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Parking woes and hopeful initiatives; accessibility

A service of Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference Transit Task Force and the HPKCC website Help support our work, Join the Conference! Contact Transit Task Force Chairman James Withrow. Chairman's blog service.

Visit the Parking Improvement District (TED) recommendation and discussion page. The full July 10 2006 powerpoint on the aborted Parking Improvement District is now up on the SECC website,

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Hyde Park Parking and Transportation Study 2014
Video of the meeting, taken by Andrew Holzman.

The University, SECC, and 4th Ward Alderman Will Burns inaugurated a Parking and Transportation Study Committee, with broad representation from community organizations. Pedestrian and all-modes friendliness, and determination of real parking needs with development in progress or planned in the 53rd Ellis to S Hyde Park Blvd. and Lake Park E. Hyde Park to 55th St. corridors that are the main focus. The committee commissioned a study from T.Y. Lin that was expected to be finished by early 2014, with public meetings on any recommendations to be held. Members of the committee say they never got to review the final, post-markup draft.
Transportation and parking are important to our business and community and development and safety- SECC and an advisory council, funded by U of C, contracted with TY Linn to conduct a study. The findings and strategies were unveiled at the July 24 2014 TIF meeting. Next steps and actions will be worked out by SECC, meetings with the city, and public forums. Find the report and Power Point in PUBLIC INPUT IS SOUGHT.
According to Herald summary (July 30),
the Study found plenty of parking, but hidden or inaccessible to the general public. In all HPK there are 4,429 spaces-- 1,759 on streets and 2,670 in lots (all private- HPK has no public lots since that at Harper Ct. was sold and developed). The Report says that the premise of the report's commissioners (SECC) is that any traffic or parking problems from development can be absorbed, or reduced by discouraging automobiles, making parking more efficient, and encouraging alternative ways of getting around. (The Report indicates this is mostly true, but not for heavy development in the west-central part of HP- see below). Weekdays free on street parking is at 77% of capacity, 82% on Saturday while the paid on street parking is only 51% filled on weekdays- though 77% on Saturday, same as for the free. Public paid lots (almost equal in volume to paid street) is just 37% full weekdays and just 26% on Saturday.

Richard Gill of SECC board led the advisory group and moderated the July 2014 presentation. Presenter was Jim Considine of TY Lin. The later was the only responder to the RFP and by far the "gold standard." Lin works for communities, not developers, but gives findings and strategies based on conditions,metrics and best practices, not recommendations- communities have to determine their plans. It works worldwide, locally in Evanston and DesPlaines. Noted was that funding and time were limited, even considering that UC students and resident volunteers were engaged for on-ground surveys (starting with areal surveys). So they focused on parking (which really does matter in a community's well being and development) but did not ignore the whole "complete streets," transit, and multimodal picture. Noted: this study was a snapshot with only Harper Court of the big 3 expected developments, and that barely open and its public parking as yet little utilized.

Existing conditions. The track was to look at assets and conditions, produce strategies that the community could use to determine changes based on community preference. Pointed out is that CMAP (the regional land and transportation planning agency) has outdated projections-- little population or job growth for HPK over the next 30 years-- with result that unless they can be convinced to update, will limit the resources available to adjust change or adjust to change here. Noted also was that Hyde Park is much more dense than the citywide average as well as jobs per square mile. Yet our use of transit (especially the rail-- Metra at a meager 50% of utilization and especially low for people coming INTO Hyde Park) is lower than most of Chicago and while we have one the the strongest job centers on the South Side (UC) we have poor connections to such others as Midway Airport, IIT and UIC university and medical center. The connections are mostly north-south in general and specifically to downtown.

Parking inventory. A starting point is that 85% utilization of a street or facility is considered the full capacity point-- after that people are circling. (Roger Huff pointed out that parking is too cheap if the facility is at 95% and too expensive when much below 85%, according to such experts as Mr. Shoup of California). Parking was divided by type: free on street, metered on street, public pay lots or garages, private-use lots or garages, and shared-use. Some patterns that emerged are that parking supply is heaviest nearest the Metra/Lake Park Avenue spine.
Onstreet parking, especially free, tends to be full and at the capacity mark.
On street parking is the largest proportion of parking west
(away from transit)- and there there are few off street lots and most of them are private and difficult to make shared-use. Some the findings are likely skewed by low use of the public parking in Harper Court, which charges $4 an hour. Noted by others- valet parking for the Theater at $4 an hour was also shunned.

