By Anna Lothson
The village board is back in session next Monday after a two-week hiatus and will be faced with a typical packed August agenda leading into budget season. Among the list of items to approve will be a proposal to bring pay-by phone to village parking meters.
Jill Velan, Oak Park's interim parking and mobility services manager, gave a presentation last month about the benefits of transitioning Oak Park's meters and pay stations to a pay-by-phone system. The board has backed the idea and Velan's proposal will be back on the board's Aug. 19 agenda.
Trustees now have the chance to formally approve the next steps to making Oak Park compatible with modern technology through the use of a simple smartphone app.
On Monday, trustees will take action on whether to enter into a program with Passport Parking, which allows customers to both pay by phone and use credit/debit cards, as well as cash for on-street metered parking. It also sends text message reminders when a meter is about to expire and users can reload a meter remotely.
There's a one-time, .35 cent convenience fee to use the service per specific parking space—while a customer is using it during a single period parked in that spot. Velan stressed that most people won't mind paying the minimal fee to make up for the risk of getting a ticket or having to come back to refill the meter.
Along with the pay-for-parking discussion, trustees have continually brought up questions about the need to upgrade signage. They also want to clarify where, when and who can park in specific areas around the village. Velan explained that the village's transportation commission has a work plan that involves addressing signage, specifically at the garages to ensure they are customer-friendly.
"There have been attempts to make improvements," Velan said, specifically pointing toward the additional signage added at the Lake and Forest development garage.
There are projects in the works, she added, to address old signs, as well as directional signage that is better recognized.
"We are trying to figure out universal signage," Velan said. "We do recognize that there is an opportunity to help improve that."
New developments coming to town, however—like Lake and Forest and the redevelopment of the Colt site—can put a kink in upgrading signage because the village doesn't want to create a design scheme before the development plans are better known. Parking concerns in relation to new developments have been raised continually from trustees each time they are on the agenda—which are expected to be an ongoing topic of discussion.
Check back with OakPark.com Tuesday for more about garage and parking updates and more stories from Monday's village board meeting.