Thoughts on parking?

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By Anna Lothson

Staff Reporter

Got thoughts on parking in Oak Park? It's OK, we all do. Here's a chance to share your thoughts.

The parking department is considering a new format for parking lot signs around the village and is inviting the public to provide feedback. Participants can take a two-minute survey about the new format and signage.

The new signage is intended to make it easier for residents, commuters and visitors to identify when and where they can park in village-owned lots, which often have different restrictions for different users. Deadline to take the survey is Aug. 31.

The village's survey can be found here: Village of Oak Park parking survey 

Email: Twitter: @AnnaLothson

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Reader Comments

37 Comments - Add Your Comment

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Comment Policy

wayne from califonia  

Posted: September 7th, 2013 2:22 AM

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ETphonedhome from Oak Park  

Posted: August 29th, 2013 3:05 PM

This is only in regards to a specific parking location in OP?? I feel all of the parking in OP needs to be re-evaluated. I am a new resident and I can't believe how complicated and confusing the parking rules/restrictions are all around the village.


Posted: August 29th, 2013 8:29 AM

Q, are you going to provide smartphones for everyone who visits Oak Park? Or pay the fee for anyone who gets a ticket because they don't have a smartphone? What if the site goes down? Or the network? So, not only does OP make it complex and difficult to park, now it also requires that you have a smartphone in order to park legally in OP? In the long run OP's parking "policies" hurts the community more than it helps (short term it may appear to generate more revenue).

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: August 28th, 2013 5:08 PM

No reason to have parking signs with today's technology. Let people know it is their own responsibility to use their handheld devices and go to for parking regulations.

Jeff Schroeder from Oak Park  

Posted: August 28th, 2013 2:17 PM

To add on to Jim's point, my wife and I were shopping in Naperville recently (at stores we don't have here). Parking was free for two hours, there were tons of shoppers out and I kept thinking "why can't Oak Park do this?". Sales tax revenues instead of parking fees.

Jeff Schroeder from Oak Park  

Posted: August 28th, 2013 2:14 PM

Some of the signs in place are confusing. We have gotten a few tickets that have resulted from sign confusion and nothing else. I would say the whole system should be scrapped and re-started from scratch. The question "Is this really necessary" should be asked for every street.

OP Transplant  

Posted: August 28th, 2013 2:06 PM

Jim makes a strong point about value. What do we have to offer that you can't get in LaGrange, Elmhurst, or even Forest Park? Why would we expect people to drive here and pay to park when they can drive to other communities, park more conveniently for free, and enjoy similar or better shopping and dining experiences? Why do we imagine we can charge more, offer less, and somehow businesses and customers will come here?

Jim from Oak Park  

Posted: August 28th, 2013 1:20 PM

At first, meters HELPED economic development. They prompted parking turnover and brought in more shoppers. Then government saw a REVENUE source! When OP needed money a few years ago, it jacked meter rates beyond the parking's value. Businesses suffered and, OP lost parking fines and fees. Government has no idea of a price-value relationship, yet that consumer perception drives discretionary spending. Government has to know when it is in a competitive environment and needs cater to the consumer.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: August 28th, 2013 11:31 AM

Sarah - I enjoy supporting the village's revenue, but I don't buy with that purpose in mind. As a guy, outside the movie theater, some of the restaurants, an occasional ice cream cone a book store visit, I don't find much to buy downtown. No grocery store, no drug store, no hardware store, no men clothes or shoes that are within in my taste and price range. OP downtown is a huge boutique, fine for some but worthless to most OP'ers.


Posted: August 28th, 2013 11:13 AM

Sarah, there will always be special people like you who do everything right. But for those of us who have misinterpreted the confusing signs and been screwed one too many times, or are getting older or just plain tired after a long day, we can and will choose to reduce the stress in our lives and go elsewhere. I agree with those who say the restrictions in commercial zones need to be thrown out. I would add around school zones, parks, the Y, etc., as well.

