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Blue Line "L" Paint Job to Wipe out Parking, Sidewalk in Busy Damen Stretch

By Alisa Hauser | June 19, 2013 3:17pm
 A busy stretch of Damen Avenue from 1545- 1556 N. Damen Ave. in the heart of Wicker Park will have a no parking restriction from June 19 - July 26, according to signs posted in front of area businesses.
No Parking Through July 26 on Busy Damen Stretch
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WICKER PARK — Looking for parking just south of the CTA Blue Line Damen "L" stop in Wicker Park?

Look again and keep circling...

City workers posted "No Parking, Tow Zone" signs to a small yet busy stretch of Wicker Park between 1545 - 1556 N. Damen Ave. on Tuesday.

Affecting both the east and west sides of the street, the restrictions will last until July 26 and run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 6 a.m., according to the signs.

The signs were posted to street poles in front of Penny's Noodle Shop. 1542 N. Damen Ave, Cipollina, a cafe at 1543 N. Damen Ave. and Blue Line Lounge, a bar/restaurant at 1548 N. Damen Ave.

Though no days of the week are listed on the signs, Rodolfo DeJesus, a staffer for Ald. Joe Moreno (1st), said the restrictions "do not affect Friday evenings or weekends" and no work is planned for the rest of this week due to Green Music Fest, which occurs on Damen Avenue between North Avenue and Schiller Street.

A worker for contractor F.H. Paschen described the repair work as "a three-week project to repair peeling paint on canopies and a bunch of touch ups to do all around the [ Blue Line] station."

Brandon said the painting crews will need spaces for six to eight cars for the project which, according to the permit, also includes a barricade that "will cause a total closure on the parkway or sidewalk."

For Gus Chiamopoulos, owner of Penny's Noodles at 1552 N. Milwaukee Ave., the signs came as a surprise Tuesday.

"It sounds kind of strange without any input from the community. It's impacting our business by having that parking limited," Chiamopoulos said.

Chiamopoulos recently lost a loading zone that he shares with neighbors such as Blue Line Lounge and the soon-to-be closed Greener Cleaners.

Though Chiamopoulos and his neighbors paid $450 a year to the city for use of the loading zone, fees were recently raised to $1,600 which prompted he and his neighbors not to renew the contract.  

"It's still ours until they take it down," Chiamopoulos said of the loading zone, which he speculated would "make sense if they turned it into paid parking because people don't stay as long."

While the loss of parking in front of Penny's Noodles is only temporary, another loading zone that Penny's was using, a 25-foot long space in Pierce Ave. on the southern side of its restaurant, will soon be removed to make way for a Divvy Bike Share station.

The Divvy bike station at 2002 W. Pierce Ave. (at Damen) is one of five kiosks scheduled to be installed in Wicker Park next Wednesday, according to DeJesus.