LAKEVIEW — The Chicago Cubs believe remote parking is the best solution to the cramped parking situation near Wrigley Field, but a new garage across the street from the ballpark is also being considered.
Mike Lufrano, the team's executive vice president of community affairs, told the South East Lake View Neighbors Monday night that a garage with as many as 500 spots could be built near the Taco Bell on Addison Street.
Realistically, neighborhood opposition to more garages may mean only 300 spots will get added there, Lufrano said, with the garage being partially underground.
The green lot at Grace Street and Racine Avenue, which has 650 spaces, has been discussed as a potential location to build a double deck garage. The plan is still on the table, but Lufrano said community members have opposed this move. An online petition against adding more parking has been signed by 200 people.
In addition, the planned Wrigleyville hotel is slated to include 75 underground spots, he said.
Parking has been a sticking point in Wrigley Field renovation negotiations. The Cubs want to ease restrictions such as the number of night games to help fund a $300 million renovation of the field, but Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) has said he refuses to sign off on changes unless the team addresses community concerns like parking, traffic and security.
The team expected to reach a deal with the alderman and the city by Monday, but the day passed without a peep. On Tuesday night, Lufrano will be meeting with community members and the alderman behind closed doors to further discuss key community points.
While the garages are in play, Lufrano said maximizing remote parking would be prioritized. Currently, night game attendees can use the parking lot at DeVry University, at Addison and Western, for $6. The team provides a free shuttle to the field from there.
The team is considering making the remote lot free to encourage people to use it more — and thus avoid taking up neighborhood street parking.
"DeVry is wonderfully inexpensive," he said. "We’d like to make it better."
The team is also not ruling out collaborating with private parking lots and adopting an empty spot aggregator such as SpotHero to fill existing spaces. People buying tickets would be able to see what's available in the lots through Cubs.com, Lufrano said.
"It helps their businesses, and [it's a fix] before we bring new parking to the ballpark," he said.
The Cubs and Wrigley Field are 95 percent owned by a trust established for the benefit of the family of Joe Ricketts, owner and CEO of DNAinfo.com Chicago. Joe Ricketts has no direct involvement in the team's day-to-day operations.