Complete Streets. 53rd appears to be attractive to walking already-- half of the traffic is pedestrian vs. vehicles. (Audience members pointed out that many find it hard or inconvenient to walk several blocks to spread-out favorite stores or restaurants and would like a "3rd choice" beyond bikes, like a trolley. But is was noted there is room for more friendliness to bikes and recommended was modern zebra striping of crosswalks.
Lake Park, on the other hand is definitely an auto street.

Possible Strategies.

Improve parking utilization (don't increase supply) by such means as sharing institutional lots via 3rd party management.
Use demand pricing as possible.
Get as many private facilities as possible to share use including at night.
Look at eliminating or waiving public regulations such as those requiring developers to have too much parking (resulting in expensive oversupply for which they have to charge high, resulting in tenant/owner flight to overfill free street parking). Noted- some of the new developments are indeed providing more even than the regulations require.
In connection with above, push developers to reduce their parking and share with other facilities. NOTED- IN WEST HYDE PARK THERE ARE FEW SUCH FACILITIES OR SHARABLE ONES AND ON STREET PARKING IS HEAVILY USED- that is a limit needing attention.
Tied to above- encourage transit-linked development, develop close to the Metra-Lake Park spine. (question raised but not addressed- to what extent do the internal and external bus routes act as transit applicable to these equations?)
Make 53rd St. greener, safer, more multi-modal. (Any strategies for Lake Park and its expected increase in signals?)

Apply Complete Streets principles and strategies (see next section).
Persuade CMAP to revise its projections.

Complete Streets for Sustainable Development:
Retrofit, calm intersections and cross walks
Support and make room for alternative modes.
Move away from parking lots in front of retail.
Encourage employees and others coming to the neighborhood to use transit.
Encourage transit oriented, transit-close (1/4 mile) development

Questions and comments. Many focused on getting developers to limit or balance their impacts including shared use parking and not doing things that encourage tenants to turn to street parking while expensive lots/garages go empty. Also discussed was maximizing alternatives so all people's needs are met-- touted was trolley (there will be a survey on use). The Gray/Gold Line idea for Metra utilization upgrade and tying in to CTA was discussed.
Asked was web access to the study (in http.// and one or more forums on best plans-- will follow discussion with city experts and possibly a meeting of advisory board with SECC board. Note that Mr. Considine and Mr. Gill frankly said the study was focused (partly for reasons of funds) and the many more components have to brought into the mix.


July 2013- Will there be adverse or favorable impact (i.e. parkers hoarding spaces so shoppers can't park) of meter-machine-free parking on Sundays and extension of hours from 9 to 10 pm other days? Too soon to tell, businessmen think. Ald Burns says he will be watching and introduce an ordinance to have certain zones put back on Sunday parking if need be- with revs. going to the city.

In April, 2013 Ald. Burns appointed a diverse committee of persons of wide-ranging interests and experience to oversee study of parking, transportation, and mobility on the 53rd St. corridor Woodlawn to S. Hyde Park Blvd. and Lake Park 51st to 55th, and intersecting streets a block in each direction. A subcommittee has prepared a problem paper and an RFP for a study, which would focus on the corridors but also do a basic study of these issues throughout the neighborhood.

Permitting. August 10, 2010 Residents of East Hyde Park particularly: There was a meeting on the question of permit parking, called by Ald. Hairston. At Catholic Theological Union, 5414 S. Cornell. Petitions are circulating but as of the 3rd week of October only one building (1700 E. 56th) had reached the 65% signed favorable threshold, and no block (which is required)-- although 1700 could be counted a block. The issue came up again in 2014 forward. Petitions were signed, especially by the 5400 block of South Shore. the petitions were stale and may be restarted. Efforts were being made to have Shoreland residents sign on - or not- and adjacent buildings re-sign- or not, especially after 55th St. 1750 block was ruled ineligible because of businesses on it- but that could be changed (most in the large building on he south side of the street opposed because they could no longer use the block to the north if permits were given to that block. A major problem is more units with registered cars than spaces available for permits. Stay tuned.