Village Voice from Oak Park  

Posted: August 28th, 2013 10:40 AM

#545: As I understand it, parking is expected to pay for itself, except that due to the exceptional incompetence of OP's so called professional staff and the "generosity in spirit" of a previous VMA board to gift OPRF with a teacher parking garage built with village money, the "parking fund" has incurred millions in debt (over $10 million in 2007). Both the current costs and the mismanagement debt must come out of the hides of OP parkers, and pay you will.

OP Resident # 545 from Oak Park  

Posted: August 28th, 2013 9:59 AM

The entire parking policy of OP needs to be eliminated & rewritten. It's hard to figure out in the VOP budget, but I'm guessing that gross receipts from meters, garage fees, & parking tickets do not cover costs of parking mgt & facilities. Assuming that's true, get rid of all of it. Also, for Ned & others, IMHO no OPRF student should be allowed to drive to school & park nearby. Walk, bus, bike. (Fenwick is different due to student population, so VOP should sell them a Madison property)

OP Transplant  

Posted: August 28th, 2013 9:54 AM

Sarah - "Oak Park is urban." No, Oak Park is SUBurban. Parking here might not seem bad when compared to Lincoln Park, but it's miserable compared to LaGrange. Confusing and seemingly punitive parking policies drive even locals to shop elsewhere. It's one of the reasons the village has so much difficulty attracting and keeping retail, which in turn drives up property taxes. You cant demand "generosity in spirit" from consumers with multiple better choices. They just shop and dine elsewhere. from Oak Park  

Posted: August 28th, 2013 8:21 AM

I live in Oak Park. I manage to park at meters and pay when I need to. I enjoy supporting our local businesses, which then helps support our tax base. I try to shop as local as possible. It's too bad that folks find it inconvenient to walk a little, bike a little, park and walk and support our local small businesses. NOT supporting our local businesses because we don't want to walk a little seems to lack generosity in spirit. Oak Park is urban. Walk and shop.


Posted: August 28th, 2013 7:19 AM

No parking on Madison in front of CVS because its nightparking after 6 PM. night parking on a major thoroughfare in front of a national chain pharmacy? i didn't expect that. Nor did i expect such an adversarial position between the villagers and the parking department in my town. Parking punishment in this town needs to change. 7 years ago they changed the lot behind the tennis club to 1 dollar an hour from .25 cents. The lot hasnt been full since.


Posted: August 28th, 2013 7:07 AM

i aso hate scrounging for change to make a 5 minute bakery stop. Sorry Oak Park Bakery. I once got the dont back in stall ticket, because otherwise it would require a 6 point turn. Do they monitor those spots with security cameras and alert enfrcement. I got an idea, put a sign in those stalls so you create enforcement. Sandra, I got that ticket too. you would have to stop your car while turning off lake to read that sign. You think your complying and then they stick ya.

Richard from Oak park  

Posted: August 28th, 2013 6:27 AM

For the past twenty years there has been a continued conversation about economic development, local business and empty store fronts. How parking rules are made and enforced have a great impact on the economic health. We are not a community of walkers and bikers. We have cars and use them. A quick trip to bakery, stationary store or cleaners should not include a ticket. Free parking in commerce zones is needed

Ned Ryerson from River Forest, Illinois  

Posted: August 27th, 2013 11:23 PM

My favorite is River Foresters whose property taxes go to the high school have to buy a OP parking pass for their kids to park around the high school. So arrogant.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: August 27th, 2013 11:17 PM

If you work or go to school in Oak Park and drive; you pay for parking. No exceptions. Ray Johnson says that the parking fees are needed to help pay for street maintenance. Still wondering why users of the Village Hall lot and the neighboring streets are getting a free and unlimited pass? Especially non-residents.

Anna Lothson  

Posted: August 27th, 2013 11:04 PM

Thank you commenters who posted a link to the survey. That got left off the initial post but a direct link to the survey has been posted above.


Posted: August 27th, 2013 9:56 PM

The whole Oak Park parking scheme is an absurdity that drives away commerce. The various restrictions, such as on many blocks around the high school effectively appropriate the public asset of the streets and reserve them for houseowners, giving them special privileges denied taxpaying condo owners and renters. The Village Board is too cowardly to take it on.

