Major parking changes coming in Oak Park

Village to launch pay-by-plate pilot for parking on North Ave.

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By Timothy Inklebarger

Staff Reporter

The Oak Park Board of Trustees continued with its comprehensive review of parking throughout the village at its weekly board meeting on Monday, July 10, with a presentation from its consultant, Dixon Resources Unlimited.

Dixon Resources president and CEO Julie Dixon and Oak Park interim parking director John Youkhana walked trustees through a number of changes aimed at standardizing parking signage and improving parking technology to help ease the burden of residents.

Among the top changes recommended are that the village standardize all daytime restrictions to simply no parking from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday. This would include areas designated "No Parking Any Time" unless the restriction is due to traffic safety or "a street is too narrow," according to a village memo.

"This recommendation is an effort to consolidate signage and improve understanding of parking restrictions. Standardization daytime restrictions will simplify the process for residents, visitors, business operators and village operations," the memo states.

The proposed parking changes also would standardize time limits to 3-hour parking from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Time limits now range from one to four hours. The goal is to allow "for more shared parking for consumers and residents." The change also "allows visitors and residents to park for a short time in front of or near their house, and prevents employees from parking all day and allows for shared parking on the weekends," according to village staff.

Some streets have multiple parking restrictions, but under the new regime, those restrictions would be limited to a single parking rule to make the restrictions less complicated, according to the village staff report.

"Streets should have no more than one daytime restriction," staff notes. "If the proper restriction is in place and it is simple to understand, it will properly be followed and there will not be a need for a second restriction for passes that override restrictions."

The proposed changes also would launch a so-called pay-by-plate pilot program for parking along North Avenue that would allow residents to use their license plate to pay for parking. The village will utilize five different pay-by-plate companies in the program to evaluate which is most efficient, according to the village report.

Dixon told trustees her firm, in conjunction with the village, also plans to: review all parking ordinances in Oak Park to look for efficiencies; analyze parking rates throughout the village; and engage stakeholders including residents and business owners.

She said the goal is to look at some areas of town and start with "a blank slate" to remove overlapping parking restrictions that have arisen over the years and might no longer be relevant.

Trustee Deno Andrews advised that community organizations be closely consulted during the holistic parking review. He said groups such as The North Avenue District – a community organization on which he serves as a board member – "knows every inch" of the commercial corridor.

Dixon said she would reach out to community groups and residents through social media websites like Facebook and Nextdoor.com.

The village board, staff and parking consultant also discussed issues that have arisen along Roosevelt Road, where Oak Park is adjacent to Berwyn. Youkhana noted that Oak Park residents and businesses have reported problems with the patrons of late-night businesses on the Berwyn side parking on the Oak Park side of the street and in residential areas along the commercial corridor. He said the village already is working to find a solution with business owners.

The village did not recommend any immediate changes to Roosevelt Road, but noted that it will "continue to review and monitor this area as consumer needs grow…" according to the staff report.

CONTACT: tim@oakpark.com

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Kaidrea Stockman  

Posted: August 1st, 2017 2:21 PM

Would be amazing if my street only had 1 restriction instead of a million! ? I don't get it. If it's for street cleaning why is it every day? Why only half the street? In Chicago where I work it's only a couple times a month. Why no parking 8-10 these days, 9-11 other days, 4-6 etc.? So confusing. Why? More revenue?

Ashley Sullivan from Oak Park  

Posted: July 31st, 2017 5:05 PM

(4, last one I promise :) ) How many suburbs, or even streets in the city of Chicago for that matter (with the exception of the likes of Michigan Ave., obviously, which isn't similar to this situation anyway), have you visited where the streets are completely blank and only in use for the sole purpose of vehicular traffic? I agree in some areas people park a little too close to intersections, stop signs, etc. making it incredibly difficult to see around them & make a completely safe turn or whatever it may be?"but to say that vehicular traffic in a residential area is enough of a reason to ban street parking that thousands of residents rely on is just plain silly. I recognize that I can't completely understand your frustrations or obstacles as a homeowner, I can acknowledge that and of course I don't have all of the answers. I certainly don't have the experience to present the absolute best solutions to parking in Oak Park in its entirety (lucky for everyone that isn't my job, right!? ? ). But I don't think presenting an obtuse point of view in which you truly aren't seeing the entire perspective of those who genuinely need the street parking is a good place to start. I've touched on as much as I can, but one can only say so much to present their case and unfortunately I spend enough of my time being affected by this subject and I simply won't dedicate so much more energy on something I can't change. Also, this is about as first-world problems as it gets lol. Here's hoping a solution is found that makes all of us happy (or at least happier)!