U of C will seek an amendment in Dec. 2012 to its PD43 for construction of an 1800 space garage (added to the current main 1400) at Cottage Grove and 57th. It will have an enormous loading dock underneath, tunnels to the new hospital across the street and hence through the whole medical and new science complex, and a pedestrian bridge to the new hospital. The first floor will be available for future medical uses. Spaces will be two feet wider than normal and spaces will be arranged for patient and visitor convenience. Principal entry and exit will be on Cottage Grove. It will be disguised and will have good lighting and landscape. Remaining houses in the vicinity (except 4 the UC doesn't own) will be torn down to provide staging, then green space until new structures are needed. they will consider having the structure open to the general public evenings and weekends. Ald. Hairston will introduce and support the legislation.

A few spots of 15-minute loading were added across from the Hyde Park Bank because of Harper Court work. Ald. Burns was responsible. There is still much concern about loss of parking and access effect on local businesses. Some continue to push for solutions. A few spots opened on the east side of Old Lake Park were lost to former Borders reconstruction.

In June 2012 Alderman Hairston opened up to a process of petitioning for (or against) permit parking in east Hyde Park. Voting would be by block, and many expressed belief it would not work even for late night only because there are fewer spaces than vehicles owned by residents. There was also doubt that it would affect disorderly crowds or crime in the area on weekends. The alderman will call a public meeting with the city clerk.
The rules and procedures and hurdles are high, according to a neighbors meeting held in mid August at Chic. Theol. Union. Not all matters are clear yet, but neighbor groups in the proposed zone are encouraged to seek with buildings and homeowners petition signatures- can be pro or con. If a percentage of residents holding stickers in the zone sign, an ordinance will be introduced, then the city will conduct a traffic and parking study. If it is favorable (and the ald. can proceed even if it is not) the ald. says she will require a vote of residents in the zone, 75% required.
Proposed are South Shore addresses 53rd-56th, 56th east of 1700, 55th parts (under study), and prob. parts of Everett 55th to 56th
. It would apply May 1-Oct. 1 all days c. 11 am-5 am. It seems any resident can sign a petition.

Having closed the UC main quad to automobiles and turned the Midway crossings into mode-separated light bridges, the next step by the university is to turn 58th St. from University to Woodlawn Ave. into a pedestrian mall-like extension of the main quad. Parking loss (29 spaces) and how to accommodate bikes and whether there should be full privatization of another street (and part of an alley) are some of the questions of residents at community meeting March 28, 2012. It's part of a 101 million dolar renovation of the former CTS. The UC promises a full traffic and parking analysis of the campus et al.

Lakefront charge for parking.
Re the lot in 5500 South Shore: Ald. Hairston bought and is distributing to neighbors 1st come 1st serve 100 stickers for free parking 7 pm-9 am in the lot. The PD has submitted a plan for lot rehab and signage. There are 100 spaces in the lot. Also, the Ald. has set aside 100 spaces daytime in the 63rd St. beach lot.

Here is Ald. Hairston's email after the April 15 Lakefront Parking meeting: (Note- no one came from CPD to the April 27 5th Ward meeting.)

"Hello Friends,

On April 15, I met with representatives from the parking meter company and the Chicago Park District to discuss impending charges for parking along the lakefront. We made some progress on this important issue, as I believe residents should not be charged for parking when they want to enjoy activities by Lake Michigan. However, if charges are inevitable, I advocated for a number of improvements to parking facilities to make the situation more equitable.

Requested Improvements:
Expanded lighting along the lakefront
Pothole repairs
Repainting parking spaces

The company has agreed to consider making improvements, and will not require residents to pay parking fees along the lakefront until an agreement for improvements has been reached. I remain committed to this issue, and will keep you updated on the situation.


Leslie A. Hairston"

Lakefront parking meters have unnerved the neighborhood. Re April 15 2010 meeting: The overflow that could not get in the room was even more testy than those inside. Many reasons were set forth indicating why this is a bad idea for our parks and for high-density lakefront areas, especially impacting service workers for buildings and families who want to visit the lakefront, and special facilities that have large events. And people were not buying that paying to visit the lakefront is proper or that there are not other ways to meet shortfalls.

