Overnight parking ban talks in gear

Allotted number of resident passes will be analyzed

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By Anna Lothson

Staff Reporter

Oak Park's overnight parking ban, dating back to 1937, has a rich, albeit tense history in the village, but sooner rather than later, village trustees and staff want to bring some of it up to date.

Trustees, however, made it clear at Monday evening's meeting they were not in favor of overturning the overnight ban entirely. The group agreed aspects such as how it's enforced and ensuring that on-street parking regulations are made easier for residents' overnight guests should be evaluated quickly. The ban itself will require some in-depth studying, which the board decided Monday should involve the village's Transportation Commission in reviewing the on-street parking restrictions.

Interim Parking Services Manager Jill Velan gave a brief history to the board and asked for direction on moving forward. Velan told trustees that Oak Park's parking ban is similar to neighboring communities, and removing the ban could have adverse effects that involve a spillover of parking from nearby communities.

The overnight parking ban was last challenged in 1975 when a resident filed a lawsuit against the village, questioning the validity of such a regulation. The courts ruled in favor of the village, and it has remained in place since, but with a series of tweaks. In 1980, an ordinance was established to allow overnight parking in various higher-density locations around the village.

Studies were done in the late '80s when the question of overturning the ban came back, but the village kept the ban. The '90s brought more changes creating the more patchwork system seen today. Trustees agreed Monday that there are flaws in the system that need to be worked through immediately.

These flaws include, as phrased by Village Manager Cara Pavlicek, the "very random" number of overnight guest passes residents are issued, the burdensome wait times residents face calling in to get a pass, and the confusion among visitors who don't realize where and when it's OK to park overnight in Oak Park.

"There are some absurd things that happen because of the cracks in the system," Trustee Adam Salzman said. He referenced the story of person with a rental car not being able to get a pass because the same model of car had already gotten a pass that day. He also spoke about Oak Park's reputation among tourists as being impossible to park in, particularly overnight.

Village President Anan Abu-Taleb suggested the village tackle the customer service issues and the number of passes issued annually per resident immediately and then study the overnight parking regulations entirely during the next year.

"We don't need to solve the entire issue at the same time," Abu-Taleb said. "We don't need to get rid of it, but we can modify it to help residents."

He also referenced numerous resident surveys that have been conducted over the years, which he said have increasingly favored eliminating the ban. The last survey taken showed 46 percent in favor of eliminating the ban and Abu-Taleb said he suspects that number has grown.

"Things have changed. I think we need to respond to that," he said.

Trustees were in favor of possibly conducting another resident survey and ensuring there are more opportunities for residents to weigh in on the conversation.

Staff recommended involving the Reinventing Government Committee and engaging the Alliance for Innovation to assist in the review. Pavlicek explained that the Alliance is a nonprofit membership organization for local governments that offers its perspective on developing best practices.

Trustee Peter Barber, who joined the meeting via phone, and Trustee Colette Lueck said reviewing the overnight parking system is really two issues as it involves what to do with parking and how to implement a more effective system. Short term, Barber wants quick fixes to the number of passes issued per resident and to create a more efficient method to get those passes.

The concept of reviewing the number of passes, currently five guest passes and 30 extended-stay passes for residents annually, also sparked the idea of determining if offering additional guest passes could be a new source of revenue for the village. Trustees at past meetings said they personally would pay more to get extra guest passes.

The tone of Monday's discussion was upbeat and they seemed generally in agreement on the issue. No one favored eliminating the ban, but everyone agreed modifications are needed.

"I've never been of the mindset that it needed to be repealed," Trustee Glenn Brewer said.

Trustees urged staff to move forward with a plan to create a draft that can be hashed out with trustees, the transportation commission and residents. The meeting wrapped up with plenty of ideas to move on and one clear direction: don't delay the process.