Ashley Sullivan from Oak Park  

Posted: July 31st, 2017 5:04 PM

(3) It's a garage which is all good and well, but I'm a woman & sometimes I get home from work late or for whatever reason late at night. I don't think I need to spell out the personal safety issue in that, of which I'm certain I'm not the only woman who has to be concerned about that with the parking situation in Oak Park being what it is. Which brings me directly to your idea of "no on-street parking". This isn't remotely viable as a solution. I completely agree that the Village should stop putting a priority in erecting new residency buildings and allowing variances against Village code with the parking already being what it is, but garages and lots are few and far between without even factoring in their lack of availability as it stands presently. Even if there were enough of them, they aren't interspersed at distances reasonable to request many residents to have to travel to get to their own homes. As-is right now, the Village would have to strategically tear down residential buildings and in their place erect parking garages to rectify that obstacle. Not that I need to say it, but that's not viable either because it would displace many people from their homes, many of whom have likely been there a very long time. Do I want to be able to have guests over without worry? Absolutely, it's an issue. But they cannot be the priority when people who PAY to live here are in need of somewhere to park their own cars. Moreover, including the aforementioned safety issue why on earth should people who do pay to live here have to park several blocks away from where they live while streets sit blank? Bringing me to your other argument, "?most residents would agree that the primary purpose of our public streets is to allow for the safe circulation of vehicular traffic." The primary point is not the only point and I'm sure many if not all people in my situation in Oak Park would strongly disagree that the streets should be empty solely for this pu

Ashley Sullivan from Oak Park  

Posted: July 31st, 2017 5:01 PM

(2) Your points are valid, I'm not trying to take that away from you at all because in fact I fully agree with you. But the issue condos/renters are having is that we OURSELVES (not just guests/service providers) are extremely limited in our options and many of us already park a good distance away from where we live because of the restrictions in place. Keep in mind we may not be SF homeowners but we pay to live here too. I've personally had the experience of parking directly in front of my building for about 20 minutes and coming outside to a ticket on my car, where the sign specifically states 2 hour maximum parking. Luckily for me I had a receipt proving it was impossible for me to have been parked outside of these restrictions when compared to the time of the citation & was able to dispute it. But I digress because my point is I LIVE in this building. Meanwhile there are people with license plates from other states parking in front of/next to my building in this zone who have had permits to park there for months. That's another point that needs fixing, the Village needs to be actually checking for proof of residency & that the vehicle is actually registered to their address. Otherwise, why should they be allowed permits & take spaces from people whose plates are registered to the correct place or are at least in Illinois? (I get there being a grace period now, I mean this being an issue in a more permanent/long-term sense). Not that that would fix much and I'm probably just being fussy there, but I think you understand. More to that point, because our building is in a "high demand" zone, only one of the 2 adults living in my condo can have a parking permit and with no private parking available to our unit that leaves the other person (me, because of how our schedules are), to pay an irrational amount of money per month to park 2 blocks away.... (this silly thing isn't counting characters correctly!)...

Ashley Sullivan from Oak Park  

Posted: July 31st, 2017 4:58 PM

Maureen, I appreciate your response to my comment and giving me a little further insight, also I apologize if you missed my follow-up comment directly after my original which reads: "To add, I could very well be wrong that those developing these ordinances are people with their own private parking who aren't truly affected by their own rules. I came to that conclusion by reading many other forums on this topic and comments from those who have lived here longer than myself and feel that is what has been happening." Meaning they either are people who are not affected or that homeowners are affected in some way as well, just to clarify what I meant. To be completely clear, I in no way mean single family home owners should be disregarded or not considered when decisions are made about restrictions/regulations. Only that people who are not directly impacted by their decision or said regulation should not be the ones voting on it or putting it in place. Basically, if you have a say it should apply to you directly or you should have recent experience in it applying to you. That being said, in response to your first point regarding the restrictions effecting SF homeowners I'm glad we agree with how insane many of the restrictions are. However, the points it seems you're making that are most important to you are those of not being able to park in front of your own home, if you have guests that need parking, or if you have service providers coming to your home that need parking. All of which are pertinent, they're a huge problem I don't disagree a bit. Now though, I want you to imagine you don't have private parking--not only are your guests not allowed anywhere to park, service providers have nowhere to park, but most importantly of all you yourself have nowhere to place your own car (remember, no private parking in this scenario) given the circumstance. This is how condo owners and renters are living.....(another comment to follow :) )

