Village should act to prevent downtown 'parking crush'

Opinion

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Classic compression is in play. Lot 8, at Marion and Ontario Streets, will soon be closed down for the new construction, The Regency Club, and no new parking will be available to pick up the slack. That's the first element, remove existing parking.

Further, my understanding is that while the Holley Court garage is being expanded, some of the parking there will not be available. That's element number two, reduce parking. Add to this further compression, a third element, new demand for parking?#34;construction workers at Regency Court, the new Lake Street health club, and the Whiteco project at Harlem and Ontario.

Part four, is the customary intransigence of the Oak Park Police for human needs like parking, and you have possible civil unrest. I exaggerate, but I haven't figured out yet where retail customers will park. Probably they'll use the lot over by Whole Foods, and we'll see how much they love that over there.

Part 5 is that, after all the work is done, the congestion on Harlem will be horrific. When I went to get one of my parking permit stickers last year, I went up to talk with the people in village hall who deal with streets. And this was when only the Whiteco project was in view. I said, "Won't all this new parking at Whiteco add to the burden of people using Harlem between Ontario and the Eisenhower?" They said: "Why would you use Harlem?" They said I should go over to Central to get on the Eisenhower.

Lot 8 should have been bought by the "city" (with no open parking lot downtown I think we lose village status). I attended some meetings, and was surprised by the missing presence of the retailers. All in all, I'm not impressed by the brainpower at work coming from local government, retail, or the citizenry. Relax and enjoy the misery.

If you feel as I do, why not come to Lot 8, Marion and Ontario, with a candle at 7 p.m, on Thursday, June 16?

Thomas Barnard
Oak Park

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