Metra customers: Be prepared for premium parking, more changes in Barrington this week
An assortment of changes go into effect Tuesday for commuters parking at Barrington's Metra station.
Higher daily weekday fees, more available spaces, premium parking and a new way to pay are on tap for the station that attracts commuters from Barrington and several surrounding suburbs. Officials said the changes were prompted by increased demand and a desire to provide a more equitable distribution of spots.
Among the changes: It'll cost $3.50 per day instead of $3 to park in the north and south commuter lots. Village officials expanded the daily parking opportunities by deciding to open the south lot to everyone and no longer reserve it just for drivers from towns belonging to the Barrington Area Council of Governments.
Those seeking a daily weekday fee price break may obtain prepaid hangtags for $200 per quarter. That'll take the daily cost down to $3.14.
The village created 67 new spaces on the north side by buying the First Church of Christ, Scientist parking lot. Officials said the daily fee hike will help cover the $625,000 cost, along with those of installing of train platform heat lamps, continuing maintenance and a planned new commuter entrance off Northwest Highway near Barrington Animal Hospital.
Daily commuters starting Tuesday will need to pay by entering their license plates instead of spot numbers at fare boxes. The new payment method will require license plates be visible from the parking aisle, so backing into spaces will be prohibited.
Patty Dowd Schmitz, the village's director of communications, marketing and events, said it's hoped commuters will be patient as the changes unroll.
"We understand that commuter parking is highly routine-based for most people, and it is going to take a little bit of time for people to settle into new routines based on the new system," Schmitz said.
Barrington has sold 69 premium parking permits for marked, designated weekday spaces closest to the depot on either side of the railroad tracks, which cost $1,200 apiece for one year. Any unoccupied spaces will be open to the public after 9:30 a.m.
Schmitz said tickets will be issued to vehicles improperly parked in the premium spots. There will be strict police enforcement at the reserved spaces.
For more information and a map outlining the changes, visit barrington-il.gov/parking. The premier parking spaces also are available for purchase at the website or by calling the village at (847) 304-3400.