Kline Maureen  

Posted: July 18th, 2017 12:04 PM

Ashley, I'll challenge your assumption that parking restrictions don't impact single-family homeowners/residents, they most certainly do. First, note that much of the SF housing in OP is located between Madison and Chicago in areas with many multi-family buildings interspersed among the SF homes. These homeowners are subject to the same annoying restrictions - granted, we do have a spot to park our own private vehicle, but if we have guests or service providers coming to our homes, or if we want to park in front of our home for whatever reason, we can't. Many of us cannot even get an overnight pass for guests to park on the street because our homes are in a "permit-only" zone. Secondly, I think most residents would agree that the primary purpose of our public streets is to allow for the safe circulation of vehicular traffic. Many intersections in the village are extremely challenging to navigate because sight lines are blocked by parked vehicles and/or streets are narrowed to an unsafe degree. So to that end, the best answer would be NO ON-STREET PARKING at all. It would be wonderful if the village would go back to working to create more off-street parking in high demand areas, rather than allowing variances to developers to build high-density residences with fewer parking spots than is required by village code. A strong case in point is the townhouse proposal for South Blvd just east of OP Ave - zoning allows 10 units with 23 parking spots; the developer wants 14 units with 20 parking spots. http://www.oakpark.com/News/Articles/2-22-2017/Oak-Park-board-skeptical-on-South-Blvd.-project/

Ashley Sullivan from Oak Park  

Posted: July 16th, 2017 7:35 PM

To add, I could very well be wrong that those developing these ordinances are people with their own private parking who aren't truly effected by their own rules. I came to that conclusion by reading many other forums on this topic and comments from those who have lived here longer than myself and feel that is what has been happening. Whole thing needs fixing, that's the main point! :)

Ashley Sullivan from Oak Park  

Posted: July 16th, 2017 7:26 PM

Firstly, I have to agree with a previous commenter that a huge issue with the parking rules/regulations is that those making them are people it doesn't impact. If you're a homeowner in Oak Park that's great, it's a village with beautiful homes and I'm genuinely happy for you--but this is a very apartment/condo-heavy and rent-heavy area so anyone living in a house with their own private parking shouldn't be allowed a seat or even a vote for that matter in any parking ordinance or regulation decisions that don't effect them directly. I sincerely believe if those developing the regulations were actually the ones impacted by them, Oak Park would not be the nightmare for parking that it is for residents. Another point I'd like to make (which relates to the 8am-10am "compromise"), "...for more shared parking for consumers and residents." is another mindset that needs adjusting. Yes, businesses in Oak Park also rely on consumers from outside the village in order to thrive, but there are multiple garages and paid lots/spaces available to them in close proximity, a more sensible solution since they would be parking for shorter periods of time anyway. Consumers who don't live here have absolutely no rightful claim over parking in residential areas, especially those considered to be high-demand. I could go on forever, but this entire system is out of whack and unfortunately it'll continue to be the driving force that pushes away hundreds of renters like myself and condo owners every year to areas more considerate of their residents. The turn-around rate here is appalling, and you'd better believe it's because of the overly burdensome parking you place on your residents who would have happily stayed here for many years to come otherwise.

Judith Alexander from Oak Park  

Posted: July 16th, 2017 4:15 PM

The North Avenue District thanks Trustee Deno Andrews for his kind words regarding our knowledge of the commercial district. Indeed, we've been working for almost 4 years to revitalize North Ave. between Austin and Harlem. We hope Ms. Dixon, the parking consultant, contacts us directly in addition to reaching out to residents via social media. (Note: we are not really a residents organization.) Information on T-NAD was provided at the July 10th meeting, so she should know where to find us.

Jo Perez  

Posted: July 16th, 2017 3:11 PM

The 8-10 rule will be a huge burden on the overnight permit zones. It's already a hassle for the two days we can't park, but to make it every weekday? They are hugely inconveniencing those that work from home or don't have standard shifts.

David Patterson from Oak Park  

Posted: July 16th, 2017 8:53 AM

Re: previous comment -- That should be Parking and Mobility Services. Pardon!

