PORTAGE PARK — Parking will remain free on Sundays in commercial districts throughout the 45th Ward, at Ald. John Arena’s request.
Initially, Arena was one of several aldermen demanding that Mayor Rahm Emanuel end free parking at pay boxes on Sunday, saying it was bad for local businesses. He said drivers parked their cars in premium spaces near stores from Saturday night until Monday morning, depriving businesses of spots they needed for potential customers.
Although Emanuel agreed earlier this month to allow aldermen to reinstate paid Sunday parking in their wards, Arena asked Wednesday that the commercial districts in the 45th Ward be withdrawn from the ordinance expected to be approved Wednesday by the City Council, said Owen Brugh, Arena's chief of staff.
That's because in exchange for drivers having to pay again on Sunday, Arena wanted the company that owns the city's parking meters to reduce the cost of parking at meters anywhere in the 45th Ward by 25 cents per hour, Brugh said.
Having a meter rate lower than anywhere else in the city would have been a "powerful marketing tool for businesses" especially those that will be opening in the long-dormant Six Corners Shopping District in the coming months, Brugh said.
However, the terms of the agreement covering the parking meters — reviled by just about everyone for being a terrible deal for residents — prevent city officials from making changes to meter operations that reduce the company's revenues, Brugh said.
Even with the help of the mayor's office, a deal could not be reached that wouldn't cost taxpayers more, Brugh said.
"The last thing we want to do is further line the pockets of the parking meter company," Brugh said. "For the time being, we decided to scrap the plan."
Last year, Emanuel revised the notorious parking meter deal last year to swap longer weekday hours in return for free Sunday parking,
Areas in the 45th Ward where parking will remain free on Sundays are:
- 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 Street
- 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
Contributing: Ted Cox