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Study: City demands too much parking

After running what amounts to bed-checks for cars, parking consultants have concluded Evanston now requires too many parking spaces in major downtown residential developments.

The consultants paid multiple late-night visits to garages at six buildings completed this decade and found that on average only about one space was in use per unit.

The city now requires between 1.25 and 2 spaces per unit, depending on its bedroom count.

Kirk Bishop of Duncan Associates, the consultant group heading up the downtown plan study, said this morning at the Downtown Plan Committee meeting that the consulting team is recommending the city switch to requirements based on an apartment’s square footage.

He said the bedroom-count method is unreliable because what some people may use as an extra bedroom for an additional resident who might have an extra car, others will use as a studio or home office, not increasing the building’s headcount.

The report recommends that 1.5 parking spaces be required for units of 1,500 square feet or more, with the requirement dropping to just one space for units of less than 1,000 square feet.

While the old parking requirements might make sense in areas without transit options, the consultants say that in downtown Evanston, where there’s ready access to mass transit and a high number of residents can walk or bike to work, the demand for parking isn’t that great.

Here are the results for each building studied:

  • The new Sherman Plaza development at 807 Davis St. with 253 units showed the lowest auto use, with just 0.83 cars parked overnight per unit.
  • Optima Horizons at 800 Elgin Road with 348 units had 0.93 cars parked per unit.
  • Church Street Station at 1640 Maple Ave. with 105 units had 0.97 cars per unit.
  • Optima Views at 1720 Maple Ave. with 204 units had 0.98 cars per unit.
  • Optima Towers at 1580 Sherman Ave. with 103 units had 1.06 cars per unit.
  • The Roszak/ADC building 1572 Maple Ave. with 28 units had 1.18 cars per unit.

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