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Need a Daily Parking Permit? Man's Hassle Reveals Clue to Obtaining Passes

By Alisa Hauser | July 13, 2016 11:29am
 The 1300 Block of North Bosworth Avenue is permit-only parking.
The 1300 Block of North Bosworth Avenue is permit-only parking.
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Cindi Sherman

NOBLE SQUARE — John Billo's recent effort to buy temporary parking passes at the 1st Ward office was unsuccessful. But it did reveal a little-known aspect of obtaining the passes:

According to the city, aldermanic offices that offer the passes can sell them for any parking zone in Chicago.

Billo is a former resident of the 1st Ward who is now part of the the sprawling "New 2." He lives in the 1300 block of North Bosworth Avenue, on the the east side of the street in the 2nd Ward.

The west side of the street is in the 1st Ward. Both sides of Billo's block are permit parking only, in "Zone 154." Billo needed to buy daily passes for visiting family members.

Before going to Ald. Joe Moreno's 1st Ward office at 2740 W. North Ave. in Humboldt Park, Billo had tried to buy the daily passes at Ald. Brian Hopkins' 2nd Ward office at 1400 N. Ashland Ave. in Wicker Park. But Hopkins' office does not have the machine needed to process the parking pass sales.

But he said he was told at the 1st Ward office he needed to go to the City Clerk's office Downtown because he is not a resident of Moreno's ward. (Calls seeking comment from Moreno's office were not returned.)

"Doesn’t the city need money if I’m willing to buy either at the city office or Moreno’s?" said Billo.

Yes, says Patrick Corcoran, a spokesman for City Clerk Susana Mendoza.

Corcoran said that aldermanic offices that sell the passes should do so to all residents who live in permit-parking-only areas, regardless of which of the city's 1,200 permit parking zones they reside in.

"There's nothing in a contract that would prevent an alderman's office from issuing [parking passes] in other zones. Ultimately, we all work for the same city. It's incumbent on us to treat all Chicago residents equally," said Corcoran.

"We find it disappointing seeing as the resources provided to alderman — the hardware, the training, the technology — use city tax dollars and shouldn't be used to exclusively benefit the residents of a specific ward," Corcoran added.

The temporary 24-hour passes, which cost $8 for a sheet of 15 stickers, can be bought at City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle St., at two clerk satellite spots at 5430 W. Gale St. and 5674 S. Archer Ave., or at aldermen's offices in the 46th, 43rd, 44th, 32nd and 1st wards, according to the City Clerk website.

The daily passes can also be bought online but it takes up to five business days to get them.

Hopkins said he asked the City Clerk for the capability to sell the temporary parking passes at his 2nd Ward office within weeks of taking office last year. Because the clerk's office was making "significant changes to the procedure" and they did not want to give Hopkins old equipment, he said he agreed to wait.

“Yes, it has been a problem [not being able to sell the passes]. When someone comes into our office, depending on where they live, we send them to [Ald. Scott] Waguespack or to Moreno," Hopkins said.

Corcoran said Hopkins' office should be outfitted with a machine and ready to sell passes to his constituents within the next week.

"The delay resulted from the fact we were auditing the program. It took a bit of time to do an overhaul," Corcoran said.

"One example of what changed is that we no longer allow cash transactions. We have third party vendors that handle cash and have satellite offices that accept cash and didn't think it was a good idea for aldermen to handle cash," Corcoran said.

Corcoran said that the city sells over 250,000 daily parking pass sheets each year.

Billo called his struggles "another example of city politics."

"This may seem like a petty issue, but my neighbors and I are furious. When I left Moreno's office, I was so irritated because they were denying a city taxpayer parking permits. My taxes just went up 25 percent and I'm getting the run around," Billo said.