Wilmette, News

Wilmette frees up Metra parking earlier on weekdays

Downtown Wilmette has become the spot to be on a summer night. Home to a vibrant dining scene, the Village Center can get mighty crowded during lunch and dinner hours, creating known parking challenges.

Helping to that end, nearly 400 additional parking spots have been unlocked to accommodate the growing popularity of the commercial district.

The Village of Wilmette announced Monday in a Facebook post that Wilmette’s Metra parking lots will now be free on weekdays after 1 p.m.

According to the Village’s website, prior to the change the parking lots were free after 3 p.m. on weekdays. The two additional hours of free parking were announced following a May parking study in the downtown district.

As reported by The Record, east of the train tracks, there are 840 public parking spots in downtown Wilmette. This includes Metra parking, on-street spots, village lots, and the Burmeister deck. The study conducted by Fishbeck found that the Metra lots are well utilized and often reach capacity during the day.

During a Village Board meeting on May 14, the study’s findings were presented, and trustees discussed potential solutions, including using the Metra parking lots.

Wilmette’s downtown district continues to grow with the anticipated opening of Small Cheval and the recent opening of EvaDean’s. This newly freed-up parking aims to alleviate some of the parking challenges that the study worked to address.

The village invites those who park in the lots between Central and Lake Avenue to begin their visit by walking through Ouilmette Way, which connects the lot to the downtown area. 

Per the village’s website, the daily parking fee at the Metra parking lots between Central and Lake Avenue is $2.60, and at the lots on Poplar Avenue, it is $2.10 to park for the day. The lots will continue to be free all day Saturday and Sunday. 

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