Feelings boil over over Lakefront parking machines, charges. Ald. Hairston convenes meeting April 15.

Regular parkers, park volunteers and event goers and presenters are upset; park councils and stewards worry about grass as parkers seek to evade paying. Alderman says promises broken and plans not conveyed. The "no exceptions" policy has caused inconveniences to say the least for park volunteers, birders etc. The two meetings were April 14 Park District Board and April 15 Ward-convened meeting 6:30 at Montgomery Place.

Herald, April 14, 2010.

Ald. Leslie hairston (5th) is declaring war on the Chicago Park District over parking meters being installed in the park's lots along the lakefront despite vocal protest of Hyde Parkers and others. "It's, 'citizens be damned -- we're going to do what we want when we want,'" Hairston said.

Hairston said letters and phone calls are coming in from all over the ward from residents who are shocked and confused about parking meters popping up in park district facilities along the lakefront. "Our residents have not had the opportunity ... to [know] even what the exact fees [are]," Hairston said.

The park district, however, says none of this is news. "The Chicago Park District announced the implementation of a pay-and-display parking system on Chicago's lakefront parkland in November of 2008, as part of the 2009 budget announcement," spokesperson Jessica Maxey-Faulkner wrote in an e-mail to the Herald. "Since the original announcement in November 2008, the plan was widely publicized and received a great deal of press coverage. The Chicago Park District advertised a competitive bid process in search of managers of the pay-and-display parking system."

hairston said she is looking into reigning in the park district and their ability to charge residents for parking. Hairston said she is researching a way "we can take away some of the park district's ability to act unilaterally." Hairston says installing the meters "discourages people from using the parks."

Hyde Parker Richard Merton's letter to Hairston reflects the attitude of many Hyde Parkers about the meters. In his letter, Merton focuses on the parking lot abutting the entranceway to Promontory Point on 55th Street. "...I see no necessity to begin charging for parking in the 55th Street lot," the letter in part reads. "Doing so will only cause inconvenience and expense for people least able to afford it. I urge you to stand up for local residents and stop this."

Maxey-Faulkner sid the scope of the installation would include 4,000 parking spaces along the lakefront -- virtually every park district lakefront parking space. The revenue, Maxey-Faulkner said, wil be use to "support Chicago Park District parks." [At the meeting one question will be how much will do so and how much remains after the upfront funds were used to plug last year's deficit.]

[Picture caption:] "That's going to get out all the fun," says fisherman paul Allen as he watches employees of Horizon Contractors install pads and electrical wiring for new parking pay boxes in the Jackson Park parking lot on the south side of the Museum of Science and Industry lagoon on a recent Friday morning.

Herald says meters must go

The Chicago Park District, to the surprise and alarm of many Hyde Parkers, is in th process of installing parking meters in their lakefront lots. Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) is rightly expressing dismay at this additional fee levied on park goers. We agree with her concern and urge the park district to reconsider this move.

Chicago's parks are a central part of the city's appeal and are unparalleled in their beauty and sweep. we are lucky enough to be surrounded by what is perhaps the centerpiece of this beautiful network: the elegant Jackson Park runs along our lakefront, just south of the majestic Promontory Point; the Midway Plaisance connects those landscapes to the sweeping Washington Park. All of these parks have fine pedigrees, having been designed by some of the world's finest landscape architects. They were designed as a symbol of the city's commitment to providing quality of life to all Chicagoans; no matter how dreary the work a resident performs to put a roof over his or her family and food on their table, everyone can visit the parks and recreate with their loved ones.

For years, the park district has been chipping away at that legacy, adding fees for programs and cutting away services at some park facilities, but it has always been possible to go to the parks and make your own fun for free.

No longer. Perhaps it is the security of a park district salary and position that has blinded officials to the consequences of their actions, but it is certainly the case that, for some families, having to pay to visit a park might cause them to think twice or rule out entirely the possibility fo a family excursion.

We urge the park district to revisit this decision, and we urge Hyde Parkers to let their voices be heard on this subject. Representatives will be in the neighborhood tomorrow.. Hyde Parkers can also drop in on today's Park District Board Meeting...


