ALBANY PARK — When you live on a narrow street and don’t have a garage, your side mirrors can sometimes fall victim to passing cars.
Those living on Wilson Avenue in Albany Park know this all too well. So well, in fact, the neighborhood adopted a new way of parking a long time ago: Putting two tires slightly on the parkway curb to leave more room for passing drivers.
So when neighbors saw a line of at least six cars ticketed on the block Thursday, they were baffled — and Ald. Rossana Rodriguez (33rd) came to their rescue.
“Everybody does it and there aren’t normally tickets given out for it,” said resident Shreame Wallace. “This is my first time living on the North Side and I was actually kind of shocked when I first saw cars parked on the curb after I moved here a year ago.”
While parking on the curb isn’t allowed in other parts of the city, people who live along that stretch of Wilson Avenue have been doing it for years without issue due to the narrow street, neighbors said.
About 9 a.m. Thursday, neighbors said they saw someone from the city ticketing cars on Wilson Avenue between Kedzie and Sacramento.
“We’ve lived here for the past five years and sometimes park on the curb on Wilson ourselves. I’ve never gotten a ticket or anything before,” said Adela Golub. “It’s normal to park on the curb because it’s a two way street and it’s pretty tight. It’s common because no one wants their mirrors to be clipped by people driving by.”
After frustrated residents took to social media, Ald. Rodriguez offered to help.
Kirsten Rokke, Rodriguez’s chief of staff, urged those who received a ticket for parking on the curb along that stretch of Wilson to email her office at firstname.lastname@example.org and include the ticket number.
“We are aware of it and working on it,” she said.
Thursday afternoon, several vehicles had handwritten notes attached to their tickets directing the owner of the car to email the 33rd Ward office to “get it erased.”
Later Thursday, the alderman posted that she’d found a way to erase the tickets.
“Message to the residents who were wrongfully ticketed for parking on Wilson Ave today,” the alderman posted on Facebook. “The Dept. of Finance agreed to dismiss all of the tickets issued this morning after we sent them the ordinance passed in 2006 that suspends the parking prohibition on parkways at 3000-3200 blocks W Wilson Ave. We will post once we receive a confirmation that the tickets were dismissed. Thank you to all the residents who reached out!”
State Rep. Jaime Andrade Jr. said this isn’t the first time residents have been blindsided by tickets for parking like they normally do.
The curbs were first installed during the tenure of former Ald. Dick Mell. Andrade worked on Mell’s staff back then and said the former aldermen was able to get an exemption from the city regarding curb parking on those blocks, he said.
“The exemption should be on the city’s books somewhere. We’ve gone through this over and over again over the years,” Andrade said. “Almost always it’s because someone new got assigned to look for parking violations in this area who doesn’t know.”
Messages left with the Department of Finance, which handles ticketing, were not immediately returned.
The real long term solution for this is the have a sign on Wilson that says “Curb Parking Allowed, Per Ordinance,” Andrade said.
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