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Parking stickers delayed — so is enforcement

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Evanston city officials say they're late in getting out residential parking permit stickers to many residents — and they plan to delay the start of enforcement of the sticker parking rules until after they've caught up on the backlog of requests.

Assistant City Manager Marty Lyons didn't have an estimate this morning of how long it would take to work through the backlog, but said he's checking to get a handle on where the process stands.

Lyons says that although the parking permit requests are processed by computer, that system isn't integrated yet with the rest of the city's accounting system — so "it's a somewhat manual process" to get the orders out.

Residents in many parts of the city — where parking is tight — have to purchase one of the permits to be able to park on the street in front of their home.

One resident told Evanston Now this morning that she'd applied online for the stickers back on Nov. 20 but still hadn't received them in the mail.

But other residents — at least some of whom had applied when the applications were first accepted back at the start of November — had received them and got them displayed on their cars before the year-end deadline.

The city two years ago stopped distributing stickers for wheel tax payments that are required of all drivers with vehicles registered in Evanston. Enforcement of the wheel tax rule is now provided by parking enforcement vehicles equipped with license-plate-reading camera and computer systems.

But the residential parking district permits haven't been integrated into that system.

Parking and Fleet Division Manager Rickey Voss says the city has frequently run into a backlog on getting the stickers out — and that it historically hasn't enforced the sticker rule until around Feb. 1.

Voss says he hopes the city can eventually eliminate the need for physical stickers for the residential parking permits — but that among other issues — all the city's residential parking permit signs require that a permit be "displayed" for parking in the zone to be legal.

He says it doesn't appear feasible to outsource the parking permit process to an outside firm — because of the complexity of the boundaries for many of the zones.

In addition, unlike for the wheel tax, getting a residential parking sticker requires that all city parking tickets a car has received be paid up, Voss says, which complicates the checking required before a permit can be issued.

Voss says more than 6,000 cars are issued residential parking stickers each year out of 35,000 to 40,000 cars licensed to the city.

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