Herald April 21 on the April 15 meeting- Lakefront meters roil Hyde Parkers

Caption- Ald. Leslie hairston (5th) speaks to a packed crowd in the Montgomery Place meeting room last Thursday evening as representatives from the Chicago Park District and Standard Parking wait to answer questions from the audience about the newly instituted parking fees in Burnham and Jackson Park parking lots.

Hyde Parkers will just have to get used to the new meters in the Chicago Park District's, or CPD, lakefront parking lots according to a CPD official. The bad news came during a much-delayed meeting of CPD with Hyde Park residents called by Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) and held at Montgomery Place, 5550 S. Shore Drive. Hairston called the meeting, in part to make clear that city officials -- and herself in particular -- had no part in putting in the meters. "The park district is a separate taxing body. It is not the city of Chicago ... we were only notified after the decision had been made," Hairston said. [This was denied by officials present.]

The members of the standing-room-only crowd packed into the stuffy Montgomery Place meeting rom were no pleased to hear the news that the meters were non-negotiable. Park District officials emphasized that the decision affected all of their lakefront lots. "In no way is teh 5th Ward being targeted for pay and display [meters]," said Tim King, director of CPD department of Legislative adn Community affairs. The ward's 800 spots are a fraction of the 4,000 that wil be metered by COD, King said.

Hyde Parkers peppered King with questions and complaints about the meters during the meeting. Perhaps the most impassioned critique was by Elliott El Amin, who invoked architect and urban planner Daniel Burnham's vision for the lakefront. "You have failed the citizens of Chicago .. what Burnham had in mind ... was to create, free, open access for the people," El Amin said. "There are not too many places in the world you can go that have waterfront for miles like Chicago ... now you've taken the lake from teh people of th city, that free and open access to it."

King [after saying that "free" only meant unobstructed] said the meters will help the park district fill a budget gap in their $380 million budget. That gap is estimated at $24 million for next year, according to public statements by CPD officials. The meters are projected to pull in $700,000 this year and $2 million a year thereafter.

The lot just south of Promontory Point will be divided into 40 metered spaces adn 100 spaces available for monthly leasing. Teh leased spaces will cost $125 a month [plus $4 processing fee]. The metered spaces wil cost $1 an hour from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and 25 cents an hour thereafter.

News that the lot would be open 24 hours alarmed residents, who said that the current 11 p.m. close time for the lot was already drawing loiterers. King called the round-th-clock parking "an amenity" that would allow nearby residents to park overnight.

While, as of Herald press time, the meters were to be activated Monday, April 19, hairston urged King to secure a delay while the lots were still in need of repairs, lighting an parking striping.

April 21 Herald editorial: Playing politics with the parks

Representatives of the Chicago Park District visited the neighborhood last week, and, in a stunning display of disingenuousness, altogether refused to address Hyde Parkers' incisive complaints about their plans to charge for parking at lakefront parking lots. Claiming an estimated annual income of $2 million would close gaps in its $380 million budget, the argument, essentially, was "Times are tough."

"Times are tough for me, too," remarked one Hyde Parker, earning murmurs of approval throughout the stuffy Montgomery Place meeting room which had to be arranged at the last minute when the park district finally acquiesced to Ald. Leslie Hairston's (5th) months-long insistence that residents needed to hear about these plans in advance. In fact, the meeting just barely counts as in advance, as, by the publication of this issue, the charges were set to already begin.

The errors of the ways of teh park district in this case are many. We will concentrate on the major ones. Why in the world weren't the communities along the lakefront where these parking meters are to be installed given an opportunity for meaningful input? We are unable to come up with an instance where it proved wise of the park district -- or any government body in the city -- to hide plans from the public. If you go community to community with your plans, if you take in the criticism, if you give people a way to meaningfully contribute to the process, it is extremely difficult for residents to accuse you of working in bad faith. And as the sort of imperious imposition of policy we see here takes place, bad faith is exactly what is earned.

Secondly: Please, please, please do not walk into a roomful of Hyde Parkers and tell them $2 million is going to close the shortfall of a $380 million budget, currently estimated at $24 million. One might almost be better off saying, "It's too complicated for you to understand."

You're taking the money now because you can take the money now. In better economic times, the callousness of this move would make the political radar of elected officials go haywire. Spare us the political posturing.