Terry Stanton  

Posted: July 16th, 2017 8:37 AM

The whole system unfairly favors houseowners over condo owners and renters. Look at the block of Euclid north of Lake. On half by the huge houses with driveways and garages, parking is prohibited for all but those with the houseowners permits every day all daylight and evening hours and overnight. The village has basically given the public asset of the street over to a tiny number of private property owners (of very expensive homes), all because the home owners they don't like people parking on their block DURING THE DAY. This is so blatantly favorable to one small group I don't see how it is legal.

David Patterson from Oak Park  

Posted: July 16th, 2017 8:13 AM

One of the perpetual problems of this process is that the people making the decisions and passing ordinances are homeowners who have NO clue what it takes to park on the street in Oak Park. The 8-10 no parking rule, the Parking and Traffic Enforcement Office explained to me, was intended for the purpose of street cleaning, including leaf and snow removal. But when the street cleaners don't follow the schedule in the first place, what's the point (beyond another ticketing opportunity)?

Jason Cohen  

Posted: July 16th, 2017 2:56 AM

I live very close to OPRF and don't want the 8-10am ban removed on my street. I know people near Fenwick that would also not be happy if the ban was removed. There was a period when they worked on our street and forgot to put the sign back up and the street ended up packed with cars from the kids driving and nobody could find a spot on my street until school let out. This actually made the parking situation worse because the street was essentially full every school day from 8-4. I would be fine if they wanted to remove the restriction over long holidays like summer break but that probably just makes things even more complicated.

Marlene Russum Scott from Oak Park  

Posted: July 15th, 2017 10:27 PM

Standardizing the no parking 8-10 is a bad idea. How far will people have to drive to find a parking place during those hours and then walk to the area they are visiting? It is bad enough right now if you have an overnight pass and have to get up before 8 and drive around looking for a spot to park. Maybe Oak Park should go 6 months without any parking restrictions to see what happens!

Susan Raphael  

Posted: July 14th, 2017 8:43 PM

I think they are only saying no parking from 8am to 10am in areas already with restricted parking- not the entire village.

Jason Cohen  

Posted: July 14th, 2017 6:04 PM

As I noted below I think this is just poorly worded. If you read the sentence that references the 8-10am ban it seems to be saying where there are daytime restrictions they would now all be standardized to be 8-10am. It wouldn't make any sense for the whole village to ban parking during this time.

Robin Vitucci  

Posted: July 14th, 2017 5:43 PM

Ok, someone explain the rationale behind no parking ANYWHERE in the village from 8-10 am. That is absurd.

Dori Bernstein  

Posted: July 13th, 2017 8:59 PM

Will my mailman be able to park at the end of the block while he is delivering mail between 8 and 10 A.M.? What about deliveries? There needs to be some type of review process after brainstorming new ideas.

Bruce Kline  

Posted: July 13th, 2017 8:45 PM

Absolute insanity!

Diana D Jameson  

Posted: July 13th, 2017 8:22 PM

And this is why I did not even consider Oak Park when I bought a house. I rented in Oak Park for a while and the parking restrictions were ridiculous then. This is why I usually bypass Oak Park businesses unless they have their own parking.

Jason Cohen  

Posted: July 13th, 2017 5:53 PM

I think this is just poorly worded. I believe they are saying streets that have a restriction in place already would just have a blanket 8-10am not every street in OP because that would make no sense at all.

Natalie Rauch Kelly  

Posted: July 13th, 2017 2:37 PM

The no parking 8-10 rule is ridiculous and needs to go. It makes the holiday overnight parking reprieve useless. It makes it impossible to have anyone visit in the morning. It puts an undue burden on overnight permit holders. Plus, it's still enforced on holidays even though village hall is not open to grant day parking passes. If OP insists on the 8-10 rule for some reason, at least make it an east-west/north-south/odd-even rule. Or, give residents of those areas some sort of placard for their visitors' use during those times.

Jacek Lazarczyk  

Posted: July 13th, 2017 2:02 PM

So, a plumber who would have come at 8;30 am to repair my leaky faucet cannot come because he cannot park his van anywhere?

Jeff Schroeder from Oak Park  

Posted: July 13th, 2017 1:18 PM

We have no parking from 8 to 10 AM by our house because we are near a school. But does this make sense to make Village wide? Our we expected to hover above ground during that time? Or is the village going to provide light blue garages to borrow during that time?

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