I woke up this morning to see someone posting the news that on July 11 the City Council authorized the City Manager to negotiate the potential sale of the parking lot next to the public library. This means that 74 outside parking spaces will be lost in a lot immediately next to the library. Once again, it seems, the city is putting financial gain above the quality of life of its citizens. How do I figure that? Well, the population of Evanston is currently 75,570. The number of parking spaces underneath the public library is 39, with five more handicapped spaces. That's not a whole lot of spaces compared to the possible patrons.
And for some of us, we don't even have access to those 39 spaces. You see, I have a few children. I have enough children that in order to cart them about safely, I must drive a 15-passenger van. Trust me when I say, if I had any other options I would take them as it's not much fun to have your personal vehicle be so large. But, since I happen to like my children and I like to go places, it's a small price to pay. It also means that I cannot park in the underground parking garage at the library. The van just doesn't fit, so we park in the lot next door to enjoy the library paid with our significant tax dollars. Without a place to park, I'm not sure we will be able to come to the library. That would be the library we help pay for, and would probably be forced to travel to Skokie instead.
Why don't we just walk, you ask. I know we like being green here in Evanston, but sometimes life just doesn't work exactly as we would like it to. You see, on top of having a few children, one of our daughters has mobility issues. In fact, if I asked, we would qualify for a handicapped placard for the van. She is mobile enough for the distances we usually walk, so I haven't yet, preferring to leave those spaces to those who need them more. But even if I did have a placard, it wouldn't make any difference at the library, because, as I mentioned above, our van doesn't fit, so we couldn't use the handicapped spaces.
And let's talk about those spaces for a moment. If the lot next door is developed into yet another condo building, I wonder about the library's compliance with the ADA. If someone were needing to use a van for, say, a wheelchair, there is no way that it would fit underneath the library. Instead, like us, that van would have to park in the above ground lot, in the handicapped space there. Without those spaces, so much for accessibility. Or perhaps the City of Evanston doesn't believe people who use wheelchairs should use the library... it makes you wonder.
I'm so glad that the City Council has really thought about all the ramifications of their decision before chasing the all mighty dollar. It just makes me proud and happy to live here, in a city where my family is really supported.
I will amend this to add, that the all time favorite excuse for raising taxes, cutting services, and charging excruciatingly high property taxes is already being trotted out like trained ponies in a circus.
--But the tax revenues will go to fund our schools.
--It's for the children!!
--We can't deny our children a decent education!!
Yeah, it sounds good. Sort of. The schools already spend over $8000 and $10,000 per student in the elementary and high school districts respectively. How on earth is the tax revenue from one condo building going to make that much of a difference? I don't even need to resort to the fact that the library is a key way I educate my own children with those numbers.
No, it hasn't been a good day, why do you ask?