Your next parking ticket may be accompanied by a flier with this cheery little retro graphic.

Evanston’s Parking Committee this week agreed to ask parking enforcement officers to add the flier to parking tickets they pass out in the downtown area.

EvMark, the downtown marketing organization, is providing 10,000 copies of the fliers, which show the locations of the city’s three downtown parking garages and what it costs to park in them.

Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, said she hoped the fliers would “say to people that we’re really not out to ticket you” and want people to know where they can park legally and inexpensively.

She said she’s heard residents compare parking officers to vultures and rabid bats. “Nobody believes we offer a 10-minute grace period on the meters,” Wynne added.

After the jump: Plans to raise monthly parking rates — but give shoppers a holiday break.

Your next parking ticket may be accompanied by a flier with this cheery little retro graphic.

Evanston’s Parking Committee this week agreed to ask parking enforcement officers to add the flier to parking tickets they pass out in the downtown area.

EvMark, the downtown marketing organization, is providing 10,000 copies of the fliers, which show the locations of the city’s three downtown parking garages and what it costs to park in them.

Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, said she hoped the fliers would “say to people that we’re really not out to ticket you” and want people to know where they can park legally and inexpensively.

She said she’s heard residents compare parking officers to vultures and rabid bats. “Nobody believes we offer a 10-minute grace period on the meters,” Wynne added.

The Parking Committee also voted to urge the City Council to repeat this year the free holiday parking program begun last year.

Under this year’s plan, scheduled for discussion at the Oct. 12 City Council meeting, drivers would be able to park for free in the garages after 5 p.m. on weekdays and all day Saturday and Sunday.

The program would start Thanksgiving day and run through Jan. 2.

Parking chief Rickey Voss said the program would cost the city $41,000 in lost parking revenue, but will encourage people to come downtown to shop.

Chamber of Commerce head Jonathan Perman said the chamber and EvMark are already working on ad ad campaign to promote the plan.

At the request of committee member Paul Giddings, co-owner of Folkworks Gallery in the Dempster-Chicago shopping district, the plan was amended to include the Lot 60 garage on Chicago Avenue that serves that shopping area.

What the rates will be for monthly parkers in Evanston’s garages next year will be on the Parking Committee’s agenda for its next meeting, Wednesday, Oct. 28.

Anticipating a lengthy discussion, the committee moved up the starting time to 5:30 p.m. and voted to clear the agenda of any other items.

The City Council in 2005 adopted plan for periodic rate increases that calls for the rate to rise from $85 to $90 next year.

But Perman said that plan was adopted “at at time when the economy was much different and projections for use of the garages were much different.”

He said the committee needs to have a full report on the garages finances, which isn’t due from the city finance department until mid-October before it can have an informed debate about the parking rates.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation

15 Comments

  1. Something cheery with your parking ticket?
    People are not happy when they get a parking ticket. When people are unhappy, they are not receptive to information.

    Why not put the flyers on car windows when the cars are parked legally with no tickets?

    There’s an old saying — you get more flies with honey than with vinegar. A parking ticket is vinegar. Nobody wants a cutesy message with a dose of vinegar.

  2. The Parking Business
    The Evanston parking business is a big reason I don’t go downtown Evanston unless I have too. I pay enough parking tickets already just by virtue of parking in front of my house — for street cleaning, etc. It’s like you need your lawyer every time you pull over around here to interpret the complicated and confusing signage and rules.

    I WANT to shop local, I WANT to browse the boutiques, I WANT to support my community. But it’s just so off-putting to have to hunt for a parking spot, then feel pressured by the two-hour time limit, only to find a parking ticket on my windshield anyway.

    It’s so much easier and pleasant to go to Wilmette or Old Orchard.

    I guess I am one of those people who feels like the parking business is seen as a revenue generator instead of as serving the public and the local businesses…

  3. Evanston’s Reputation for Ticketing
    I agree with the viewpoints of Lisa and the anonymous commenter—there’s nothing straight forward or cheery about parking in Evanston. The city’s predatory reputation for issuing tickets has been earned through its no mercy, no goodwill practices.

    A flyer and an a holiday ad campaign are not enough to neutralize the city’s parking image problem, let along make it appear welcoming to shoppers, visitors and residents.

    And what a mixed message the flyer plan presents: Here’s a parking ticket, pay up, but “we’re really not out to ticket you.”

  4. 10 minute grace period?
    I, for one, don’t believe a grace period is offered and fully expect and have received many a ticket, seconds after the meter expires. Parking in Evanston is clearly seen as a major revenue producing system of predation so why not just admit it.

    I don’t blame the city employees for this but rather see the Council as the source of the issue. Manage the city with less money, more efficiently and you wouldn’t need this constant nuisance.

    1. How is the grace period implemented?
      Seems to me that, while this is a generous policy, it sounds difficult in practice. Is there documentation on the ticket to ensure the grace period is actually timed, or is the grace period at the discretion of the ticketing officer?

      Evanston does have a reputation for being very strict about parking – and it’s often unfairly implied that parking fines are used to generate income (I have a hard time believing that parking tickets pay for anything other than parking enforcement.) Sadly, though, parking is often a deciding factor in where I choose to shop: while the downtown garages can be reasonable, they’re often a zoo (esp. Saturday mornings during the Farmer’s Market – I’m glad it’s free! What a nightmare!) I wish we could find a better way.

