Quantcast

Crowds line up for city stickers — perhaps for last time

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.

Editors’ Picks