Firing Squad: The Evanston parking game

Steve Blackman

Coming back to school this fall, I lucked out. My parents somehow allowed me to take our family’s old car, affectionately known as the Crimson Flash, with me back to campus. It’s a coral (think metallic pink) 1997 Volvo sedan, somewhat falling apart and pretty awesome.

I thought the hardest part of having a car was going to be the 13-hour drive from New York to Evanston, but little did I know the Evanston parking game, as I like to call it, is more difficult than most of my classes.

For those with a car but without off-street parking, I’m sure you can commiserate. For everyone else, here’s a rundown of local parking regulations as I’ve come to understand them: First, no parking on campus during the day. If you do, the disingenuously named “Community Service” vehicles will come and ticket you.

That leaves parking on city streets. Most of the streets near North Campus, where I live, are two-hour parking until 6 p.m. On some, like Colfax or Lincoln, you can park for as long as you want. These spots are great and hard to get.

That’s why I was so glad to find a spot when I drove back from The Daily at 1 a.m. last week. I was so relieved to find legal parking that I left my car there all the next day and overnight. Finally, the weekend rolled around, and I went to retrieve my car to run some errands. I found my car with not one, but two, tickets for the same offense – parking in a handicapped spot. Turns out there’s a single handicapped spot on the end of the block, without any blue paint. So, two tickets, 26 hours apart. Grand total I now owe the City of Evanston: $500.

Guess the money to solve that $140 million pension crisis has to come from somewhere.