      1. Look At A Meter

        Is there documentation on the ticket to ensure the grace period is actually timed, or is the grace period at the discretion of the ticketing officer?

        It’s actually built into the meter.

        When there is no time on the meter (out of grace period), the number 0:00 flashes. When you put money in, the number stops flashing and the time is set. After that paid time runs out, the timer on the meter goes into negative numbers. After “-0:09” it returns to a flashing 0:00. And then, and, according to a Parking Enforcement Officer I spoke to, only then, do they write an expired meter ticket. Or at least that was how Parking Enforcement operated a couple of years ago.

        I encourage anyone who can spare a couple of minutes to watch their meter go into negative numbers.

        Seeing is believing.

         

      2. Meter grace period
        It is indeed built into the meter. As the other poster mentioned, the meter goes into negative numbers after the time expires, for up to 9 minutes. Only after this grace period expires does the meter start flashing “violation”. (which is all the parking enforcer sees from the street, by the way… the time left on the meter is on the sidewalk side)

        I’m not sure it gets any nicer than this when it comes to meters. People claiming to receive tickets “the second the meter is up” or claim that parking enforcement sits and waits for meters to expire so they can write tickets are just wrong.

        The parking meter prices and enforcement times are clearly posted. Broken meters are extremely rare in Evanston AND, there is a built in 10 minute grace period. Also, we have several major garages that are rarely, if ever, full in the middle of our downtown business district for just a few dollars an hour. What more can someone ask for in downtown parking?

        1. It is very nice…
          but up to this point I’d never heard of it, so it’s kind of like the proverbial tree falling in the forest; it doesn’t really help the image of parking enforcement.

          As for what someone could ask for in downtown parking, Evanston needs to remember that its car-driving citizens can and do shop elsewhere, often because of parking issues. It’s difficult to relax and enjoy yourself – and thus do things like browse, stop for lunch or coffee, pick up a book – if you’ve constantly got a stopwatch running in your head – if at a meter, you’re thinking “Is it two hours now? Have I run out the meter? How long did I really spend looking at shoes?” and if in the garage, you’re multiplying every hour you browse by the garage fee.

          I don’t have a good answer – I understand parking is at a premium. The truth is, though, it’s easier just to go somewhere with ample free parking, though – opportunities abound, some even closer to where Evanstonians live than downtown. This is a serious issue in a retail business district.

          1. parking garages
            We have 3 fabulous parking garages – with the first hour free. You cannot get a ticket in the garage and your car is watched by security.

          2. Parking garages
            The parking garages are difficult to get in and out of, and the cost increases the longer you are there. While it’s nice that I can’t get a ticket there, if I run an errand for an hour and a half and then stop and enjoy a leisurely coffee, it means that I’m adding $2 to my $3.50 iced mocha – so it will cost me $5.50, or, if I don’t hit the sweet spot and get there at 2 hours and 5 minutes, it’s then $6.50 or what I should have spent on lunch. Lingering over coffee at Old Orchard, for instance, costs nothing other than my sales tax going to Skokie.

            Yes, it’s better than a $10 or $30 ticket, or a sharp stick in the eye. As I said before, I don’t have an answer to this problem, but unless you can get all the surrounding suburbs to start charging for parking at their various shopping districts, it remains that our business districts aren’t competing on an even playing field.

  5. Offensive ‘Halloween’ items; where will shoppers park, anyway?
    The content of Evanston’s pop-up Halloween store in the vacant Pier 1 space on Sherman is 1/3 for kids/dogs, 1/3 fancy rental costumes and 1/3 X-rated junk. I’m shocked that the naysaying Ald. Fiske would approve such an establishment in her ward. And, realistically, shoppers to the store are likely to be in motor vehicles, so where are they going to be able to park?

    1. What’s parking got to do with it?
      “And, realistically, shoppers to the store are likely to be in motor vehicles, so where are they going to be able to park?”

      I don’t know what’s in the store, but it sounds like it will go away after a few weeks.

      But why do people always cite parking as a reason to oppose something?

      There are meter spots near the store, and the Sherman and Maple Ave garages are nearby.

    2. Re: Offensive Haloween store
      Where are they going to park? How about in the 12 story garage that is literally attached to the store? There are about 800 spaces in there, and it requires about 200′ of walking to get from your car to the front door. Try that at Old Orchard.

      As for your other comments regarding the store? Totally agree… overpriced junk, but don’t worry, I’m sure the store will only be around for another 4 weeks.

      1. Parking? Who cares?
        Actually, I don’t give a hang about the parking aspect. I just tossed that in to justify posting on the parking meter discussion, because I didn’t take the time to figure out how to start a new thread here.

        And yes, I’m quite aware the store will be around for only four weeks. That’s four weeks of X-rated junk on display (right in front of the window, in fact), with children of various ages spending time in the store. Makes little sense in this NIMBY-prone 1st Ward.

    3. we like the halloween store / get over the parking thing
      Did anyone gripe last year when the Halloween store (complete with sexy costumes) was in the Dempster/Dodge plaza? That arguably had more youth and family traffic, what with the Dominick’s store in the same plaza.

      We like halloween stores. We can buy masks, makeup and other costume elements there. Of course Halloween stores are tacky. Halloween is tacky. It’s also fun!

      The parking regs in Evanston are no more onerous, confusing or expensive than those in Chicago. It’s also much easier to cruise to a space in Evanston. I avoid Old Orchard, especially on weekends when the parking is particularly predatory.

Leave a comment
The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published.