A plan to purchase over 100 new parking meters, install them near rapid-transit stations and hike hourly rates is currently in the works at village hall.
The village wants to replace roughly 200 meters around CTA stations because some are faulty and so old that, in many cases, parts aren’t available. The village already has about 80 new meters, which it got via a grant in 2010. The remaining 120 will be bought with TIF money. Village Administrator Tim Gillian has also proposed hiking the meter rates, which vary from spot to spot, in the areas surrounding rapid-transit stations to 25 cents for 30 minutes.
At both of last month’s village council meetings, Gillian publicly discussed the need to replace the old meters with new ones, and to make the rates in the areas around the el stations uniform. In a Sept. 7 memo to village board members, Gillian wrote, “The inconsistencies range from 25 cents for one hour to 25 cents for [an hour and a half].”
“These are only going to be in the areas [on the streets] surrounding the CTA stations,” he told the Forest Park Review. That is, people will still be able to park at, say, the Van Buren Street lot at a daily rate of $3.
He proposed that the new meters be installed at: Circle Avenue, from Harlem Avenue to Franklin Street; Marengo Avenue, from Circle Avenue to Franklin Street; Elgin Avenue, from Circle Avenue to Franklin Street; Lehmer Street, from Ferdinand to Beloit avenues; and Lehmer Street, from Circle to Elgin avenues. These are areas where there are currently inconsistencies in parking rates.
According to Gillian, 80 of the meters were acquired through a 2010 grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO). The additional 120 meters will be purchased with money from the Brown Street TIF fund, he noted. Subsequently, no money will be used from the village’s general fund. With the purchase, there will also likely be 30 or 40 spare meters, Gillian added.
The village hopes to pay around $18,000 for the meters (each one costs approximately $150) when it buys them from Milwaukee-based Duncan Solutions, Inc., Gillian said.
He also said the village expects to take in about $18,000-$20,000 in additional revenue, per year, if the meters are installed. Currently, money from the meters account for some $100,000 in revenue, yearly, according to Gillian’s memo.
The village board took a straw poll at its Sept. 26 meeting, and gave Gillian the go-ahead to buy the meters. He is also drafting an ordinance that will officially modify the parking rates, if the council passes it. Gillian has the OK to buy the meters, but they cannot be installed at the increased rate if the council does not approve the ordinance.
Commissioner Chris Harris said he is against the proposed rate increase.
“I said it during the campaign … I’m going to vote against anything that hits residents and consumers in the pockets,” Harris said.
The last time the village instituted any rate increase to its meters was 1998. Pointing out Oak Park’s higher parking rates near CTA stations, Gillian said, several times, in his presentations at the meetings, that the proposed rates are still more reasonable “than our neighbors to the east.”