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Milwaukee Avenue Rush-Hour Parking Bans Should Be Lifted, Arena Says

PORTAGE PARK — Hoping to give commuters a reason to stop and grab a cup of coffee or a takeout dinner, Ald. John Arena (45th) wants the rush-hour parking bans along Milwaukee Avenue lifted.

The bans make it hard for businesses in Portage Park and Jefferson Park to entice drivers who use Milwaukee Avenue to get to and from work, said Owen Brugh, an aide to Arena.

"We want to give people a chance to stop and spend some money," Brugh said.

Parking is prohibited on the west side of Milwaukee from Addison Street to Lawrence Avenue from 7-9 a.m. and on the east side of Milwaukee from 4-6 p.m.

A proposal to lift the bans, which were imposed nearly 30 years ago, was introduced at the April 10 City Council meeting, Brugh said.

Lifting the bans could also pave the way for dedicated bike lanes on Milwaukee south of Lawrence Avenue, Brugh said.

Residents of the 45th Ward are voting this week on how to spend $1 million of Arena's discretionary budget for infrastructure projects. Improving conditions for pedestrians and bicyclists emerged as a high priority, Arena said.

"We have an extremely active bicycling community," Brugh said.

The vote will determine whether $125,000 will be spent to create buffered bike lanes along Milwaukee from Addison to Lawrence and another $70,000 to create bike lanes on Lawrence from Cicero Avenue to Long Avenue.

There are also plans to build barrier-protected bike lanes along Milwaukee north of the Kennedy Expressway overpass through Gladstone Park.

The bicycle lanes, known as spoke lanes, would be similar to those that opened earlier this year along Dearborn Street in the Loop and Kinzie Street between Milwaukee and Wells Street.

The lanes would be designed to keep traffic flowing while preserving parking and loading zones for businesses, Brugh said.