Rush Hour Parking Bans
By BRIAN NADIG
Alderman John Arena (45th) recently filed an ordinance that would lift the rush-hour parking bans on Milwaukee Avenue between Lawrence Avenue and Addison Street.
The ordinance is designed to slow traffic and to provide motorists a place to park, Arena’s chief of staff Owen Brugh said. “We want all of the people who use our community as a cut-through to stop and spend a few bucks once in a while,” Brugh said.
Six Corners Association executive director Ed Bannon said that area merchants strongly support the change. “Especially in this economy, you are looking for any competitive advantage that you can get,” Bannon said. “During the evening rush (for northbound traffic), there’s no place to pull over.”
Parking currently is prohibited from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. on the west side of the Milwaukee and from 4 to 6 p.m. on the east side of the street. There are no rush-hour parking restrictions south of Addison in the 30th Ward, and the ordinance would not change parking restrictions north of Lawrence in the Jefferson Park shopping district. The ordinance also would not affect the winter overnight barking ban on Milwaukee.
Brugh said that Arena wants the city to do a traffic study that would examine the 4800 and 4900 blocks of Milwaukee, where in some areas parking is banned on both sides of the street. He said that the existence of the Jefferson Park CTA Terminal, 4917 N. Milwaukee Ave., creates traffic and parking concerns in those blocks.
Arena has said that eliminating the parking ban could lead to the installation of bike lanes on Milwaukee south of Lawrence. That stretch of Milwaukee is considered too narrow for bike lanes, but the creation of a permanent parking lane would allow for either a shared lane for bicycles and parked cars or for a separate bicycle-only lane that would run between the parking lane and the traffic lane, according to Arena.
One of the proposals on the ballot for the 45th Ward’s participatory budgeting process calls for a $120,000 allocation for buffer-protected bike lanes on Milwaukee between Lawrence and Addison. Arena is one of four aldermen who are letting residents vote on how most of the ward’s $1.32 million of discretionary funds should be spent. The vote will be held on May 4 and 5.
A section of the 4900 block of Milwaukee has a shared bike lane, and, starting in the 5000 block, a designated bike-only lane runs north to Caldwell Woods at Devon and Milwaukee avenues. The city has plans to shift the bike-only lane to along the curb, which would result in the parking lane being several feet from the curb.
The city maintains that the change would improve bike safety, but some Gladstone Park business owners have voiced concerns. Called “spoke routes,” bike lanes that run adjacent to the curb have been implemented on Dearborn Street and on Kinzie Street in Downtown Chicago.