Pay stations and parking enforcement officers are heading to Evanston’s historically free lakefront with the Evanston City Council’s approval of a pilot a parking program charging non-residents for parking along the area.

With little debate, Council Members voted 6-3 in support of the staff-recommended program to institute the pilot program near or on lots adjacent to the beach area that runs along most of the City’s eastern edge.

The City had been one of the last communities along the lakefront where visitors could park for free within easy access to the beaches and an ample parking area.

Voting in support of the pilot parking program July 26 were Council Members Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward; Jonathan Nieuwsma, 4th Ward; Bobby Burns, 5th Ward; Thomas Suffredin, 6th Ward; Devon Reid, 8th Ward; and Cicely Fleming, 9th Ward.

Voting against the move to charge non-residents for parking were Council Members Clare Kelly, 1st Ward; Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward; and Eleanor Revelle, 7th Ward.

The program will run Aug. 1 – Oct. 31 under an amendment from Suffredin.

Council support for the move intensified after Council Members approved a proposal that created three free beach days for residents at City beaches. That action created an estimated $1 million loss in projected revenue from beach token sales.

Parking staff recommended parking rates at $3 per hour for streets along the lakefront with enforcement between 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week.

Officials said a vehicle registered to an Evanston address with the wheel tax paid will not need to pay for the lakefront  parking sessions.

Staff will install Pay Stations for coin or credit card transactions at the following lots:

·      1700, 1800 Sheridan Road,  both sides of the road;

·      1400 Sheridan Road;

·      the Arrington Lagoon lot;

·      1400 Sheridan Road, Dawes Park lot;

·      500-600 block of Sheridan Square on the east side (from Garden Park to Sheridan Road);

·      2611 Sheridan Rd.

If judged successful, the pilot program could set the stage for other similar programs.

Michael Rivera, Evanston’s Parking Manager, has told Council Members that officials, considering new metered revenue streams near Evanston destinations such as the lakefront “will contribute to a demand-based pricing model and will help control uniform parking increases in established business districts.”

Bob Seidenberg

Bob Seidenberg is an award-winning reporter covering issues in Evanston for more than 30 years. He is a graduate of the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism.

One reply on “Pilot program charges visitors for parking along lakefront”

  1. I see no good reason why non-residents should not have to pay a parking fee along the lakefront areas, when we residents are essentially covering the expenses of providing public beaches through taxes — whether we visit the beaches or not.

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