The only effect the ridiculous raise in parking meter rates has had on many commuters so far is to encourage them to stop parking in the village metered lots at the Green Line stops in Oak Park, and simply park a few blocks away across Austin where the parking is free. Sure you may have to walk a few blocks to the Austin station, but it’s well worth the $10-15 per day saved in parking fees. This decision to institute such a huge increase in rates was not very well thought out.

Joseph Librizzi

Submitted to

David Pope and the rest of the village board should be ashamed of themselves for enacting this increase at a time when business and individuals are struggling to make ends meet. I have an office located at

1024 North Blvd.
I am looking to move it. But more importantly, I feel sorry for the small businesses that I know are losing customers because of this ill-conceived increase-Pumpkin Moon, Joe Dell, just to name a couple. Somebody should start a blog on this and post daily pictures of how empty the parking meters are. It used to be a difficult area to find a spot. Now it is a parking ghost town. I am sure that is racking up the revenue shortfall. Oh, I know, let’s just raise taxes! Way to go, guys! To be honest, you should all be recalled.

Michael Perry

Overtaxed OP resident, and, quite frankly, tired of it!

I closed my jewelry business in Downtown Oak Park over a year ago due to excessive construction and an uncertain retail environment in the area. Although we were doing well, we just couldn’t justify giving our business and commitment to a village that showed no regard to a situation they created. I still live in
Oak Park and visit the area weekly, getting accupuncture in the Pioneer Press building and visiting the Book Table and the antique mall (I guess not any more).

Anyway, I always park either on

Lake Street
or in the
Holley Court
garage. I enjoy the 2 hours free and felt that the pricing was fair thereafter. Last Wednesday, when I had my appointment, I pulled into the
Holley Court
metered lot just off of
Marion Street
and couldn’t believe that every space was empty except for two or three spots. At , when I needed to park in this very lot when I worked down here, parking was rarely available. I’d have to linger just to wait for someone to leave.

I was not given my free two hours last week and had to pay for my 1 hour and 10 minutes this time. As a woman, I do not feel comfortable standing in front of an automated machine in the stairway of a parking garage as I rummage through my purse and wallet while someone I don’t know at all is standing right behind me waiting to do the same. I felt so vulnerable and fearful when I had to put my money in that machine.

My point is this: I can’t park at the meters because I will probably never have enough quarters at the bottom of my purse (nor do I want to pay the village so much for a simple need), and now I feel uncomfortable using the garage.

As I left my appointment, the parking lot had a couple more cars in it, but they were mostly construction vans working in the area, and when I drove down

Lake Street
, it was at less than half capacity with the meters.

We don’t need to worry about a lack of parking anymore because it’s definitely available more than ever in Downtown Oak Park. Unfortunately, there will most likely be a lack of retail after most Oak Parkers become as disgusted as I have and stop using that area completely.

Laura Kitsos

Submitted to

To those who think $1.50/hour meters are needed in
Oak Park, how stupid you are!

I will not shop or eat in
Oak Park any longer. I will go to Forest Park or other shopping areas where one can park for free.

Oak Park, look at all the empty stores on your streets. You will not fill them if we have to pay a fortune to park. Wake up and use your brains!

I hope all will boycott your meters. When your stores are empty, perhaps you will regain your senses.

James Craig

River Forest

Oak Park is going in the wrong direction with parking. They have removed a few of the metered lots which were very convenient and are pushing people toward the high-rise garages. I don’t like parking in the garages. When I went to the Lake Theatre, I’d park in the lot next to the church, next to the

Forest Avenue
garage. Now they increased the price at this “high demand” lot from 50 cents an hour to $1.50 an hour. I won’t pay $3.50 or more to park for the privilege of going to Downtown Oak Park.

When I drove by the other day, the lot had four cars in it at
on a weekday. Before, this lot used to be 75 percent full. Most of the other meters around the area are only two hours-not long enough to see most movies at the Lake (since most movies are around two hours long, and we get there at least 15 minutes before they begin).

We’ve started driving to the York Theatre in
Elmhurst, where you can park right in front of the businesses for free for three hours.

Rick Rann

Submitted to

I have just returned utterly frustrated from finding no parking in the

Holly Court
garage at 10 on a Thursday morning. It seems the garage is filled with construction workers’ trucks and vehicles, and there is no room for shoppers and gym-goers. So I will probably not go to the gym, again, today.

Why is the village raising parking rates on the meters now, when there is still insufficient parking in the garages? They say they want to encourage garage parking, so they are discouraging meter parking, but the garages in downtown are not finished, are full of construction workers’ vehicles, and are dark and feel dangerous to women who are alone.

I have also noticed that, contrary to what we were told about the re-streeting of the

Marion Street
mall, cars and SUVs are speeding, drivers on cellphones, not slowing down, not yielding to pedestrians and bombing right over the “blue stones” and the raised crossing. This was supposed to be a safe area. I saw two children almost hit by a woman in an SUV on a cellphone. It’s no more “safe” than walking in the middle of Harlem!

And the merchants who pleaded with the village, whining about how re-streeting would save their businesses, apparently didn’t survive the prolonged construction. One business is moving to the Internet! Good luck with that.

Thanks very much to a village government who listens to developers and ignores the people who live here.

Kathleen Hopkins

Oak Park

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