Email: anna@oakpark.com Twitter: @AnnaLothson

Reader Comments

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Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: November 26th, 2013 12:57 PM

"Market value" is whatever the market will bear. It's determined by what people are willing to pay, not what the owner determines its worth. It's like a house. You may want X number of dollars for your home for whatever reason (memories, what you paid, how much money you need). But the only thing that matters is what someone is willing to pay for it.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: November 26th, 2013 12:50 PM

The guy has a four-car garage. Four interior spaces most certainly are more expensive than one exterior space. And it should stay that way. If he didn't rent out his garage, then those four car owners would need to get on street parking passes. So you'd have four cars, instead of this garage owner's one car, on the street. Seems like he's helping with the limited parking issue (and make a few bucks in the process. Good for him.) I'm not understanding the "corruption" in this.

Market Value Pricing from What the market will bear  

Posted: November 26th, 2013 10:32 AM

Exactly my point David. VOP should be charging an increased amount so there is no advantage for the homeowner to buy a Village permit. The demand for permits at 200 -300 North Oak Park Avenue I would guess should be $300 a month. The market value is fair and removes corruption. In less dense areas, the value of a monthly pass could be $ 40. Market Value Pricing. Fairness .. No Corruption.


Posted: November 26th, 2013 9:17 AM

I've read many comments regarding those homeowners with garages who don't want the ban lifted... I live in a condo on a street mainly filled with single family homes. The house next to our building has a four car garage and a space next to the garage. All five spaces are rented to condo owners in my building while the home owner purchases an overnight parking pass and parks in the street. I am guessing the parking space rent brought in every month more than covers the cost of the permit.

Akiva from Oak Park  

Posted: November 26th, 2013 8:58 AM

Having been mugged at gunpoint in this town in front of my own front door in broad daylight in the afternoon on a Sunday, I see very little correlation between outdated xenophobic parking regulations and crime.

Akiva from Oak Park  

Posted: November 26th, 2013 8:50 AM

This ban is an oppressive measure against those residents whose domiciles do not include parking. The sequestered parking areas and exorbitant permit price seems punitive. The Village needs revenue, but this is not the best method. We need to bridge the gap, not widen it.

David from Oak Park  

Posted: November 26th, 2013 8:25 AM

It is cited on all the sites asking for feedback regarding the parking ban that the ban prevents crime and creates a safer community. Are there any studies to support this claim? It would be good to have that information available to all residents for review...as well as those at the village placed with the responsibility of making changes. Anyone reading our police blotter will see that Oak Park is not void of crime... despite having a parking ban.

Natalie Rauch Kelly from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: November 22nd, 2013 4:50 PM

Why can't we just do odd/even overnight parking but you must display an Oak Park city sticker? If you have visitors who need to park, let's do something like Chicago does: 15 passes for $8, and you can get 30 daily passes every 30 days. Done and done. Not sure why this is so complicated.

Pearl Clutcher from Oak Park  

Posted: November 22nd, 2013 12:34 PM

My biggest fear is that homeless people will decide to make their "homes" in the spots between cars parked on the street. That is certainly the best argument for keeping the ban in place.


Posted: November 22nd, 2013 11:51 AM

Well for one Dan, because people move there thinking there couldn't be a collection of idiots large enough to enact this series of parking regulations. Hip Tip: You live in a large metropolitan area. In fact you boarder the main city. Trying to create a fenced in community is silly and speaks much to your and everyone elses sanity. But to your original premise, yes people should stay out of condos and apt's in Oak Park and in fact out of OP all together.

Dan Hefner from Oak Park  

Posted: November 22nd, 2013 8:07 AM

Why would anyone of sound mind buy a condo or rent an apartment in Oak Park without having a parking space? The answer will be there is not enough parking inventory to cover the need. Rather than have the citizens of Oak Park change the parking laws let me offer a suggestion. There are no overnight parking restrictions in Chicago, Berwyn, Cicero or Elmwood Park, please move to one of these locales. It is a win/win Oak Parkers maintain their quality of life and those who need parking can park.

Ryan from Oak Park  

Posted: November 21st, 2013 4:40 PM

Question: How do cars parked overnight increase crime? Let's look at the streets around GBMS- they have TONS of cars there overnight (I'm guessing permits for all the condos/townhomes) is crime worse there than say, over by south blvd/east ave? It's not, it has nothing to do with cars on the streets.

