The Oak Park Board of Trustees continued with its comprehensive review of parking throughout the village at its weekly board meeting on Monday, July 10, with a presentation from its consultant, Dixon Resources Unlimited.
Dixon Resources president and CEO Julie Dixon and Oak Park interim parking director John Youkhana walked trustees through a number of changes aimed at standardizing parking signage and improving parking technology to help ease the burden of residents.
Among the top changes recommended are that the village standardize all daytime restrictions to simply no parking from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday. This would include areas designated "No Parking Any Time" unless the restriction is due to traffic safety or "a street is too narrow," according to a village memo.
"This recommendation is an effort to consolidate signage and improve understanding of parking restrictions. Standardization daytime restrictions will simplify the process for residents, visitors, business operators and village operations," the memo states.
The proposed parking changes also would standardize time limits to 3-hour parking from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Time limits now range from one to four hours. The goal is to allow "for more shared parking for consumers and residents." The change also "allows visitors and residents to park for a short time in front of or near their house, and prevents employees from parking all day and allows for shared parking on the weekends," according to village staff.
Some streets have multiple parking restrictions, but under the new regime, those restrictions would be limited to a single parking rule to make the restrictions less complicated, according to the village staff report.
"Streets should have no more than one daytime restriction," staff notes. "If the proper restriction is in place and it is simple to understand, it will properly be followed and there will not be a need for a second restriction for passes that override restrictions."
The proposed changes also would launch a so-called pay-by-plate pilot program for parking along North Avenue that would allow residents to use their license plate to pay for parking. The village will utilize five different pay-by-plate companies in the program to evaluate which is most efficient, according to the village report.
Dixon told trustees her firm, in conjunction with the village, also plans to: review all parking ordinances in Oak Park to look for efficiencies; analyze parking rates throughout the village; and engage stakeholders including residents and business owners.
She said the goal is to look at some areas of town and start with "a blank slate" to remove overlapping parking restrictions that have arisen over the years and might no longer be relevant.
Trustee Deno Andrews advised that community organizations be closely consulted during the holistic parking review. He said groups such as The North Avenue District – a community organization on which he serves as a board member – "knows every inch" of the commercial corridor.
Dixon said she would reach out to community groups and residents through social media websites like Facebook and Nextdoor.com.
The village board, staff and parking consultant also discussed issues that have arisen along Roosevelt Road, where Oak Park is adjacent to Berwyn. Youkhana noted that Oak Park residents and businesses have reported problems with the patrons of late-night businesses on the Berwyn side parking on the Oak Park side of the street and in residential areas along the commercial corridor. He said the village already is working to find a solution with business owners.
The village did not recommend any immediate changes to Roosevelt Road, but noted that it will "continue to review and monitor this area as consumer needs grow…" according to the staff report.
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