While Evanston officials try to persuade the Chicago Transit Authority not to close the South Boulevard Purple Line stop, a city decision to install parking meters across from the station appears to be discouraging its use.

While Evanston officials try to persuade the Chicago Transit Authority not to close the South Boulevard Purple Line stop, a city decision to install parking meters across from the station appears to be discouraging its use.

Empty meters on Chicago Avenue north of South Boulevard on a recent Monday afternoon.

As Evanston Now readers have pointed out, meters recently installed along Chicago Avenue in the block north of South Boulevard have driven cars away from the closest parking to the station.

Although the meters permit 12 hour parking for a rate of 25-cents for every 75 minutes, much less than that charged at many other meters in town, the entire block was completely berift of cars when checked on two recent occasions by Evanston Now.

That contrasts with the situation before the meters were installed, captured in a Google Street View image, that shows many, but not all, of the spaces filled.

Google Street View image of cars parked on the same block before meters were installed.

The chairman of Evanston’s Transportation/Parking Committee, Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, and Parking Division Manager Rickey Voss have so far not responded to emailed requests to comment on the situation.

But Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jonathan Perman, a member of the committee, says the city should be doing what it can to encourage more usage of the station, which is proposed for closure under several long-range modernization plans being considered by the transit authority. 

Perman said residents who live near a transit stop often complain about out-of-town commuters parking in their neighborhood, but those commuters help prove there’s sufficient demand for the transit amentities that the residents themselves depend upon, as well as shopping at local businesses on their way too and from the station.

For a cost-sensitive commuter, the price of parking a full day at the new meters would be roughly the same as an extra one-way fare on the train.

On an average weekday last year, 768 people entered the Purple Line at the South Boulevard stop, the second lowest number for the eight stops on the line.

Update 12:00 p.m.: Alderman Wynne now says she plans to discuss the situation with Voss soon. We hope to have an update on the story early next week.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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5 Comments

  1. Not a Wynne-ing formula

    Melissa Wynne has been a big apologist for the South Blvd at Chicago parking meters. My condo board got a letter from her — some time *after* the meters were irrevocably in place — presenting some dubious logic about revenue. The before/after pics above are completely accurate. Revenue from those meters may not even exceed the costs associated with checking them for a few stray coins.

  2. useless meters

    I think part of why they installed these meters in the first place was to get the people who live in the condos there to buy a monthly pass to park at the Evanston city lot at South and Hinman. No one has done so, and no one's using the meters (except when they're free on Saturday and Sunday — then every spot is filled). Has the city made any money from this?

  3. encouraging use of mass transit

    I have watched the drop in parking along Chicago Avenue with great concern, and I attribute it both to pricing and complexity of operation, when commuters are often in a hurry to get to the train platform. It would be interesting to know what the ridership at South Blvd was before the parking meters. In any case, we should be encouraging people who live outside walking distance of the station to park near it and take the train.

  4. South Boulevard

    Whenever I use the South Boulevard station, it is very crowded during the rush hour. Isn't it bad enough that South Evanston residents have little access to the CTA, without reducing access.

    Because of the way the line moves east, Howard is a very long hike for 8th and 9th ward residents (not to mention a bit scary). And Main is not only a long hike to the north, but there is no parking if you would like to tuck your car in on a sidestreet.

    And let me tell you, trudging to the el, even at South Blvd, is a pretty long haul for many 8th and 9th ward residents. Metra is great, unless you're in the no-mans land of South Evanston, where you have to somehow get to the Davis Metra stop or go south to Jarvis.

    This is just silly. South Blvd. is one stopped, manned by one or two folks, no handicapped access, but it's reasonably convenient. Just leave it as it is. I mean, are we trying to encourage public transportation as a viable alternative to driving downtown, or not?

    We are talking about a Yellow Line station at Dodge, but honestly, that isn't going to happen. So a closing of the south blvd. station would leave us with a long hike or commute to get to public transit. this is wrong-think to the max.

  5. what makes people think the

    what makes people think the parked cars in the Streetview pics were parked by CTA users? Arent there many apartments in that vicinity? It seems broad conclusions are being mde based on no real evidence. Just close the station already. Its represents more high-priced government workers, potential mandated future disability retrofitting, and God knows what else. Just close it, and Noyes too.

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