Jul 29, 2014
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Parking in Evanston: The Next Olympic Sport

The parking spaces on the west side of Sherman Avenue between Clark and Church streets are so narrow I can hardly enter and exit my car without the jaws of life.

Parking in some parts of Evanston might just be a physical challenge worthy of the next Olympics.

And I'm not talking about parallel parking, either.

Have you ever tried to fit in one of the itty-bitty metered parking spaces on the west side of Sherman Avenue between Clark and Church streets? If you’ve never slid your car into one of the wafer-thin spots before, allow me to explain — that is, once I readjust the icepack on my ankle. After contorting my body through the 4.9 inches of allotted space between my driver’s side door and the car next to me, the door shut on my foot before I’d been able to squeeze it into my car. Yep, a parking injury.

The problem is, I’m used to this.

I’ve been parking in Evanston for years, and whenever I pull into one of those squeeze-y spots on Sherman,  I know it won’t end well. I put the car in park and open my door the 4.9 inches and STILL manage to hit the car next to me every single time. I suck in my breath, extricate myself limb by limb, then wrestle my purse through the narrow opening. Walking toward the sidewalk is possible by scooching along sideways as if navigating the narrowest of ledges while simultaneously performing a limbo under the side view mirrors. 

I have no doubt the parking fairies of Evanston painted the yellow parking lines with the utmost concern for maximum meter revenue, and for that I am most appreciative.  They must have watched this video before deciding where to paint the lines (and when I listen to that man's voice  I can't help but think of the Swedish chef from the Muppets).

However, I’m becoming less tolerant of the acrobatics required to wriggle in and out of my vehicle…not to mention the dents in my car caused by even the most conscientious parkers.

I don’t drive a massive vehicle. Yes, it’s a minivan, but it’s relatively small. Let me put it this way: even a Mini Cooper driver is challenged parking in these spots. 

On more than one occasion, when another minivan is parked next to me, I’ve had to climb into the back seat and exit my vehicle through a sliding rear door because I cannot open my door wide enough to get out. Getting back into the car is the same drill but reversed.

I’m 5’0” tall. My email address contains the word “tinywolf”. If I’M having difficulty in these parking spaces, I’m betting I’m not alone.

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