Non-residents could face higher fees to park in city garages and parking lots under an idea floated at the Evanston City Council’s meeting Monday night.

As aldermen offered suggestions for how to raise more revenue to close a budget gap, Assistant City Manager Marty Lyons suggested boosting parking rates for people who don’t live here

Lyons suggested that many other communities with substantial communter parking space, including Oak Park, charge higher rates to non-residents.

Alderman Eleanor Revelle, 7th Ward, said she liked the idea of higher non-resident rates, but Mayor Steve Hagerty cautioned that the city should get feedback from local business owners before making such a change.

It their out-of-town employees would have to pay more, it could create issues with employee retention, Hagerty suggested.

Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, suggested approaching Northwestern University to try to pressure students to pay their city parking tickets before they graduate. Wynne said she’s confident the school doesn’t let them graduate without paying off any university parking tickets they may have accumulated.

Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, suggested ending free parking at meters on Sundays, and Deputy City Manager Erika Storlie said if regular rates applied for Sunday parking in the city garages and at parking meters the city might raise an additional $850,000 in annual revenue, but it would also incur some additional cost for parking enforcement operations.

Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, said he wouldn’t support charging for meters on Sundays, but said he’d consider increasing parking rates to be $1 an hour citywide — eliminating the current $0.75 rate in neighborhood shopping districts. The $1 rate already applies downtown.

Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, suggested raising fines levied in the city’s administrative adjudication system.

And Alderman Tom Suffredin, 6th Ward, suggested considering reporting traffic tickets to credit bureaus as a way of pressuring scofflaws to pay up.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Yea that’s the way

    What backward thinking. Raise parking rates to discourage out of towners coming to Evanston. Keep putting more taxes on residents also. Tax liquor [9%] so residents will go to Wilmette and Skokie.

    I’d have thought they would have learned from the 70’s Evanston gasoline tax. No they never learn.

    I guess they follow the old rule “we lose money on every transaction but make it up on volume.”

  2. Expired Meters

    I sent an email to my alderman Donald Wilson saying that I had walked a 1-2 block radius in the downtown Evanston area on Friday, 8/11 between 7:30-8:00pm and counted 33 expired parking meters with vehicles parked in them, but no tickets on the vehicles. I’ve been told by Evanston Now that it is possible that users of the parking app may pay remotely, but that the extension doesn’t register on the meters…not sure if this is true. If so, it seems like this is a problem with the app that should be fixed.  I question how much the City is enforcing meter limits and ticketing users.  My alderman has not yet responded to my email.  With the City budget issues, anyone parking at the meters should be paying and we should be enforcing the rules.

    1. Parking App and Meters Don’t Somehow “Sync”

      “I’ve been told by Evanston Now that it is possible that users of the parking app may pay remotely, but that the extension doesn’t register on the meters…not sure if this is true. If so, it seems like this is a problem with the app that should be fixed.”

      Yes, that is true. The meters still show expired for individuals that pay with the app and enforcement can check license plates to see who has paid via the app. There is nothing with the app that could be “fixed” to have the meter show something else — that would require a HUGE infrastructure/software investment of the meters to be able somehow connect to the internet and have the connection to the data feed. Clearly, not worth it. I think the enforcement is generally pretty strong, but I don’t have any evidence of that — it’s just an anecdotal observation. It seems like once you get a parking ticket, there is absolutely no “teeth” to it and many people just don’t pay it….They’re saying maybe have a “late pay” holiday to encourage payment by waiving the late fees, but if there’s no negative consequence to not paying it, what incentive do people have? I guess if you get a certain number of unpaid parking tickets you get a boot, but besides that….an individual would have no worry. But at a paltry $10 fine, seems like the majority of individuals would pay it if there was a simple way to do so. I still don’t understand why they didn’t raise the fine….that was absolutely the most logical thing to do to raise revenues as the fine is stuck in the 70s! What’s the fine in Chicago? I seem to recall them being in the $50-$100 range.

  3. Let me get this straight

    So the proposal is to charge people who work in Evanston, but don’t live here, more. Hmm.

      1. to park or not to park….

        Well…as it is, and has been, nobody I know of…(we live in surrounding suburbs) shops in Evanston when you can shop in Skokie, Wilmette, Glenview, etc. for FREE.  Old Orchard, Northbrook Court, downtown   Wilmette, etc all have lovely stores, great restaurants, and no parking hassles ever.

        So whose bright idea is it to chase away even MORE potential Evanston shoppers by making parking more costly?????  What is it they are not seeing in front of their faces?  This is the way the town’s been run for a very long time. Making shopping even more negative is not the answer.   DUH

        1. Who are the parkers ?

          Leaving aside those who work in [downtown] Evanston and perhaps a few who park to catch Metra/CTA, I suspect few come to shop [shopping in Evanston is an oxymoron]. It is probably the movie theater that draws by far the largest number. Then people might go to a restaurant but given the complaints about parking fees, they probably then go home or to Skokie to eat. 

          1. Agree with comments

            stop chasing away revenue potential. Yes, the easy way to TEMPORARILY pluck a budget hole is to raise taxes and fees, but the REAL solution is to lower costs. Work on real solutions.

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