Contractors for the City of Evanston are set to do extensive work on Poplar Avenue, including reconfiguring the Metra parking lot, repaving the roadway and replacing water mains. 

At a virtual 7th Ward meeting Tuesday night, Senior Project Manager Chris Venatta explained the details of the project, which is expected to begin after Labor Day.

He said that Union Pacific owns a three-foot strip of land now used as part of the city’s Parking Lot #54 near the Central Street Metra station.

The city has a year-to-year lease with the railroad for the land, but the railroad’s recent efforts to develop its property have city staff worried about the future of this arrangement. 

To move the parking off Union Pacific land, the city will replace current head-in parking spaces with angled parking between Livingston and Central streets, and it will move on-street residential 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. permit parking from between Lincoln Street and the dead-end south of Colfax Street into Lot #54.

The first phase of the project, which is expected to last from four to six weeks, will also include water main replacement work between Central Street and Harrison Street and street resurfacing. 

“The parking lot is going to need the most work because it’s in the worst shape. But then when [contractors] get to the road, it will be one or two days rather than one day. They’ll mill the whole thing up. They’ll grind the whole street up,” Venatta explained.  “And then we might have to do some select patching and dig some other areas up to reinforce them, essentially. And then we’ll go through and pave the whole thing.”

During construction, no street parking will be allowed from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

But to make up for the unavailable parking spaces, the City plans to lift street sweeping and residential permit restrictions from a one block radius around the construction zone, and contractors will only work on half of Parking Lot #54 between Livingston and Harrison streets at a time, leaving the other half open for parking.

The second phase of the project, which is expected to last from four to five weeks, will involve the resurfacing of Parking Lot #54 south of Harrison Street.

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