Parking ticket ruined a nice evening in OP

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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I dined last week at Avenue Ale House with my wife, daughter, and four grandkids. We had a great meal and a great time ... until we left. With no street parking available, we parked in the convenient village lot, east of Oak Park Avenue. Our fine evening was ruined by a $30 (!) parking ticket, for we stayed a bit too long at dinner — until 8:15. 

While your village has fine shopping and restaurants, your focus on squeezing parking revenue from visitors makes for an unfriendly welcome — and, it would seem, a poor climate for local businesses. In the future, we'll stay home in Berwyn or, perhaps, head for LaGrange, a town which maintains a lively downtown without confiscatory parking regulations. 

Jerry Rokosz 


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Manda Nicole Wright from Oak Park  

Posted: August 8th, 2016 2:21 PM

I recently just moved to Oak Park (end of May 2016 to be exact) and I have already received at least 4 or 5 parking tickets. I rent an apartment and when I asked about the permit parking, they were VERY unclear. I have lived in Chicago all my life (Irving Park, near Harwood Heights, and recently Portage Park) and never had permit parking. I am spending so much to park and I am not guaranteed a close spot. Most times, since I work overnight and come home at odd hours, I don't pay attention to the signs because I am dead tired and rather just crawl in my bed. I find it utterly ridiculous that I have to waste money that I could be using for other useful stuff (my wedding, fixing my car, getting stuff I need around the apartment) rather than buying not only a DAY pass but also a NIGHT pass. Yep, it's not just one pass. Luckily, the day pass you purchase once a year, but the night pass you have to re-purchase every 3 months and hope it's not sold out. They need to either A) cut the prices off apartments that don't offer personal parking spots or B) be more lenient on parking. On the side of my block, we are the only apartment building, but the opposite side of us is completely all apartment buildings...on my side, I can't park there past 9 even though there's many spaces available..the opposite side is a complete madhouse. Cars are parked bumper to bumper so if you're in a hurry, you better leave early because it's going to take you a while going back and forth. I have only lived here for about 3 months almost and I am already frustrated and ready to move again!

John Gurney from Oak Park  

Posted: January 20th, 2016 10:03 AM

Oak Park is a parking nightmare. I live here, but shifted toward other town's restaurants (e.g. I avoid paying to park for the Oak Park Chipotle by using the Chipotle in Berwyn, which is also on Harlem Ave. and has free spots). If you do eat in downtown OP, I recommend the Holley Garage; the time stamped ticket there means you don't have the stress of eating fast to get to your car at a parking meter. You just get charged a few bucks per hour and aren't risking a $30 ticket. I rent in Oak Park. Parking is a horrific maze of complicated zones and rules (cars must be rotated each day onto different streets and there are different rules for different days of the week like street sweeping days)- I pay $500 a year for parking permits, yet am not allowed to park nearby. I sometimes walk more than a half mile. It is frustrating because there are endless empty residential streets, but to maintain the character of the town, parking is banned on the side streets; apartment dwellers have to fight for a small number of busy street spots. In 4 months, I've already received 2 tickets even though I have a perfectly valid parking permit but, for police mistakes, e.g., it was obscured by snow. The police are very quick to ticket. If you have friends or relatives over, you get 3 free days per month by registering their car online each night, but above that, it is $7 a day for up to 7 nights. I wouldn't recommend anyone live in OP unless (1) you don't own a car or (2) you buy a house with an attached parking garage. The town is very nice but you can always live in another town and visit the Hemingway and Frank Lloyd Wright houses or eat downtown, as long as you're careful about the meters!

Connie from River Forest  

Posted: June 17th, 2014 2:28 PM

We walk over to restaurants in Forest Park. We park in Oak Park as little as possible because of the parking problem and hard to decipher signs written by engineers.

Dan Haley from Wednesday Journal Wednesday Journal Employee

Posted: June 17th, 2014 6:22 AM

Changing out most of the 15-minute meters on Lake St. east of Oak Park Ave. to open-ended meters was on the agenda at last night's village board meeting. The Hemingway District, the business association previously known as The Avenue, has been working with the village for a while to make this happen. Will certainly be better for restaurant customers. However, there will still be a few 15-minute meters to speed people into the Starbucks, dry cleaners, Peterson's Pharmacy and the new Fresco coffee/juice bar at the corner.