Scott II from Oak Park  

Posted: November 21st, 2013 2:47 PM

Just don't restrict the size of the Residential areas to the size of the condo or apartment building. Have the whole street be zoned Residential.

Scott from Oak Park  

Posted: November 21st, 2013 2:45 PM

I don't care about the overnight ban. It can stay or it can go. What they need to deal with and aren't, are all the zoned parking areas (Y1-Y? and K-5 and such). Zone areas residential and let people park there that paid for a residential permit, and let visitors park there as well as long as they have been called in or bought an overnight pass. You can then zone areas for commuters or business as needed.

The Brad from Oak Park  

Posted: November 21st, 2013 1:02 PM

KEEP the overnight parking ban. It keeps the streets clean and safe. I support the current ordinance. Don't want to see random cars parked on our streets in the middle of the night.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: November 21st, 2013 12:13 PM

@CMV, I am not opposed to people paying market value. I was questioning the method of computation the commenter used to come up with their dollar amount of what the market value is. Sorry for the confusion.

Dantive from Oak Park  

Posted: November 21st, 2013 8:57 AM

Lived in Oak Park a while now and just purchased a condo, along with the hefty property tax bill that we all know and love. I agree with the ban, it makes for a safer community and cleaner streets IMO. But...who the hell is city hall to tell me that I can only have 5 passes per plate each calendar year? That is comical and the number should be increased. The city's MO is to squeeze the dollars out of you; I get it. At the very least charge an additional fee for extra passes...

Charge Market Value from Fair is Fair  

Posted: November 21st, 2013 7:21 AM

Bridget - Why should overnight parkers pay less than market value? Saying we pay RE tax does not cut it. Everyone pays RE taxes. Market Value Pricing is fair, ethical and efficient. You want a break? Everyone else ends up paying in more ways than just money. Privilege breeds corruption.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: November 21st, 2013 1:11 AM

@Reduce ticket, Condo owners pay real estate taxes too. (As do the property owners of rental units and businesses) In addition, if you are paying $24K in real estate taxes (or any amount) your tax bill goes to more than just to park one's car. Only about 10% of your tax dollars goes to the Village. And a smaller percentage goes to roads. So I'm not following your analysis of the fair market value of a parking space, in relation to what house owners pay in real estate taxes.

Reduce tickets to $20 from Market price parking fees  

Posted: November 20th, 2013 10:38 PM

Jen said - I live in a condo(no parking space) and already have to pay $115/month to park my car - IMHO Jen VOP should get $250 a month (market price) for your spot. The street parking in the high density areas is way underpriced. Many home owners are paying $ 2,000 a month in RE taxes. Why should you get a break on public asset use? Overnight parking should be computerized. Where is the Village manager on this? Duh! The first 5 night passes should be $5. after that $10 a night


Posted: November 20th, 2013 8:43 PM

Let's not pander to people who don't pay their fair share of property taxes. Lifting the ban will only result in more crime. Keep the streets clear and safe.

Ryan from Oak Park  

Posted: November 20th, 2013 3:53 PM

Alright, the children argument is weak in my opinion. I've lived in several towns where they allow cars to park on the streets 24/7, and I don't recall ever hearing they had an increase in kids being hit by cars. Also, why are these kids, who must be young considering they can't see over a car or know to cross at a crosswalk, have free reign to walk wherever they want to at night without a parent/responsible party with them!? Am I the only one who sees the hole in that argument?

Think of the children  

Posted: November 20th, 2013 1:33 PM

Yes to DeJordy, not to mention that there aren't very many kids playing in the street overnight, which is the only time the streets are actually car-free. I do like the ban though, because I hate cars.


Posted: November 20th, 2013 1:15 PM

The child safety argument is not too compelling. Millions of children live in places with street parking and seem to make it.

Tolerant Liberal from Oak Park  

Posted: November 20th, 2013 1:12 PM

My biggest concern is that RV's full of poor people with park in front of my expensive house.

