Oak Park is considering a number of changes to our parking regulations with a pilot program test. The area of the pilot program is bounded by Harlem on the west, Oak Park Avenue on the east, South Boulevard on the north and Harrison on the south. If you were trying to pick an area for a test, it is hard to imagine a better location because this area is a microcosm of all of the parking issues in Oak Park. 

We’ve got traditional single-family homes next to numerous multifamily residences. We’ve got the Green Line on one end and the Blue Line on the other with the pressures of commuters looking for ways to park. Throw in the needs of a hospital, a middle school, and retail shopping to round out the mix of competing needs and interests. The streets in this area are narrow and often jammed with cars, trucks, and buses. Everyone is trying to maneuver their way through this very dense part of our village. Along the way, some of those vehicles need to park for varying amounts of time.

It may be time to change our parking regulations. Here is the rub, with this number of competing interests, what does success look like? The village and their paid consultants have spent considerable effort outlining a whole new set of parking regulations which you may love or hate, depending on your needs. Having reviewed the documentation and talked with some of the participants at the public meetings, the changes appear overwhelming. 

Having gone through the presentation, the village website, and the YouTube video, it is virtually impossible to understand all of the changes being proposed and their impact on our day-to-day experience of trying to drive and park in the test area. 

The most important part of designing a test is figuring out how you are going to measure it and ensure you’ve got the budget and data gathering/analysis mechanisms in place to do so. Ultimately the trustees will have to make a permanent decision to go back to the old way, expand the test to something that is village-wide, or learn from the test and create a different solution. The citizens and our trustees deserve this information prior to even starting the test.

To date, there has been limited public conversation, no information on the website, no timelines, no proposed budgets and no testing protocols to help us understand how the village intends to learn from this test. Lacking that dialog and transparency, it is easy to assume nefarious intentions on the part of our political leadership. In some of these meetings, there have been comments made about how “the trustees want us to fast-track” this proposal. That’s a really bad idea. This is a time for discipline and caution and not expediency or recklessness.

Oak Park has struggled with parking policies for the last 80 years. If we want to do a test, let’s do it, but do it right. From what we’ve seen, we have lots of ideas of things we want to change and no ideas as to how we’ll know if we made the problem better or worse. Let’s get it right and spend the time and money to know that we’re moving our village forward on this very contentious issue.

Kelly & Tom Kline, Mila Tellez, Nile Wendorf, Barbara Riley, David Kepchar, Lisa and David Boon, Sarah Hellstrom, Imran Ali, Wesley and Kate MacMillan, Anne Monson, Loren Brown, Nancy Staples, Dan Silberberg, Rani Johnson, Maureen Pond, Megan & Tarick Loutfi, Geoff & Mary Prudden, Wendy Norris, Kristi Sloniger, Mary Ann Kozlowski, Susan Abate, Kathy Halfpenny, Kris Nelson, Peter Conover, Brooke McMillin, Peggy & Bob Vogt, Arv & Audry Vanagunas, Catherine MacMillan, Randi Woodworth, Nancy Staples, Karen Kvanaugh, Larry Brozek, Robert & Jody Becker, Susan Akers, Carol & Gary Papke, Carolyn Walter 

Oak Park

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