WEST LOOP — Have questions about the the West Loop’s controversial new parking rules?
Local aldermen, city officials and neighborhood groups will gather to answer questions Thursday after the city nixed most of the free parking peppered across the West Loop late last year, replacing it with metered and permit parking. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. at the Chicago Children’s Theater, 100 S. Racine Ave.
The meeting is co-hosted by Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th), Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th) and the West Central Association. Representatives from the city’s Department of Revenue and the City Clerk’s office are expected to attend the meeting, too.
As part of the city’s new plan, prices for metered parking increased from $2 to $4.50 per hour from 8 a.m. to midnight at existing meters.
The new meter boxes were set to be added to a majority of streets from Carroll Avenue to Madison Street and Ogden Avenue and Halsted Street, officials said late last year.
To protect residents, the city will restrict parking rules, requiring motorists to have a residential parking permit in order to park on the street between 7-9 a.m. daily along some streets in the neighborhood.
Department of Finance spokeswoman Kristen Cabanban previously told Block Club that the city moved to add metered parking, in part, to address concerns from merchants in the neighborhood who said some visitors were taking up parking spaces in front of commercial corridors all day.
The metered spots are meant to create a turnover, “keep the traffic flow moving” to help businesses “viability,” Cabanban said.
The plan also aims to encourage people to take public transportation, she said.
But some residents called the plan a “catastrophe,” saying tha the new meters were a neighborhood-killing venture that would scare off customers that keep small shops in business.
Residents took to social media to raise concerns about the implementation of the new plan without community input.
The changes come two years after the chamber and Burnett aimed to stop people from leaving their cars parked in the neighborhood while they commuted and worked in the Loop by adding residential permit zones and meter parking.
The new morning parking ban comes after neighborhood groups pushed to end a midday parking ban in the West Loop in 2014.
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