The Oak Park Board of Trustees got its first official look at the pilot parking program the Oak Park Transportation Commission has been working on since last year, and one of the key proposals, aimed at easing overnight parking restrictions for renters, appears dead.
The pilot program would be a test run in a small area of the village bounded by South Boulevard, Harrison Street and South Oak Park Avenue and Harlem Avenue. The proposal also would lengthen metered parking in and around the downtown business districts from 6 to 8 p.m.
Tammie Grossman, the village’s director of development customer services, told trustees at a May 14 meeting that the Transportation Commission has held 13 meetings to craft the proposed pilot program.
The goal is to balance the competing needs of daytime and overnight parking, while keeping the longstanding overnight parking ban. The pilot also would make 100 new overnight parking passes available in the pilot area, bringing the total number to 1,200.
One of the more controversial aspects of the pilot would allow motorists, particularly those in multi-unit buildings, like condos and apartments, to park overnight in the pilot area. They are presently limited to designated areas near their buildings.
But, both Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb and Trustee James Taglia suggested tabling the topic for now and not including the expanded overnight parking area in the pilot.
Abu-Taleb suggested the whole pilot parking program should be “put aside” for the time being while new technology associated with parking meters and parking garages is put into place.
Overnight parking restrictions are a problem for residents who pay for parking on their street but often find themselves without a parking space.
Trustee Andrea Button said she is a renter in a neighborhood of multi-family dwellings.
“When you get home and there’s no spot, you are completely stuck,” she said.
Homeowners nearby have objected to the proposal, because it would put more vehicles on their blocks in front of their homes.
“We are supposed to be a welcoming and diverse community, and we have made a commitment to look at [issues] through a lens of racial and economic equity,” Button said, asking what percentage of black residents live in multi-family dwellings versus single-family homes.
“I believe the [overnight] parking restrictions are unduly burdensome on people,” Button said. “I think that simply asking to be allowed to park a block away or two is not unreasonable.”
Village Manager Cara Pavlicek said the overnight permit parking spots can fill up quickly when parkers “cluster” around certain areas. A handful of bad parking jobs, illegal parkers and those with guests can fill up the designated street parking zones quickly, she said.