – it will be interesting to see how many people would get tickets for lag time problems.

    Over the years the city has sent me the wrong information on the vehicle sticker renews forms – this year I end up with several different forms – one reflecting temporary license plates – which were replaced over a year ago with the regular plates. Thus a photo system will no doubt end up givning residents false tickets.

    At the same time, people may have to go to the administative adjunicaton to straight the mess out, interesting enough they recently have replaced most of the judges which ones that might rule more favorable to the city. ( as stated at a budget hearing ) – to collect more revenue.

    Council members should not be so quick to allow change without real cost saving and how it may effect the residents.

  4. Eliminate the city sticker program

    I think the licensing software program is yet another step in the wrong direction. More spending, higher taxes and not enough city job cutbacks.

    Although I believe there should be a sticker program in place for dense areas such as downtown, the city should eliminate altogether the sticker requirement for people living in residential areas.

    I should not get a ticket when I’m parked in front of my house because I don’t  have a city sticker. Give us a break and eliminate the program – more money in our pockets.

    Wally B. it seems is focused on spending more time and money on this proposed new system while the house of cards is falling all around us. Why is it so hard to just cut jobs and eliminate programs? If you took a survey I bet most Evanstonians would want to eliminate the city sticker system. At the very least, that option should be explored and discussed.

    You can bet your bottom dollar that the city will soon be faced with even worse economic news when less revenue comes in this year despite the fact the City Council has in the last year raised city and gas taxes, utilities and failed to adequately cutback on programs, jobs and union pay raises and overtime. In fact, the 20 new 311 Call Center employees will be unionized, which means taxpayers will fork out more money to pay for more pensions, pay raises and most likely overtime.

    Don’t even get me started on the poor fiscal policy decisions among other things from D65 and D202 school boards.

    Hard decisions will have to be made, and it appears the only way to do that is to vote in fiscal conservatives with business sense on the City Council and school boards.

    It is not the duty and obligation of elected officials to simply find ways for government to provide more services to citizens: it is their duty and obligation to provide quality leadership, management and resourceful approaches to solve problems for citizens not create them through knee-jerk higher taxation, spending and perpetual government growth in a deep and prolonged Recession.

    Just look at the fiscal nightmare our state is in. We will soon pay more state income taxes, and there’s talk of borrowing $15 billion more this year to pay the debt, mostly due to unsustainable government union pensions.

    Meanwhile, our city is researching a new city sticker system and planning to spend more time and money to implement it. 

    Tick tock, tick tock….


    1. Eliminate destructive neocon thought instead

      Cars have tremendous carbon footprints and as a result, we need to heavily tax them. The City sticker program should remain, but with a $1,000 fee per year per car so we can invest in carbon remediation programs and green jobs in Evanston. The fee should be waived for electric cars and cut in half for hybrids. The fee should also be means tested to ensure it does not create an undue burden on the less privileged members of the town.

      1. No free lunch for Al

        So Al doesn’t want to pay a sticker fee…he wants to park on the street for free.

        I don’t have a problem with that.

        Does Al think that everyone – even non-residents  – should be able to park on the street in front of his house?    If his house is close to the Metra or CTA, or hospital, or close to NU’s shuttle – there might be lots of other people who want to park there too.

        If Al is willing to share his street with them, that’s fine with me.

        On the other hand, if he expects the City to check to see who is parking there, then cars need to be registered, and someone needs to pay for that.   And if Al wants the City to be enforcing parking regulations to protect his street parking, then someone needs to pay for that too.  Registration fees seem reasonable.

        The question is–why should  homeowners with driveways or condo owners with garages who NEVER park on the street have to pay for registration? What do we get out of it?

        Here is my idea:  Raise the registration fee for wards 6 and 7 to $3000 per year, and use the money to fund the branch library.

  5. Slow Processing & Who Checks The Stickers?

    I don’t understand what is taking City Hall to process these stickers and the implications that if the sticker is not processed by the drop dead date that we will be subject to the increased fee.  If City Hall had the payment by the due date, regardless if they processed it or not, we should pay the initial fee.

    Who checks these resident stickers anyway.  I know of cars in an area without zone parking that do not possess them.  Why is there not a cross check with DMV records?

  6. Sticker mystery solved

    I mailed in my check (after filing in a blank form) more than a month ago but haven’t received my sticker. Then I emailed the city’s Parking Dept last week and they have been great. Let me know that they discovered a postal issue, that my sticker would definitely be in the mail and that enforcement was going to be postponed until later in the month.

    Super responsive and communicative about the situation. My friends in Chicago still can’t believe real people in my city government will actually get back to me. Though I do second others’ suggestions that you contact them if you sent your check in w/o getting your sticker yet. Best to be sure.

    Thanks for posting on the story and the possible new developments.


  7. My City Sticker Experience

    I spent Friday afternoon in line waiting to buy a city sticker.  It was my own fault.  I lost the city mailing and waited too long to buy it.  I thought the city employees were very nice.  There were two employees checking documents and answering questions while I waited in line.  They were very professional.

    I though the citizens in line were very rude.  Many tried to cut in line and demanded the employees to take them first.  I was very embarrassed.  I thought the city employees did a very good job considering how mean the people were.  I am ashamed of their conduct.

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