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Free Weekend Parking on Logan Square's Boulevards Ending Soon

By Paul Biasco | September 11, 2015 5:30am
 Free weekend parking on Logan Square boulevards is about to end.
Free weekend parking on Logan Square boulevards is about to end.
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DNAinfo/Paul Biasco

LOGAN SQUARE — Free weekend parking along Logan Square's boulevards is about to be a thing of the past, at least officially.

The signs that allow for free parking along most stretches of the main, center boulevards in Logan Square — Logan, Kedzie and Humboldt boulevards — are going to be removed this fall.

When those streets return to tow-away zones, the question will be whether churches will still be allowed to accommodate the cars of their congregation on the boulevards on Sundays.

The tradition of churches using the boulevards for free parking dates back before the free weekend parking ordinance was passed in 2011. Former Ald. Rey Colon (35th) pushed for the free boulevard parking ordinance.

That law turned two of the streets' four lanes into parking lanes. Signs currently allow parking between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Wednesdays and 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Residents of the neighborhood voted on a non-binding referendum to remove the signs two years ago. Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd), whose ward now controls much of the boulevards in the neighborhood, said he wanted to wait to remove the signs until the Chicago Department of Transportation was able to study the move.

"We basically said we are going to go through CDOT and work on this with the police as well," Waguespack said.

The decision was made based on safety for cars, pedestrian and cyclists, according to Waguespack.

The roadways that will be changed include Logan Boulevard between Sacramento and Campbell avenues, Kedzie Boulevard between Linden Place and Belden Avenue and Humboldt Boulevard between Shakespeare Avenue and Cortland Street.

One of the biggest issues is late on Saturday or Sunday nights when only one or two cars are parked along the boulevard. Drivers do not anticipate that car being parked along the four-lane boulevard, leading to crashes.

Waguespack said he expects churches will continue to make arrangements for their congregations to park on Sundays.

"Our approach was basically increasing safety and trying to find a way to still allow everybody to have their events, services or masses, but kind of go back to the situation where cars were moving away shortly after the events were held," Waguespack said.

One such church, Armitage Baptist at 2451 N. Kedzie Blvd. already has a system set up with a team that organizes parking for its church members on Sundays.

Those team members wear yellow vests and set up cones at the front and back of the vehicles as well as in areas where parking is prohibited, such as disabled access-ways.

"It's very formal, we have an outside welcome team," said Angel Vega, outreach and engagement director for the church. "Safety is first and foremost with us."

Waguespack suggested other area churches on the boulevards follow suit by getting cones or barricades to help with parking if they are not already doing so.

The Logan Square Farmers Market will not be affected by the change, as parking on the stretch of Logan Boulevard where it is held was never changed by Colon's ordinance.

Paul Levin, executive director of the Logan Square Chamber of Commerce, said he doesn't anticipate the change will affect local businesses.

He does, however, worry that police might start ticketing along the boulevards.

"The previous way of doing it was probably the most flexible approach," Levin said. 

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