Marty J. from Oak Park  

Posted: November 20th, 2013 1:10 PM

I think the idea of overnight parking ban is common, and I am in favor of it. The part I think needs improvement is the system that the information is recorded in. Its a low hanging fruit to develop a system and form online to enter the plates. Its frustrating waiting on the phone, and sometimes they are not very pleasurable to talk to when calling in. I also think the 5 limit is crazy, but might a potential for a small revenue stream by charging a small fee.


Posted: November 20th, 2013 12:38 PM

Doug, I disagree with alternating the side of the street. While it may make for a less congested street, it still provides cover for criminals, which is one of the main reasons the ban was kept for all this time. With all of the burglaries and robberies going on in the village, I'm surprised that some people are not concerned about this.


Posted: November 20th, 2013 12:32 PM

IB from Oak Park, There are substantial amounts of space between trees in Oak Park, so they hardly disrupt the lines of vision. When there has been a party on the block, and the block fills up with cars, it's very hard for a child (at their heights) to see where moving cars are. And yes, they should be careful when crossing, but kids make mistakes. Plus this is only one reason for the ban. There is also the issue of cars providing cover for criminals.

Paddy Boy  

Posted: November 20th, 2013 11:25 AM

Picking up on what Speedway said, please consider the snow. I for one will not honor the misguided Chicago tradition of putting Aunt Rita's old chair in the street to protect someone's precious spot. Please someone tell me we won't do that.

Brew City Parker from Oak Park  

Posted: November 20th, 2013 10:06 AM

We should set it up as Milwaukee has had it for years. Easy on-line system. http://mpw.milwaukee.gov/services/np_permission

Speedway from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: November 20th, 2013 9:37 AM

It depends on what our goals are. If we want to limit the number of cars in Oak Park the ban should stay. If we want every family member to own a car we should get rid of it. I am guessing then no more garages will be built so our yardage will increase and add to the street parking issue. ...and Lord help us when it snows.

Doug Kittredge from Oak Park   

Posted: November 20th, 2013 8:58 AM

I agree that the policies should be reviewed, and most likely simplified. For example, I don't understand why we need so many (and so small) regions for the overnight parking permits. I also agree with the commenter who mentioned that alternate side of the street parking solves alot of issues in other areas.

Q How overnight parking use to be from Oak Park from Oak Park  

Posted: November 20th, 2013 12:38 AM

Oak Park parking use to have the answer for keeping people waiting on the phone when calling in their plate, make and location. You left a message on the recorder. If it was after the time the Officer's received the passes, you could go in the next day and have the ticket removed. Such an easy system but each new person needs to show they are earning their pay check and are trying to make it to retirement. It's just how it works in business.

Q How overnight parking use to be from Oak Park  

Posted: November 20th, 2013 12:34 AM

At one time, you could call in and get someone to take your plate, make and address in a minute or two. That was also the time you were allowed to park for two weeks during Christmas and New Years week. Does anyone really think changes in parking is to make it better, and if you do, who is it really better for. People in jobs need to justify they are needed so things need to change so they are noticed for earning their pay check. It's really nothing more then that.


Posted: November 19th, 2013 10:32 PM

Cara Pavlicek was Interim Parking Mgr for 5 years before she was given the Village Mgr job. Now all of a sudden parking is a problem and others have to answer for it. Ask Ms. Pavlicek why she didn't fill the vacant full-time job for the parking pass line for the last 2 years. There is only one full-time and one part-time person to answer all of those 72,000 calls. Why would you create the situation and then act like there is a problem with staff? Mismanagement created the problem.

IB from Oak Park  

Posted: November 19th, 2013 8:48 PM

@Duder, using the same reasoning, you'd have to advocate the cutting down of all trees along the streets too as they also obscure the "clear lines of vision for oncoming traffic". That would make it safer, right?


Posted: November 19th, 2013 8:40 PM

I don't care if Oak Park has a reputation among tourists for it's parking. I'd much rather have that than have an increased reputation for higher crime, which it already has a reputation for. The inconvenience of the ban does not outweigh the need for safety. Rows of cars provide perfect cover of both vehicles and criminals. It also makes it less safe for kids to play out front, as the lack of cars provides clear lines of vision for on coming traffic. The ban WORKS!