Sandra J Rowe from Oak Park  

Posted: August 27th, 2013 9:43 PM

Happened again ticket because neither sign BESIDE my car said anything about Tues street cleaning. Turns out they only posted that at the beginning and end of block, not in middle where I was. If they're already posting signs mid-block anyway, is it too much to askto include all the relevant ones on the pole?

Fool me once from Oak Park  

Posted: August 27th, 2013 8:31 PM

I no longer patronize businesses here either because of the truly punitive ticketing policy. In their zeal to extract every buck possible from residents, those who create this policy are contributing to a deteriorating quality of life in the village. I hope someone in charge is paying attention.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: August 27th, 2013 7:47 PM

Oak Park think it's a good idea to post how much parking on a new sign. Doesn't anyone think that it's going require another sign when the parking rates go up again, or is that not important. There is not reason for new signs other then to give someone a contract to make signs. The old and the new sign says nothing about Sunday, so people can assume if they can park or not on Sunday. Go to

Oakparker from Oak Park  

Posted: August 27th, 2013 7:45 PM

I make it easy on myself - I avoid shopping or using services in Oak Park. I also don't encourage others to come here after a good friend got a parking ticket for staying a little too long after a charity event a couple of years ago.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: August 27th, 2013 7:35 PM

I have lived in OP for a dozen years and parking is always the issue in the on fire. Personally, I do not have a parking issue. I buy little in OP because the village does not make it easy or stress-free to park in downtown or even in Southtown. The village needs to stop playing with the signs, ordinance, and pricing strategies. They need to go back to square one and work forward. Square One is towns like Elmhurst and LaGrange that have plenty of plenty of FREE parking with a pleasant stroll to stores. Square One is also downtown parking with some style.

Maggie from Oak Park  

Posted: August 27th, 2013 7:28 PM

I agree with RF. If you have an Oak Park Vehicle tag(sticker) the rules should be more user friendly.


Posted: August 27th, 2013 7:19 PM

Instead of calling in an overnight pass and having someone input the information into a computer, allow people to request an overnight pass online! Eliminate the middle-person!

Suzette from Oak Park,IL 60301  

Posted: August 27th, 2013 6:50 PM

I love this: Parking Survey deadline is 8.31.2013 and this message was released 8.27.2013 at 4:08 PM. No link for survey until citizens requested the information and that info is imbedded in a response. Parking is key to retail and business development...SIMPLE is the only solution but Oak Park seems to like complicated rules that drive both residents and visitors away.


Posted: August 27th, 2013 6:36 PM

RF from OP has it exactly right. I always park in my garage, but still have to pony up $50 a year for living in OP - for that I ought to be able to park in front of where I live without getting a ticket. Seriously. What a disaster, and the village worries about signage ... this place as the worst parking "policy"

Lynne johnson from Oak Park  

Posted: August 27th, 2013 6:28 PM

We moved to downtown area because my husband could no longer walk to downtown. Now he can no longer walk. There is no accessibility to downtown unless someone can help me push his w/c there.

Jay Shepherd from Oak Park  

Posted: August 27th, 2013 6:24 PM

Oak Park is very unfriendly to visitors. I live on Oak Park Ave and there are three different times for parking within a four block area. Why can't my friends come see me and park on the street like other suburbs, without worrying about the time.

Kari from Oak Park  

Posted: August 27th, 2013 6:24 PM

the link can be found on the village website page here:

RF from OP  

Posted: August 27th, 2013 6:21 PM

Parking in OP is a disaster. It needs to be rethought from scratch and greatly simplified. Suggestion: free street parking at all times for residents displaying OP sticker, maybe subject to reasonable time limits where needed; no ticket ,ever for residents at/near their own residence (rethink overnite restrictions)


Posted: August 27th, 2013 6:17 PM

Parking in Oak Park? Where to begin! I think I will just sit back and watch the comment carnival ensue! My only comment is - what is OP parking meant to serve... Local business, Patrons or the village coffers.

Doug Kittredge from Oak Park   

Posted: August 27th, 2013 6:14 PM

what is the link to the survey? I am trying to resist jokes around Oak No-Park.

Liz Picone from Oak Park  

Posted: August 27th, 2013 6:13 PM

Where is the survey located?

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