Free Sunday metered parking could be ended in 45th Ward
by BRIAN NADIG
Newly implemented free metered parking on Sundays would be eliminated in the 45th Ward in an effort to reduce the parking meter rate from $2 per hour to $1.75 per hour and prevent all-day parkers in front of stores under a proposal by Alderman John Arena.
Under a restructured deal with Chicago Parking Meters, the city agreed to allow the company to extend the metered parking hours throughout the city by at least one hour in exchange for free parking on Sundays in most areas. In parts of the 45thWard, meters are now in force until 10 p.m. instead of 9 p.m., while others are in effect until 6 p.m.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has said that people attending church should receive a parking holiday. However, Arena is one of several aldermen who are seeking to change the free metered parking on Sundays in their wards because that they are worried that motorists who park in front of stores all day hurt businesses.
Meter-free Sundays were once common in Chicago, but in recent years an increasing number of businesses have been open on Sundays. The Metropolitan Planning Council has expressed concern that the free parking will encourage residents to park their cars on arterial streets from Saturday night to Monday morning.
Arena introduced an ordinance that calls for the ward’s meters to be in effect on Sundays at the City Council meeting on June 26. A second ordinance calls for the hourly rate in the ward to be reduced to $1.75 each day of the week, as the parking meter company would be expected to make up the difference by enforcing meters on Sundays.
Arena’s chief of staff Owen Brugh said that the city and the meter company are reviewing the economics of the proposal. “From our math, we believe that it will be revenue neutral,” Brugh said.
Aldermen Timothy Cullerton (38th), Margaret Laurino (39th) and Mary O’Connor (41st) said they have no plans to change the free metered parking on Sundays but that they will monitor the views of local chambers of commerce.
“I want to see what happens,” Cullerton said. “There is no need to rush into it. (Arena) may have a different need with Six Corners.”
The Six Corners Association has expressed support for Arena’s proposal. In addition, the association also supports Arena’s plan to lift the rush-hour parking ban on Milwaukee Avenue between Lawrence Avenue and Addison Street, but consideration of the proposal by the City Council was delayed while the parking meter deal was being restructured.
Brugh said that the parking ban is expected to be lifted.