Evanston aldermen Monday are scheduled to debate a proposed 12-story apartment project at 1571 Maple Ave. downtown that tests theories about how much parking transit-oriented development needs and how far people are willing to walk to park.

The 101-unit project, unanimously approved by the city’s Plan Commission in January, provides only a handful of on-site parking spaces, and most of those will be used for public parking for shoppers at nearby businesses during the day.

But the city will require the developer to sign a long-term lease for 101 parking spaces at the city’ Maple Avenue garage two blocks away.

And, in an update to the plan since the commission’s approval, the city also will require the developer to require prospective tenants to disclose their car ownership, and either lease additional spaces at the garage or stop leasing apartments to tenants with cars if the count of tenant cars exceeds the number of spaces leased.

The parking lease — at the current rate of $85 per month per space — will generate over $100,000 in annual revenue to the city and help fill up the 1,400 space garage, which city officials say now has an average daily occupancy rate of just 50 percent.

A map showing the distance between the development site and the garage.

The developers contend that with its mix of mostly small apartment units, and its location just a block from downtown’s two mass transit stations, the building will attract residents who either work in downtown Evanston or commute to work in downtown Chicago by train, and that those residents either won’t have cars or will be willing to park them in the garage and make the quarter-mile hike to retrieve them for occasional use. 

But residents of nearby blocks who park their cars on the street have voiced fears that the new building’s tenants will increase competition for those on-street spaces — even though the new building’s residents won’t qualify for the resident parking stickers required to park on most of those blocks.

Other complaints about the project have come from residents of the neighboring One Evanston condo development — who say the new building will block views from their units. But the developers say the design they’ve produced — which orients the building on a north-south axis — minimizes its impact on One Evanston.

Related document

City Council packet with the development proposal

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Is it legal?

    Can an owner of an apartment complex refuse to rent an apartment to a person who owns a car?  Or what if they own a gun?  Or a mega watt stereo system?  Or the native food dishes they cook leave an obnoxious  odor in the hallway?  And how would the owner of the complex verify the renters did not own a car now and in the future?  The city must mandate that for all new construction there must be at least one parking space for each unit, preferably on site and not two, four or six blocks away

    1. Examine the traffic jams at

      Examine the traffic jams at Starbucks at Main and Chicago, daily for the last 13 years.  The alley is often blocked by parkers, and that means that those of us who have parking spaces on the second level of 515 Main often don't have open access to our spaces — 60+ — but we're all charged property taxes every year whether or not the city operates in our behalf.  (You might be amused to see the photos I have of police cars parked illegally in that alley.  We don't find that vbery funny.)

      We're across the street from a CTA station and 1/2 block from Metra, yet our parking spaces are full, and residents seek chances to rent additional ones.

      Consider use of a parking space some distance away your unit.   Imagine holding a baby and baby gear, carrying that stuff and marketing for 1000+ feet, in ice, snow, or rain.  Where would you park?  You'd probably choose an illegal space convenient to where you live.  The precedent is already set at 515 Main.  The city doesn't assure us of access to spaces on which we pay property taxes.  Maybe we should apply for rebates from the city for limitations of our access.

      And wait until the building goes us on the empty lot south of us.  That developed wants reduced aprking requiement, as does the building gonig up on Hinman just north of Main.

      1. I’ve lived down that alley

        I've lived down that alley for the past 6 years. Yes, it gets traffic in the morning. But it's a little much to imply that your parking spot is unusable, and that you shouldn't have to pay property taxes on it, because you have to wait a few minutes — at most — for an illegally standing car to move.

  2. needless parking angst

    If renters in this property do not qualify for neighborhood parking stickers, then the local neighbors are not affected and have no legitimate complaint. And the don't block my views Condo complainers have never had a legitimate complaint. Downtown parking restrictions do not allow more than 2 hours street parking at a time, and unless I'm mistaken, nobody can park their cars on downtown streets overnight, so also no issue there whatsoever. So this means the potential residents will be people who know full well they have no immediate parking available to them. Subsequently, simple common sense says the people who choose to live in that building do so because they are simply not car dependent. Duh. Therefore, there is no need for all this nonsense of tracking who owns what or anything else. Developer rents some empty garage space, great for the city, 100K is serious money. Tenants who may own but seldom use their cars will use that City garage. Other apartment seekers who need 1,2 or 3 dedicated, immediate access parking spaces will simply not rent there. Really, all the handwringing and angst over parking is overblown, same as it ever was.

  3. Once again Taxpayers maybe getting a bad deal

    Why was the Maple avenue garage built?  For the new weed shop Wally wants to put into it?  It was built for the city of Evanston failed adventure into the Research Park.  There is alot of excess parking,but right to the North of the garage is a very large parcel of land, being used for parkng by NU. What was this parking real use?

    Why isn't Wally and his crack economic developement team working on getting this developed? ( too busy building patios?)  It appears to me several large residental building could be put up here with no impact on the downtown.  Wally is now busy, trying to sell a small triangle of land on ridge for development which even one council member questioned the price.

    Where is there any Real economic development planning here?  Building Wine and Cheese Bars, making a deal for 10% of the gross of coffee shop, this is pure nonsense.

    Maybe the Mayor who wants to be good friends with NU should bring them some of her cookies, and ask them to get this property developed? ( rather than allow them to cut trees down in our public parks and destroying bird habitat)

    One poster here is suggesting $100,000 is big money, this does not cover the cost of the building the 101 parking spaces, we lose once again, but don't worry Wally will tell you the parking fund is full of cash and its not problem as he moves funds around in the budget. It appears to me we are getting about 1/3 of the cost, good job city council and Wally.

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