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New meters take credit cards

The City of Evanston this week is installing some new parking meters downtown that take credit cards.

The 41 new meters are here for a 90 day test, to see how they hold up through the winter months.

The City of Evanston this week is installing some new parking meters downtown that take credit cards.

The 41 new meters are here for a 90 day test, to see how they hold up through the winter months.

In addition to taking credit cards for payment, the new meters also let the city vary the length of time people are permitted to park at different times of day.

That provides a solution to a long-time complaint of local restaurant owners who say that the extension of two-hour meter operation until 9 p.m. has hurt their business by discouraging customers from lingering over dinner.

Instead of getting up from their table to go feed the meter, the restaranteurs say, many patrons are just leaving early, without ordering dessert or that extra drink — or they’re just not showing up for dinner at all.

The new meters keep the two-hour limit from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., but let people park for up to four hours between 5 and 9 p.m.

The meters are being installed on both sides of Sherman Avenue from Lake Street to Grove Street, on the east side of Sherman from Grove to Davis Street and on the south side of Davis Street from Chicago Avenue to Sherman.

As of mid-day today not all of the old meters on those blocks had been replaced with the new ones.

One other change in downtown parking rules this week — you can now park legally for up to four hours between 5 and 9 p.m. in city lot 14 at 1501 Sherman Ave., next to the Best Western hotel. That lot has had a multi-space meter system in operation since February.

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