Price cut generates more parking revenue

It worked for the airlines and the hotel industry, and now it appears to be working for the City of Evanston. It is variable pricing.

The recently adopted plan to charge less for parking spaces on the roof of the city’s Sherman Avenue parking garage than for covered spaces on lower floors has generated more business and new revenue for the garage, Parking Manager Rickey Voss told the Transportation/Parking Committee Wednesday night.

Voss says that of the first 100 customers who applied for the program, half already had been paying $85 a month to park in the garage, while the other half were new parkers attracted by new $50 a month rooftop rate. That means a net $9,000 a year increase in revenue for the garage.

The city’s now waiting to receive an additional 100 parking transponders from the manufacturer so it can expand the program, and that’s when a bigger gain for the city should  kick in.

Fifty-seven people have already applied for those additional slots, and of those, only eight are currently monthly parkers in the garage — so that will bring in a net gain of $26,040 a year in new revenue.

City officials have been trying for years to encourage more downtown workers to stop parking at on-street meters, tying up spaces that could be used by store customers.

But until now the rate for parking on the street has often been less than for parking in the garage for part-time workers or those whose workday extends into the night or weekends.

Based on the positive revenue news, commmittee members encouraged the staff to look into expanding the program to the city’s Maple Avenue garage, and considering more complex tiered pricing schemes for the 12-story Sherman Plaza garage.

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