Some downtown parking meters have expanded from covering eight hours to over 20. As of Monday, Downtown Oak Park’s executive director was calling the switch a mystery.
“Everybody’s just curious,” said Pat Zubak. “People think we had something to do with it, and we didn’t.”
Some time around Oct. 19, the parking meters in the lot at North Boulevard and Marion Street went from the normal 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. to nearly the entire day-from 6 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. Another lot further west on North Boulevard switched to 8 a.m. to midnight.
Zubak said the two lots and the spaces on North Boulevard are all supposed to be the same time, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. It’s the village’s decision any time a meter switch like that is made, but typically the village meets with the DTOP board of directors to seek input.
That didn’t happen, and Zubak said these new hours mysteriously went up with no communication from the village.
“I have no idea,” she said of how the change occurred “They were supposed to be changed back last week. It’s a mystery; it just happened.”
Village spokesman David Powers said some meters were mislabeled, saying they “certainly” should not run for that 20-hour span. Anyone who received a ticket for the stickers (Wednesday Journal noticed several cars in the North and Marion lot with tickets after 11 p.m. last Wednesday) should appeal them through adjudication. Appeals need to be made within 14 days, Powers said.
As far as how the “mistake” was made, why the stickers were still up after almost two weeks, and why people were being ticketed for rules that were incorrectly posted, Powers suggested calling others at village hall.
Bill Stockus, facility operations supervisor for the past couple of years, said the meters have said 6 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. for a “long, long time.”
He said the only mistake on the meters is that they were increased to three-hour parking, which the village recently fixed, taking the time limit back to two hours.
Stockus said he couldn’t comment on Powers saying that the change was a mistake, and he also couldn’t comment on Zubak’s confusion as to why the meter time did or didn’t change. Public Works Director John Wielebnicki said the meter stickers were supposed to say “2 hour parking” but instead said three. He said the meter times have never changed.
Loretta Daly, business services manager-who works with the business community to figure out its parking needs in terms of off-street lots, according to Wielebnicki-wasn’t sure how the change happened either, saying, “I don’t think that’s something we agreed to.”
She called back later to say that time has always been in effect. Those times are when the meters run, and all the new stickers are doing is restricting overnight parking between 2:30 and 6 a.m., she said.
“I believe what the stickers say is that the meters are in affect from 6 a.m. to 2:30 am. I’m not the parking person. I can tell you that we recognized that there’s confusion,” Daly said, adding that the village needs to make what the stickers say more precise.