Why is that? What's the big deal about charging a little -- $1 an hour, in this case -- to people who want to visit city's lakefront parks? It is a sad reflection on the current political climate in this city that we have to explain this to our park district. Chicago's lakefront is a legacy that is a cornerstone of the dreams of the most visionary founders of the city. It is our greatest physical expression of a desire that all Chicagoans have a minimal level of decent living. Everyone owns the lakefront -- this was the driving force behind the creation of our beautiful. lakefront park system. No one, regardless of how meager their resources, is to be denied the restorative, inspirational beauty of the Chicago park system, and that is nowhere more true than in the lakefront parks.

The representatives of the Chicago Park District who visited Hyde Park last week heard that explained over and again. Never was it acknowledged. Whatever the administrative staff of the park district thinks they are doing, there can be little doubt that what they are not doing is being good stewards of this critical resource.

Alan Mora Dobry wrote the Herald, Lakefront meters are Daley's doing.

Thursday, April 15, representative of teh Chicago Park District appeared at a public meeting, called by Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th), at Montgomery Place, 56th Street and South Shore Drive, to reveal the details of the district's new plan for paid parking along the lakefront. Four thousand parking spaces, previously free, are now converted to pay parking, 800 of them in the 5th Ward. If someone wishes to drive to the lake and swim, they will have to pay $1 an hour for the privilege. The facility at 55th Street adn Lake Shore Drive, for example, will have 40 such hourly parking spaces plus 100 monthly parking spaces, costing $129 a month. These parking places will operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The park district expects that this pay parking will contribute significantly to the district's annual budget of $380 million.

These facilities will not be operated by the park district but by a private contractor, Standard Parking. If the parking spaces were to be operated by the park district, the arrangement would be subject to the Shakman decrees, preventing the application of political clout to governmental operations. However, since they will be operated by a private contractor, the contractor and its employees can be required to do political work to secure and keep their jobs.

The decision to convert lakefront parking space from free to paid was made by the Chicago Park District Board of Directors. All of them are appointed and reappointed by Mayor Daley, effectively serving at his pleasure. Therefore, Mayor Daley, in addition to entering into a contract to lease out parking spaces on city streets to a private contractor (also free from the requirements of the Shakman decrees) is responsible for the decision that the park district parking will now be charged for.





Antheus will make a 79-space temporary lot for its tenants at 53rd-Cornell. Neighbors want a permanent parking garage.

both construction period and permanent parking for Harper Court, with some additional for the retail corridor, are being refined by Vermilion/Harper Court Partners.

Most metered areas have or are in transition to "Pay and Display" machines, including parks and streets along the lakefront (a different company). At the end of 2009, the Chicago Parking Meters LLC officials said they have met with groups all over the city and made changes, including longer-stay options (in some cases discounted daylongs and leases in lots), ability to use up the rest of your prepay on another machine, and automatic ticket dismissal for broken machines. But is flexibility be sufficient, are the main problems solved, including freeze ups, broken's, and unwillingness of people to hike and fumble to pay in the wind, rain and cold?

FEELINGS ARE RUNNING HIGH OVER THE CITY PARKING METER DEAL ALSO. At the May 2010 TIF meeting, it was proposed to seek $20,000 from LAZ parking to pay for snow removal around the machines.

2009 city budget: Parking up .75 to $3 at garages and lots that charge $12 or more. Pkg. tickets- boot after 2 unpaid tickets year+ due. Residential guest parking permits up from $10 to $16 for 30, but no longer have to pay $1 for online.
Metropolitan Planning Council suggests part of the money from sale of the city's meters be used to fund transit alternatives to circling the soon-to-be-more-expensive meters, such as CTA bus rapid transit.

Transportation Enhancement districts (TED's- see that page) appear to be dead as of October 2007 as the city plans (reaffirmed in late 2008) to increase parking prices with no revising locally and to sell/lease the meters--and nothing for communities. Stay tuned. The rates are definitely going up! Note, people still find pay and display machines confusing and avoid or evade them.

Did you know- you can park at Borders lot and get your ticket validated at businesses for reduced or free parking. Tell businesses you want their participation.

You can rent an overnight space at various venues, including Murray Language Academy and Catholic Theological Union.

See Shoreland page on how parking concerns held up development there .

