CITY HALL — The free ride on Sunday parking for Chicago drivers will soon be over across swaths of the city from Wrigleyville to Wicker Park to Six Corners.
After months of delays, Mayor Rahm Emanuel finally agreed to reinstate paid Sunday parking.
Emanuel proposed an ordinance at Wednesday's City Council meeting setting out dozens of areas, primarily in business districts, where meters would be in operation from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Sundays.
Emanuel's revision to the notorious parking-meter deal negotiated last year included a swap of longer weekday hours for free Sunday parking, but Corporation Counsel Stephen Patton said the city could trade back metered parking on Sundays in areas where businesses wanted the turnover in spaces. He promised aldermen that they could request the reinstatement of paid parking in their business districts.
Yet, some aldermen soon felt taken for a ride on that pledge, and protests persisted as time went on.
This week, the mayor relented. His proposed ordinance was assigned to the Committee on Pedestrian and Traffic Safety.
Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) cheered the move, while calling it overdue. He said he had checked with his local chambers of commerce, and "for the most part everybody was like, yeah, we'd like to have it paid."
Ald. Michele Smith (43rd), however, said she was largely leaving free Sunday parking intact in her ward after consulting with local business owners, who for the most part enjoyed the goodwill it promoted in customers.
"The feedback we got overwhelmingly was let's leave it for now and revisit it later," she added. "This is a very micro-economic decision in how it affects your particular area."
Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) said it involved a balancing act in his ward, although it was obvious he wanted Sunday meter enforcement back around Wrigley Field.
"We cannot be offering free parking around the ballpark," Tunney said.
"Granted, it's a nice perk," he added, and he emphasized that his staff had worked with the mayor to maintain free parking in less-congested areas such as Sheffield Avenue and Halsted Street south of Belmont Avenue.
Yet, he worked to revive Sunday meters along major business corridors such as Broadway and Clark Street for "retail vitality," pointing out, "Most of our businesses do not have off-street parking" and need the turnover to clear space for customers.
"We have letters of support from all our chambers," he added.
Tunney said, as part of the compromise, "wraparound" meters on side streets off those main thoroughfares would remain free on Sundays — and residents, not Cub fans, would most likely identify those pockets and park there Saturday nights.
"I think it was a good compromise," Tunney added.
While it won't be ready for this weekend's start of the Cubs' home schedule or later homestands this month — Wrigleyville parking will remain free on Sundays for the time being — paid Sunday parking should get final approval at the May City Council meeting and would take effect immediately after passage and publication.
When the free Sunday parking measure went into effect, paid parking was extended to 10 p.m. in many areas, but the latest proposal does not include provisions to roll back paid parking times to 8 p.m. Rather, according to Patton, Sunday revenues will go to address "true-ups" with Chicago Parking Meters — money lost by the company because of road closings for repaving, street fairs and the like.
Tunney said there were a few minor mistakes in the streets listed for metered Sunday parking, and they would be addressed in committee. For now, however, according to the ordinance, the areas affected include:
• North Broadway from Diversey Parkway to Cuyler Avenue
• North Halsted Street from Barry Avenue to Dakin Street
• North Clark Street from Diversey to Byron Street
• North Sheffield Avenue from Belmont Avenue to Clark
• West Roscoe Street from Kenmore Avenue to Wilton Avenue
• North Southport Avenue from Belmont to Byron
• West Addison Street from Wilton to Sheffield
• West Waveland Avenue from Clifton Avenue to Seminary Avenue
• West Irving Park Road from Clarendon Avenue to Kenmore
• North Sheridan Road from Byron to Cuyler
• West Belmont from Racine Avenue to Broadway
• North Milwaukee Avenue from Addison to Farragut Avenue
• North Cicero Avenue from Berenice Avenue to Berteau Avenue
• West Ainslie Street from Milwaukee to Lipps Avenue
• West Irving Park from Cicero to Lavergne Avenue
• North LaPorte Avenue from Irving Park to Belle Plaine Avenue
• West Belle Plaine from LaPorte to Cicero
• West Pensacola Avenue from LeClaire Avenue to Milwaukee
• North Lamon Avenue from Irving Park to Dakin
• West Montrose Street from Laramie Avenue to Lavergne
• West Agatite Avenue from LeClaire to Lavergne
• West Giddings Street from Milwaukee to London Avenue
• North London from Giddings to Lawrence Avenue
• North Lipps Avenue from Lawrence to Ainslie Street
• North Long Avenue from Higgins Avenue to Lawrence
• West Higgins from Milwaukee to Linder Avenue
• West Gale Street from Higgins to Milwaukee
• West Veterans Place from Long to Lockwood Avenue
• West Wellington Avenue from Southport to Greenview Avenue
• North Clybourn Avenue from Lakewood Avenue to Webster Avenue
• West Fullerton Avenue from Southport to Lakewood
• West North Avenue from Ashland Avenue to Winchester Avenue
• North Damen Avenue from North to Bloomingdale Avenue
• North Winchester from North to Wabansia Avenue
• North Wolcott Avenue from North to Wabansia
• North Milwaukee from North to Western Avenue
• West Division Street from Hoyne Avenue to Leavitt Street
• North Clybourn from North to Willow Street
• North Clybourn from Webster to Dickens Avenue
• North Lincoln Avenue from Diversey to Belmont
• North Greenview from Barry to Belmont
• North Ashland from Nelson Street to Belmont
• North Southport from Wellington to Nelson