Shoppers and diners may find a little more free parking on Third Street in downtown Geneva soon.
The city council is agreeing to make parking in the deck near the Metra station free after 5 p.m. weekdays, and all day Saturdays and Sundays. The normal charge is $2 daily.
It did so at the request of Third Street merchants, whose patrons want parking close by their restaurants and stores.
The council's committee of the whole voted 7-0 Monday to recommend the measure; the council will formally vote on it Dec. 17.
Alderman Chuck Brown suggested the city consider offering free parking in the deck after 4 p.m. weekdays, as slots would start opening up when train commuters begin arriving home. City Administrator Mary McKittrick said she would check with Metra to see if that is OK. Metra has a contract for commuter parking, and helped pay to build the deck.
Alderman Richard Marks suggested the city consider offering free parking in other commuter lots, including one that is east of Route 31 and south of the tracks, so people wouldn't be confused. McKittrick said that can be done, too, but that the goal of the parking change was to make more parking available near businesses.
Alderman Dean Kilburg noted that earlier free parking might encourage people to take the train to Chicago, since they would get downtown in time to attend an opera or other evening events.
"We were actually trying to get people parking there (in the deck) to stay in Geneva," McKittrick replied.