The overnight parking system isn't working

Opinion: Columns

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By Antoinette Crossgrove

A 30-year Oak Park resident, who lives at 431 S. Ridgeland Ave., Unit D, I purchased a Village Quarterly Parking Permit for Lot 97, also known as 331 Washington Boulevard. I was informed at the time of purchase that my parking privileges were overnight parking, Monday through Friday, from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m., and 24-hour parking on Saturday and Sunday.

I attempted to park my car around 8:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 8, only to find two illegally parked vehicles (not displaying the village permit). I drove to village hall and was told to return to Lot 97 to meet the dispatched police to register the complaint. I waited 45 minutes to an hour to complete that process, and to my luck, one of the violators came out after receiving a citation, and a spot was available for me to park that night.

On Saturday night, Nov. 9, once again two cars occupied two of four permit spaces, and I called the police to issue citations to the violators. The police response was quicker (10-15 minutes), but I sat beside the vehicles from 8:30 to 11:15 p.m. because there was nowhere to park, in and around my residence. I might add I'm a senior, and despite my relative confidence walking in the village during late hours, I do have safety concerns, particularly on the weekend.

On Sunday, Nov. 10, returning home around 6:30 p.m., I again attempted to park in my permit parking space in Lot 97. Once again, I called and an officer arrived to issue citations to the vehicles (I was the second caller this night). For a third night in as many days, I was denied the opportunity to park my authorized vehicle in the assigned lot. Because I had not moved my car during the day from the previous spot, I stayed in that spot until Monday morning, at which time, I moved by 7 a.m.

I was inconvenienced for the weekend because inconsiderate drivers were illegally parked. Although I have one pending citation, I am a law-abiding village resident. My inconvenience was exacerbated by the village policy that doesn't allow me permission to legally park because I was denied access to my legal, paid-for parking space rented to me by the village.

I am aware of the village's parking challenges. But in the 30 years I've been a resident, the only solution I'm aware of is creating more spaces. And though I don't feel the following suggestions are new, let me offer them:

1) When schools are having events that impinge on residents' rights, parking enforcement should be vigilant. All homeowners and renters pay to expect that our inherent rights are preserved. Village police are aware of all events, particularly after-school events and their presence should be evident. I suspect that if officers were to be assigned to patrol, be present, and survey for parking violators, permit parkers would have had their assigned spaces available.

2) It is evident that citations will not be effective unless towing is included. Since the Village does not have the space to impound vehicles, the Village should contract with a local towing company and tow the violator's specific "egregious" violations (e.g. fire hydrants, paid for parking rights, etc.) Or, pass an ordinance that allows the aggrieved to call for the tow.

3) A parking permit is not issued if there are outstanding unpaid parking tickets. At the very least, another permit would not be issued if these debts are not paid. How reasonable is it for the "Village" to deny approved parking in my situation where I have been denied parking because someone violated my parking rights in a "Village" lot? I'm sure reason prevails, but my "reasoning" process is failing me; maybe I'm having a "senior" moment. Please advise me of the rationale.

I trust someone will address my concerns and send me a written reply.

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joe from south oak park  

Posted: November 21st, 2013 4:55 AM

I have to agree with you here. the parking situation needs to change. At least once or twice a year, someone manages to park in front of my garage overnight blocking my vehicle in. The police typically issue a $20 ticket. Last year I got lucky and pointed out to the officer that the registration and city stickers were both expired. However, usually the bus ride to work and the lost revenue from the time i missed are more than the alley parking ticket.

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