The City of Evanston today launched sales of new discounted monthly parking passes at the Maple Avenue garage downtown.

The only catch is that to qualify for the discount patrons have to be willing to brave the elements on the top deck of the structure.

The program offers a monthly parking pass for $50, instead of the normal $85 rate.

The program is designed to encourage more people who work downtown and feed meters now to park their cars in the garage instead.

It’s intended to generate new revenue for the city’s parking program and help free up on-street meter spaces for shoppers.

City officials say a similar program already in operation at the Sherman Plaza garage has substantially increased the total number of people who park there.

To apply for the program, visit the office on the first floor of the garage at 1800 Maple Ave. or call 847-866-9240.

About 250 spaces are available under the new reduced-rate program.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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