With apologies to the PBS News Hour, this is my brief but spectacular take on the overnight parking issue:

I support Oak Park Village Board’s recent decision to continue to ease overnight parking restrictions due to the COVID crisis. However, I disagree most strenuously with Trustee [Arti] Walker-Peddakotla’s comments, to wit: “If you’re moving to Oak Park and think nobody is going to park in front of your house, that is not something we should give people an expectation for.” Give me a break!

We have a bad parking problem in high-density areas of Oak Park. So what else is new? When I rented in Oak Park back in the 1970s, I had to park in a village lot three blocks away. I secured that space after being on a waiting list for months. There was parking illegally in front my building in order to schlep the groceries up three flights of stairs, then going back out (in a snowstorm) to park the car in the lot after a busy day at work.  

As annoying as that was though, when I lived in Chicago before moving back to Oak Park, I absolutely hated the claustrophobic feeling of residential streets bursting with cars. Said streets were filthy and never properly plowed in the winter. The streets were constantly clogged with cars. No way to properly clean or plow regularly. 

There is zero need to allow overnight parking in areas of Oak Park that consist only of single family homes. Please, please don’t try to “fix” what ain’t broken for those neighborhoods. We don’t need and we don’t want a “one size fits all” solution for the entire village.

And finally, esteemed village board, take heed. With an election coming up in 2021, it would behoove you to pick your battles more thoughtfully. About now, the old maxim about rearranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic comes to mind. How about spending your Monday nights on something more substantive than parking during a world-wide pandemic?

Louise Mezzatesta

Oak Park

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