Trick or Treat. Judging from the number of ticketed cars I saw driving all over Evanston recently, entire streets on which every parked car had received a citation, most people were tricked and the city treated itself to tons of extra revenue at the expense of residents who were unaware of another new parking rule. Some blocks had twenty ticketed cars. At $75 a crack, that’s $1,500 per block. Pretty good haul for the city coffers.
Starting November 1 and continuing through December 15, Evanston residents have more parking schedules to remember. The city has added seasonal bright orange stickers to its parking signs to let folks know that, according to the City of Evanston website, “additional fall street cleaning dates have been added for residential streets to ensure debris is cleared in the late fall months. These dates are listed in bold in the provided schedule below. Signage will be posted and parking restrictions will be enforced.”
I’m confused. It appears we now have three parking schedules to keep track of during the year. When this new fall cleaning ends on December 15, we swing into winter snow parking. That one has to do with how much snow has fallen and which streets are considered snow routes. After that, from March 1 to November 1, there is a different set of rules for street cleaning.
I suppose people can get used to these shifting seasonal rules on the streets where they live, although clearly that has not yet happened. But the city asks a lot of its residents and visitors when it comes to parking. In case anyone has not noticed, in many parts of town, parking is a challenge. It’s hard to imagine where all of the cars could go to make it possible for this additional leaf clearing service. Since so many cars prevented any leaves from being removed this week, can towing be far behind? That will cost $145 plus storage charges when residents find a way to claim their vehicles from North Shore Towing.
Driving around Evanston this fall has also been a challenge. In addition to the beloved parking boxes and having to pay on Sunday afternoons now, road work has brought traffic to a halt on several main roads. Main Street east of McCormick has been a delight, as traffic is often reduced to one lane with a person directing traffic around a busy shopping center, resulting in long waits to travel a few blocks. This has been happening off and on for weeks.
Yesterday, there was no place for people picking up children from Nichols School to park on much of Sherman, as there appeared to be a combination of leaf work and “don’t park here” signs for no discernible reason. Between the students, bikers, and cars attempting to get through, it was quite a mess.
I have signed up to receive texts for parking on the streets where I live and frequently visit, but trying to decipher the signage, remember which day of the week it is (Is this the second or third Wednesday?), and find a legal spot to park has become ridiculous. I love Evanston but have come to resent the city’s use of excessive parking regulations and charging to park almost everywhere there is a business or restaurant. This may raise more revenue in the short term, but is misguided in terms of making Evanston a friendly and desirable place to visit. Keep it up and folks will find somewhere else to shop, dine, and live.