Meetings, dates

Next TIF Parking and Access Committee meeting date will be announced. The committee's mission has been expanded to accessibility in general.

See Committee makes major recommendations. See more on the committee and its work. Visit Parking District Recommendation page.

Irene Sherr reported at the March 13 2006 TIF Adv. Council mtg. for TIF Parking Committee chair Jo Reizner that the city would be replacing meters in the Lake Park city lot 44 with 3 pay-and-display meters in early April. The meters will take cards, etc. as well as cash and provide more flexibility for both parkers and lot use. The Committee continues to work on recommendations concerning such options as a parking improvement district for 53rd Street, a parking/shopping survey, and an educational program re: what's available.

Three Pay and Display boxes (paid for by the City) replaced the meters in the City Lot at Lake Park. But since the machines were not promptly activated and there was little community notice or signage in the lot, there was reportedly chaos in the lot. We hope the problem will be resolved by early next week. The heart of the problem now is that there are far too few machines.

Pay and Display could help a structural problem on 53rd street, where double-meters here have spaces 27 paces long vs in Lakeview 21.

August 5, 2007 Cadman Leggett writes on the Washington Park festivals:

I am a Hyde Park resident who lives in Ingleside and 55th st. I am writing
concerning resident street parking and Washington Park festivals this
summer. I am concerned regarding the vast number of cars from festivals
attendees that take up resident parking space in all of the surrounding area
of 55th st. Is there something being done to provide parking for the
festivals so that resident street parking is not compromised? Why isn't the
University of Chicago police more involved in maintaining resident parking
specifically for residents? Thank you for your time.

See about the Drexel 61st garage and office complex planning in the South Campus page. More spaces are being added and the professional office section eliminated. UC Police will still be there.

Fran Vandervoort decried car-rebuilding and reselling businesses parking cars all over the neighborhood, taking up scarce spaces. Joseph Jankovic pleaded for Alderman Hairston to do as much for the traffic and parking mess on South Shore Drive as about failed preparations for th Dan Ryan work.

Hyde Parkers are highly alarmed nearly always when something could even remotely remove any number of parking spaces. At meetings over Harper Court, when announcement was made that the city lot was being bundled in to the request for proposals, an inevitable letter appeared in the Herald bemoaning loss of parking and telling the powers to be "get real." This writer personally inquired of Alderman Preckwinkle concerning maintaining at least the number of public spaces now in the city lot (a position assumed also by all members of the TIF Parking Committee). The Alderman completely agreed. Indeed, one supposes both the reason the Ald. proposed bundling --need for at least some more spaces-- as well as needs of whatever stays or goes into Harper Court dictates a garage. See more following.

However, there remains a problem--if the lot goes, there must be replacement parking ready at once. We can't have two years without the current spaces.

Ald. Preckwinkle decries, votes against sale of meters, steep increases steamrollering in December 2008.

Ald. Preckwinkle in December 10 Herald. Steamrolling meter deal weaken [City Council] legislature

Last week the Chicago City Council voted to sell the city's parking meters to Morgan Stanley for 75 years. The $1,156 billion deal carried by 40 to 5. Alds Leslie hairston (5th), Billy Ocasio (26th), Scott Waguespack (32nd), and Rey Colon (35th) joined me in dissenting.

We were informed on Monday that there would be aldermanic briefings Tuesday, a Committee on Finance hearing on Wednesday, and a special City Council meeting on Thursday to take up this matter.

Over the last several year, the city has sold its assets one by one. The city-owned parking garages, the Skyway, Midway Airport and now the meters have gone on the auction block. In every instance, the administration made the case that expedition was imperative. The Skyway deal for $1.82 billion was introduced to council Sept. 29, 2004, and voted on Oct. 27, only seven days after going to the Committee on Finance. We were asked to approve the Skyway deal in less than a week because we were told that interest rates might rise and reduce the potential value of the deal.

Midway Airport's $2.52 billion deal also had a quick, turnaround. It was introduced to council Sept. 10, 2008, went before the Finance and Aviation committees on Oct. 6 and passed only two days later on Oct. 8. The administration's argument was twofold: One, the federal window of opportunity to sell the airport was closing and two, bureaucrats in the Federal Aviation Administration with whom we had worked were about to transition out of office.

