Businesses welcome easing of industrial parking restrictions
by KEVIN GROSS
Business owners along a stretch of Northwest Highway welcomed changes to industrial permit parking restrictions, but some industrial workers have said they don’t even have the required permits because they park on residential streets.
The Chicago City Council on July 25 passed an ordinance introduced by Alderman John Arena (45th) that would shorten industrial permit parking restriction times from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the 5400 block of North Northwest Highway in Gladstone Park.
Previously, parking in the “Permit 54” zone was allowed between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday to permit-holding workers from nearby manufacturing businesses.
Chicago Department of Transportation spokesman Michael Claffey said the original restriction signs had been in place since May 24. Aside from the permit parking spaces, the block maintains 2-hour parking spaces for two to three vehicles and a 15-minute “loading zone” space by the restaurants.
Additional parking exists on surrounding residential streets, which some residents said were over-utilized by restaurant patrons.
Arena could not be reached for comment, but the changes were likely in response to some area business owners and residents who voiced concerns that the restrictions “cannibalized” parking spaces needed for nearby restaurants’ customers, and that the permit spaces themselves may have been underutilized.
“(One day) we had a group of ladies here at 3:30 p.m., but they had to move their car mid-meal and just didn’t come back,” said Stephanie de Luna, one of the owners of Casa de Luna Mexican restaurant, 5481 N. Northwest Hwy. “These were potential customers lost.”
“It’s somewhat frustrating. It’s still affecting our lunch crowd,” de Luna said regarding the changes. “We could encourage more customers to park on Austin or Mason (avenues), but then there’s the issue of taking residents’ parking spaces.”
Kevin Vaughan, owner of Vaughan’s Pub and Grill at 5485 N. Northwest Hwy. said that he was pleased to see the changes. “We can sometimes get busy around 4 to 4:30 p.m., particularly on Fridays for our all-you-can-eat fish and chips special,” he said.