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By Anna Lothson
Parking is a touchy subject in Oak Park.
When it comes to the parking permit system, from the village's and residents' perspective, it's no easy task to master.
One group of residents in a 12-unit condo building is working to secure parking outside their residences that one family says has made parking a headache. For the residents of the Randolph Crossing Condominium located in the 600 block of Randolph and 240 block of East Avenue, the issue stems from Fenwick students discovering the spots weren't enforced for the majority of the day, four days a week.
The village, however, ran multiple parking surveys and concluded that the addresses in question didn't qualify for the higher-enforced parking.
The issue dates back to 2010 when the zone was changed from a no parking 8-10 a.m., Monday through Friday to just a no parking zone during that timeframe one day a week.
Since then, residents in the area have been working with village staff to change the restrictions, but have had no luck taking back the 9 on-street spaces outside their condos.
Resident Daniel Irving and his daughter Grace approached the village board recently to share their grievances with the parking outside their condo.
"We are competing and regularly losing to non-resident high school students who have discovered this as the go-to spot for free parking for the entire school day," Grace Irving told the board in a prepared statement. "For us, the village's approach to parking regulations has failed to serve regular tax property paying owners in favor of nonresident students."
Interim Parking Services Manager Jill Velan said in order to enforce a new permit time restriction it would have to meet two requirements that are determined through field surveys. Those requirements, she said, are that the block has to be at 60 percent capacity, with 40 percent of that determined to be nonresident. That number has to occur during 50 percent on the time the survey is being conducted.
The village must conduct a minimum of four surveys, Velan said, and noted the village conducted 11 surveys during one time frame and nine at another. She said the village ran surveys at multiple times during the day to get a comprehensive look.
Velan recognized the condo residents have a "unique situation" because of the school, but said the requirements must fit the same standards as other areas of the village.
"We are going to continue to see if there is anything going to be done," Velan said. "We are sensitive to the fact that this is a shared parking area."
The Irving's said they understood the village's intent is not to harm residents, but also weren't convinced the surveys conveyed accurate depictions of the situation.
"We came very close to meeting requirements," Grace read. "For practical purposes, spots counted as available were not actually available."
The Irving families, similar to the neighbors, are forced to park further away from their homes; many choose to move their car less in fear of losing their spots.
"We have no quarrel with the high school student commuters," Grace read. "However, it means tax payers are often left without a place to park."
The residents, she said, want a new solution of imposing a Y-5 night permit sticker that remains in effect until 10 a.m. This option would provide for shared community parking for 12 hours a day.
"While we know the village is working hard toward shared parking in the community, we believe strongly it's not an appropriate spot during school arrival hours," Grace said.