A City Council committee Monday took a step toward making it easier for people to legally park some work vehicles overnight on Evanston streets.

The Administration and Public Works Committee directed city staff to draft an ordinance that would let residents park a car, SUV of any size, van, minivan or pickup truck on the streets in front of their homes — even if the vehicle has logos that identify it as being used for work.

But there’s a catch — the user would have to pay the city’s wheel tax and buy a residential parking sticker for the vehicle — at a cost of at least $115 a year.

Rivera said the city could then use its license plate recognition system to track which vehicles are authorized to park on a block and which aren’t.

The issue was initially raised last fall by Ald. Tom Suffredin (6th) after a constituent complained about getting a ticket on his pickup truck. The constituent said it made it appear that the city doesn’t welcome blue collar workers.

The city code currently relies on the state’s definition of commercial vehicles — which says a commercial vehicle is any vehicle with a gross weight rating of over 10,000 pounds.

The city bars overnight parking of commercial vehicles on any block “in which more than one-half the buildings are used for residential purposes.

But, in practice parking enforcement officers have been targeting vehicles for ticketing based on whether they had company logos or other signs they are being used for work — even if they weren’t necessarily over the weight limit.

Ald. Eleanor Revelle (7th) said a resident of her ward has a Toyota Prius with a company logo on it and wants to be able to park it near his home, rather than having to buy another car so he could leave the company vehicle at work.

Ald. Jonathan Nieuwsma (4th) said he supports the right of workers to park a work vehicle on city streets but doesn’t want to have semi-trucks or tow trucks, “or the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile” parking there.

Rivera suggested not allowing box trucks or trucks with trailers and proposed limiting the permit rule to one commercial vehicle per residential address.

Ald. Bobby Burns (5th) said he gets complaints from residents about people who have a business and are parking several commercial vehicles on the street, so he liked the one-vehicle limit.

Ald. Devon Reid (8th) asked whether somebody driving for Uber or DoorDash would have to register their car as a commercial vehicle. Rivera said that if the vehicle wasn’t marked, parking enforcement workers wouldn’t know it was being used for commercial purposes.

And if the driver was already paying the wheel tax and for a residential parking sticker, it wouldn’t matter. “The commercial permitting would largely apply to vehicles not currently registered to the person’s home address,” Rivera said.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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