Charging festivals needs to be done fairly

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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The whole idea of protecting parking meter revenue "lost" from festival street closings strikes me as bogus. The stated justification for parking meters is to equitably apportion a scarce resource, not to generate revenue. Otherwise feeding parking meters on the mall would be encouraged, not banned. If a street is temporarily closed, there is nothing to apportion, so no need for parking meters. 

Village-disseminated materials (such as monthly newsletters) regarding on-street parking meters, overnight permits, parking restrictions, etc., offer many justifications such as apportioning resources, safety and maintaining the character of neighborhoods, but I have never seen revenue as an on-street meter justification. Parking garages, that's a different story; if they are intended to be operated as profit centers, no issue. 

If we are going to abandon the pretense that parking meters are an allocation mechanism and just admit that they are a revenue grab, then I ask that all parking-denial events be treated equally. Block parties, Ethnic Festival parades, 10K races, 4th of July fireworks and high school football games, prepare to pony up. 

In the meantime, the bills sent for events already held are ridiculous in view of the lack of notice to organizers that the rules were being changed. It's all very lawyerly to point to plausible interpretations of ordinances, but the history of interpretation of existing ordinances says otherwise.

Bob Stigger

Oak Park

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