Metra Permit Parking Meeting Notes

Hello Neighbors!

This past Monday, January 20th at Bethany Retirement Community, I attended the Residential Permit Parking meeting for the Ravenswood Metra area.

Before I get to my notes from the meeting, I want to let you know that our next East Ravenswood Neighbors meeting will be on Monday, February 13th at 7pm at All Saints Church on the corner of Wilson and Hermitage.
At the Parking meeting on the 20th, many other East Ravenswood neighbors were in attendance, as this affects many of us, if not all. Many permits were added and changed with the past aldermanic administration. The current administration is planning to consolidate and coordinate a consistent permit parking program that makes sense for the residents that it affects. They hired Bill Higgins, a former transportation planner for IDOT, to work with Ward residents to evaluate the current situation and improve it. They are planning to make sure this consolidation occurs by the time we need to buy new city stickers in June to make the transition easiest. Most of the meeting was a presentation, followed by a question-and-answer period at the end.

Please click here to view the presentation.

The main change that will be made in East Ravenswood is that several parking permit areas will be consolidated into “Neighborhood Zone 62”.

  • Existing 62 remains
  • 26 changes to 62
  • 1394 changes to 62
This change is automatic, time restrictions will not change. If you don’t want permit parking on your block, you and your neighbors on your block will need to petition. If you want to add permit parking to your block, you will also have to petition the neighbors on your block. 65% of residents must approve it. Please contact the Alderman’s office for further details.

Here are some questions from residents that came up at the end. The answers are from Alderman Pawar and Bill Higgins:

Q: How do you make sure people who have a garage will park in their garage [instead of on the street]?
A: There is nothing to enforce people who own garages to park in them…

Q: What about the people who live just outside of the permit area and the 1/2 block buffer zone… Are they allowed to get permits even though they often have to park in a permitted area to park close to home?
A: The half-block zones are tricky. You can get a letter to get a permit when you live a half block from the zone. Petition forms can be provided if you want to get a permit on your street. You have to start the process with a petition by city ordinance.

Q: Will there be changes to the industrial zoning along Ravenswood?
A: Maybe, but right now they a focusing on residential.

Q: Do we have to wait for other things to happen?
A: No, you can get the petition going now.

Q: Will you be mailing to everyone to sign the petition?
A: No, you have to go door to door.

Q: A constituent got a petition and a 24/7 parking permit zone went in on 4700 N. Hermitage 4 years ago. It was changed unexpectedly and there is no record of it. It was a lot of work.
A: If it’s an impact in the surrounding blocks, the office will help. They are happy to facilitate.

Q: Is the consolidation already set?
A: In June when stickers are renewed they will all say 62. There are a lot of different things that come together and it takes 4-8 months to get things done.

Q: Can all the numbers be the same in the ward?
A: [No clear answer.]

Q: Do you have to go door to door?
A: The petition has to happen. It’s in the city ordinances.

Q: Won’t the Mariano’s residential development make more cars?
A: No, it’s self-contained. The developers are marketing to people who don’t have more than one car, or don’t have a car at all. Even within the zone, it’s kind of like a gated community so wouldn’t have a permit.

Q: Do businesses fall into the petition? Churches, etc.?
A: They should individually come to the office and will be in conversation.
Business owners are allowed to get one permit and can purchase guest passes.

Q: Isn’t the Metra lot already crowded? How can it fit more?
A: Metra has a long-term plan to make more room for people and for more trains stopping.

Q: Can you (the ward office) be available to buy temporary permits?
A: The office has to rent the machine from the city clerk for $7,000 annually and the ward office doesn’t get any of the profit. There is not enough money in the menu for this. You can buy them online and they are shipped within a few days. Alderman Pawar has suggested to the city to try and figure out how to be able to print out and buy for specific times on an as-needed basis.

Q: Why would any neighborhood need 24/7 permitting?
A: You don’t. New petitions have to exhibit a high impact to grant restrictions.
Pawar is hoping employers start to subsidize mass transit for employees. The city is still catching up to national trend. There are people who move here because of the closeness to public transit.

Q: Do you have a sense that this will be expanding to new zones?
A: Not really. But there is a ripple effect of positive and negative impacts. Only zones that are already in place have already been evaluated as trouble zones for parking. They’re going to be pretty strict and make sure to only do something that is necessary and that majority of residents want. Just because you turn in a petition doesn’t mean you’ll be granted a permit parking zone. They want to work with the block clubs to come to an agreeable decision. It has to be a deliberate process.

Q: What is the plan for facilitating the reassessment of parking permits?
A: We hope to grow the Ward Council and get a pulse of what neighbors would like and need. Eyes and ears of your block.

Other questions not pertaining to the Residential Permit Parking:

Q: What will enforcement be during Mariano’s construction and streetscape?
A: Bill is working with the development team but there is no way to take on major improvement construction and not be disruptive. There will be negative consequences.

Q: Will you try and make sure they don’t enforce parking restrictions during this period along Lawrence during construction?
A:There’s no perfect system. Residential streets will not be penalized for the Lawrence Ave. streetscape project. The Alderman’s office has already been in touch with businesses along Lawrence to take their needs into consideration.

Q: What about curbside pickup of recycling?
A: As they are moving toward grid, things are falling through the cracks. There are a lot of kinks. Curbside pickup is trouble because there’s a lot of confusion. The ward office is working on it and Alderman Pawar apologizes.

The City is trying to get all services optimized with a technology infrastructure so all assets are talking to each other. They are literally building it from scratch. Open 311 will be the first of its kind next year. They will slowly build it and integrate all other programs.

So what’s next for East Ravenswood Neighbors?

Bill Higgins is excited to help, so I asked him to come to our next meeting which will be on Monday, February 13th at 7pm at All Saints Church on the corner of Wilson and Hermitage. If people want to submit a petition, the Ward Office is asking to do so by March 1. In addition to talking about the Permit Parking changes, we will also talk about the Block Audits–a survey the ward office has asked us to fill out so that they can get a better sense of overall trends and what really needs fixing. I hope to see you there!



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