Feel sorry for them  

Posted: June 16th, 2014 11:01 PM

Try parking on Lake street east of Oak Park Avenue. 15 min meters....who can go to dinner with a 15 min meter. Poor restaurants, feel sorry for them. I never go to those business anymore. It is not worth getting a 30$ ticket!

Brian Slowiak from Westchester  

Posted: June 16th, 2014 8:36 PM

Never pay one parking citation, especially if the double fine is less than $100,00, and you only have one. It costs more for the village to hunt you down than it is worth. Pay or handle all parking citations for parking in a handicapped zone. If you don't, the drivers license of the registered owner will be suspended.

Jim from South Oak Park  

Posted: June 16th, 2014 8:22 PM

@it's not. Good businesses work hard to deliver good customer service. A dining experience includes the parking. Government, on the other hand, sets one-size-fits-all rules. Parking is a horrible example; meters and rules started to help businesses by "turning over" spaces. That morphed into a "revenue center," with government's concern that it raise revenue. The answer "obey the rules" sounds like a government employee. I favor Forest Park, too. Easier parking.

Al Gater from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: June 16th, 2014 4:14 PM

Excellent parking advise. Has anyone tried the Cuban Cafe on North west of Harlem?

Oak Park Diner  

Posted: June 16th, 2014 3:19 PM

I think people are missing the author's point. He admits that he overstayed the lot. He's pointing out that excessively zealous parking enforcement makes it easier to go elsewhere. OP is known as a community where parking is hard. That is not a draw for people looking to shop or dine.


Posted: June 16th, 2014 3:04 PM

There is nothing really confusing about this lot, you cant park there after 8:00 unless you have a permit, if you thought there was any chance you would stay later then you should have found another spot

Scott from Oak Park  

Posted: June 16th, 2014 2:51 PM

I've gotten this same ticket from the same lot while eating at Ale House. Guess what I found out by reading the signs in the lot and the meter.....very clear language that you can't park there without a permit after 8pm every night. All cities have the same silly parking rules, but you have to actually read the signs. Know I do agree that the ticketing timeframe can be a complete joke. OP has initially refused to drop the late fee even after I showed proof of paying in time.

Oak Park Diner  

Posted: June 16th, 2014 2:41 PM

To "It's Not..." - I hear what you're saying, but smart communities make it easier to park legally. I can always find reasonably convenient, legal parking in Forest Park or LaGrange, so I tend to drive to those communities. I spend money there instead of here, because they make it easier. People avoid dining and shopping in OP because we, as a village, make this a hard place to dine and shop. I live here, and I avoid dining and shopping here. It doesn't need to be like that.

It's not that hard  

Posted: June 16th, 2014 2:13 PM

I love when people complain about getting caught when they break the law! Hilarious. Park legally and there is no ticket to whine about.

Resident of Can't Park, IL  

Posted: June 16th, 2014 1:52 PM

Be aware fines nearly double pretty quickly. A $30 parking ticket fine mailed two weeks after being ticketed will not suffice. 21 days after check clears, VOP mails notice to pay another $20 because ticket paid, just not fast enough. And took them three weeks to get that mailed!

Oak Park Diner  

Posted: June 16th, 2014 12:06 PM

Here is what my wife and I say on the way out to a casual dinner - "We'll check Lake Street, and if there's no parking we'll head over to Forest Park." We eat in Forest Park 2 times out of 3. Both communities have some good restaurants. Parking is the final determiner.


Posted: June 13th, 2014 5:49 PM

Had a similar experience about two years ago. Parked on Harrison St., had a wonderful dinner at Trattoria 225, only to discover an f'in ticket when we left. (10 p.m.) We haven't been back since. Too bad for the restaurant, but I refuse to worry all evening about whether my car is parked in some twilight zone of danger. How many others just avoid the hassle and go to places that welcome biz, like Lombard or Elmwood Park or Forest Park?

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