I have been informed that the Chicago Park District plans to increase the parking meter rates its Loyola Park and Leone Park parking lots. More outrageous, the Park District plans to charge for overnight parking, as well. This is part of a Park District plan to implement 24-hour parking charges at all lakefront parking lots.
I am asking you to join me in opposing this plan.
Currently, the Park District charges 50 cents an hour to park between 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Loyola and Leone lots. After 9 p.m. parking is free. The Park District proposes to increase that rate to $1.00 an hour between 8 a.m. and 6 or 7 p.m.
The Park District also proposes to implement for the first time charges for overnight parking at the rate of 25 cents an hour. While at first blush that might not seem like a lot, it works out to over $100.00 a month simply to park overnight in an uncovered, publicly owned parking lot.
This would cause an enormous hardship for the many neighbors who have come to rely on the parking lots for overnight parking. Many of those residents are senior citizens who live on fixed incomes at the Lunt/Lake apartments adjacent to the Loyola Park lot. They simply could not afford to pay $1,200 a year to park overnight, not to mention the additional cost from the increase in daytime parking rates.
The overnight charges would also create an enormous hardship for everyone else in our community, as people would park on the city streets rather than pay the overnight parking charges. As a result, there would be even less on-street parking in our already parking-starved community.
Before the parking meter charges go into effect, the Park District will replace the parking meters with pay and display boxes, so residents will not have to carry rolls of quarters to feed the meters. But that’s small consolation for residents who can no longer afford the increased charges
While the Park District has not yet determined the effective date of the new charges, I am told they could go into effect as soon as June.
This Park District plan rubs salt in the wounds of 49th Ward residents who are still reeling from the City parking meter rate increases. I have called for hearings on the City’s parking meter plan and have spoken out against the persistent breakdowns of the pay and display boxes, as chronicled by a CBS2 Chicago report.
The Park District asserts the new charges are necessary to help address their budget crisis. While I am certainly sympathetic to the budgetary pressures the Park District is experiencing, the relatively small amount of money the Park District will recover from the new charges is far outweighed by the enormous hardship these charges would inflict upon the residents of my ward.
I have already expressed to the Park District my strong opposition to this new rate plan, but I need you to join me. Please e-mail Park District Superintendent Timothy Mitchell,firstname.lastname@example.org, and Park District Board President Gery Chico,email@example.com, and tell them you oppose the new rates, especially the overnight parking charges. If you wish to register your complaint over the phone, the Park District number is 312-742-4200. Call between 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
If the Park District doesn’t amend its current plan, I will also be leading a delegation of 49th Ward residents to the next meeting of the Park District Board. That meeting will take place on Wednesday, June 10th, 4:00 p.m., at the Park District Headquarters at 541 N. Fairbanks, 8th floor. If you need transportation to the meeting, please reply to this e-mail or call my 49th Ward Service Office at 773-338-5796.
I will continue to keep you informed on my efforts. Thank you for your help and support.