KENWOOD — Crews installed Kenwood's first parking meters last week in front of an unemployment office, and it took little time for the meters to nab violators.
On Aug. 26 the pay boxes were installed outside of the Illinois Department of Employment Security, 715 E. 47th St., and the neighboring One Hope United adoption agency.
Two days later, on Friday, "everyone got a ticket,” said Nora Cortez, who works at One Hope United. “All the people at the unemployment office got ticketed.”
She said there hadn’t been problems with people parking in front of the building and she said she was confused why it would be one of only two blocks in the neighborhood with meters.
Employees at the unemployment office also said there hadn’t been problems with people parking in front of the building, but declined to be named because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
Sam Cholke says the meter installation is for a nearby Walmart:
The 4700 block of South Cottage Grove Avenue also got parking meters on Aug. 26, in front of a new Walmart, O’Reilly Auto Parts and Save-A-Lot.
Ald. Will Burns (4th) was unavailable to comment, but City Council records show he asked that the meters be installed a month after Walmart opened in the Shops and Lofts development in October 2014.
“The meters were installed in response to new retail that has emerged at Cottage Grove and 47th Street — namely the Walmart grocery store,” said Prentice Butler, a spokesman for Burns’ 4th Ward office. “Ald. Burns was asked to install meters on Cottage Grove and 47th Street to allow parking spaces to turn over to facilitate shopping at Shops and Lofts.”
Frank Petruziello of Skilken, the developer of Shops and Lofts, said he asked that the meters be installed to help the retail tenants get more parking spaces turned over during the day.
Meters were never installed to the north side of the Shops and Lofts building where they were requested by Petruziello, but were installed a block down in front of the unemployment office.
"The installation is not finished," Butler said.
He was said he was unsure when the remaining meters would be installed.
Scott Burnham, a spokesman for Chicago Parking Meters, which installs and operates the meters for the city, said crews were initially told by the city that meters were only wanted between Langley and Evans avenues on 47th Street.
He said the parking meters between Evans and Cottage Grove avenues would be installed as early as Wednesday.
The new meters are along the boundaries of Kenwood and Grand Boulevard, where meters have cropped up along the fringes, but still never in the neighborhood proper.
The only other parking meters east of Martin Luther King Drive between Interstate 55 and Hyde Park are in front of Kenwood Academy at on Hyde Park Boulevard from Dorchester to South Lake Park avenues.
The two new Kenwood blocks are among less than four blocks in the entire city where aldermen approved new parking meters this year.
The 2000 block of West Division Avenue in the 1st Ward also got new parking meters in April.
Ald. Toni Foulkes (15th) also asked that three parking spaces from 1605-1609 W. 45th Street become metered in January.
Parking meters were moved in the 11th Ward from South Union Avenue between Liberty and 14th streets to the 800 block of West Maxwell Street in April.
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