LiquidEvil from Oak Park  

Posted: November 19th, 2013 7:20 PM

Leave the ban. Just look to Elmwood Park or Chicago to see what would happen. The streets will be filled 24/7 with cars anywhere they are allowed. You don't need a study, just go look for yourself. I've been ticketed multiple times when I've left a car out and I *still* support the ban. As for waiting for 15mins for an answer, I've called in about a dozen times in the past 2 years and never had that issue,

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: November 19th, 2013 6:21 PM

Just to emphasize what Anna has written, neither the President nor the Trustees are in favor of the ban. The discussion was less about the ban, and more about increasing the number of overnight passes, and the making the process of getting the passes (like not having to be on the phone for 15 minutes at 2 am) easier. And to get these two things in places as soon as possible.

m s egan from Oak Park  

Posted: November 19th, 2013 6:10 PM

I agree with "formerly of Oak Park now from Glen Ellyn" and would like to add is it too much trouble to do some training of the "leaf plower" and snow removal people? Why don't they feel any responsibility to clear the cross walks? Or, should I ask; why they dump what they are "removing" into the cross walks?

formerly of Oak Park now from Glen Ellyn  

Posted: November 19th, 2013 5:46 PM

The patrolman's job of patroling for out-of-place vehicles and activities won't be made easier by allowing more (unknown) vehicles to occupy the streets overnight. New residents in homes, condos, or apartments know the parking regulations when they decide to move in and if they don't appreciate the benefits of parking restrictions somebody should explain to them. What? Rules? Yes, make it easy and efficient for them to follow the rules, but avoid undoing the sound reason of having the rules.

Dan Lauber from River Forest  

Posted: November 19th, 2013 5:28 PM

Talk about government intrusiveness into our lives. I've yet to see anybody factually document a rational basis for the overnight parking bans in Oak Park & River Forest. I've never seen any research that finds such bans improve quality of life or aid law enforcement. Alternative side of the street overnight parking prevents abandoned cars and enables snow plowing. Imagine the financial savings from not having to run a permit program. A trial program could reveal actual effects of ending the ban

Mike from Oak Park   

Posted: November 19th, 2013 5:11 PM

I also agree in keeping the ban, it just takes a quick visit to our neighbors in Cicero, and Chicago to see what wall to wall cars parked on the street will look like. Not to mention not being able to see children crossing the street between cars. Just increase the number of guest passes!


Posted: November 19th, 2013 3:26 PM

I suggest this conversation needs to go hand in hand with a conversation about clarifying parking signs.

Jen from Oak Park  

Posted: November 19th, 2013 3:13 PM

I agree with increasing the number of overnight passes per car/plate. Oak Park you are limited to 5 /year when other villages (Forest Park for example) allow for 5/month. I live in a condo(no parking space) and already have to pay $115/month to park my car. If I have family visit more than 5 days in a year I am shelling out $30/tick (if I can't get someone to answer the phone for the extended pass, and I have been on hold for more than 15 minutes some days)

OP Residence #1066  

Posted: November 19th, 2013 2:59 PM

Sorry, meant "without" dedicated parking spots.

OP Residence #1066  

Posted: November 19th, 2013 2:58 PM

Parking challenges for condos with dedicated spots are reflected in the condo purchase price, so I don't think you can really say that the ban is unfair to condo owners.


Posted: November 19th, 2013 1:55 PM

I always hear the "five cars" argument. It's not hard to restrict the number per household. The main problem is that the system is discriminatory in favor of house owners, who are given a public asset, the street, for themselves. Condo owners pay the same taxes and are confined to little strips for which they must pay. Places like the block of Euclid north of Lake are completely given, 24 hours, to house owners, who already have driveways and garages.

Christos from Oak Park  

Posted: November 19th, 2013 1:42 PM

I have lived in Elmwood Park and Oak Park(now). Elmwood Park was and is with cars everywhere. I support the ban. It keeps people from having 3, 4, or 5 cars hogging up the streets, making it difficult to drive at night, park, clear snow, clear leaves, etc. We live across the street from an apartment building, and it is difficult to park my car in front of my house to drop stuff off fast. imagine that ALL over Oak Park.

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