In a time of deflation and falling interest rates, we were told by the city's chief financial officer that if we didn't pass the parking meter deal immediately, we were in danger of having interest rates rise and the value of the deal decline. I embarrassed both of us by saying that I didn't believe him.

Even if the specific rationale for speedy consideration of each of these asset sales was plausible, the cumulative effect is that legislative review has been virtually non-existent. In each case, the public hearings in the Committee on Finance consisted only of testimony from the executive branch proponents of these sales. There was neither the time nor the opportunity to solicit advice or opinions from outside experts. It is possible that each of these deals was good for the city, but I would suggest that it was virtually impossible to determine this on the basis of the council's cursory examination.

Democracies function well when each branch carries its own weight in the passage of legislation. The executive branch proposes and the legislative branch disposes. Disposition involved careful review, analysis and reflection. In none of these billion-dollar deals did that careful review take place . This reflects badly on both branches of government.

Herald, Dec. 10, 2008. By Sam Cholke

The Chicago City Council on Dec. 3 approve the lease of the city's parking meters for a reported $1.15 million. Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th) and Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) joined three colleagues as the only no votes on the measure called before special session of the legislative body.

Preckwinkle voted against the concession of the meters in part to decry the brief 72-hour time frame aldermen had to review the deal. "We can't really meet our obligations as a legislative body," she said.

Hairston also voice strong opposition to the limited time to review the lease and worried the city was entering dangerous territory contracting with a company, Chicago Parking Meters LLC, that it did not have time to fully vet. Chicago Parking Meters is owned by two units of Morgan Stanley that have not registered with the secretary of state, which Hairston pointed out could nullify the contract.

Jim McDonald, assistant corporation counsel in the Law Department's financial division, while testifying at a Committee on Finance hearing Dec. 2, said the lack of registration would only limit the companies' options to press suites against the city and would not affect the legality of the contract. At the hearing, Paul Volpe, the mayor's chief financial officer, said aldermen would remain in control of installation, removal and pricing of meters in their wards. The deal requires the city to raise rates on meters over five years. Aldermen would be able to fix or reduce meter rates in their ward as long as revenue was made up somewhere else in the city, according to Volpe.

Proceeds from the deal will be partially used as a "rainy day" fund for yearly budgets, Volpe said. The 2009 budget includes $150 million from the deal, he said. "You expected it to happen because you included it in the budget," Preckwinkle told Volpe at the hearings, pushing back against pressure from the Mayor's office to approve the lease.

Parking meter rates in Hyde Park will go up to $1 an hour -- perhaps as early as January -- and increase by increments of a 25 cents each year until rates are $2 an hour in 2013. The contract stipulates that parking meter rates increase at the rate of inflation after 2013.

About $100 million will be set aside for a human infrastructure fund that provides money for heating assistance, after-school programs, job training, affordable housing loans and other services. The fund was initially set up with $104 million from the lease of the Chicago Skyway toll road, and would be largely empty in 2009 without the injection of cash from the parking meter concession deal, according to Volpe.

No jobs would be lost in the transfer of collections to Chicago Parking Meters, Volpe said. the company will be authorized to write tickets only for meter offense using city-drafted procedures, but the city will remain the major enforcement entity and unilaterally set fees for offenses. Meter rates could go up as soon as January, but likely would not change until later in the year, according to Volpe.

Ald. Hairston struck a deal for 100 free spaces at the 63rd St. beach

June 24, 2009. Hyde Park Herald. By Kate Hawley

[Unclear is the connection of the CPD to the deal that privatized city parking meters. Involved here also is the issue of free public access to public open space. ]

Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) is touting a deal she arranged to provide 100 free parking spaces at 63rd Street Beach this summer, but she is providing few details about how she is planning to pay for her largess.

The Chicago Park District announced last month that it will start charging $1 per hour at 4,400 spots along the lakefront, and that rates at 537 metered spots will double or quadruple. Pay-and-display boxes -- which allow customer to pay by credit card -- are scheduled for installation at 63rd Street Beach on July 1. Under a deal Hairston cut with the Park District, 100 of the spaces wil be free from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day from July 1 through Sept. 7. The free spots will be masked by signage, and a "special device" will prohibit accidental meter payment, according to a press release from Hairston's office.

"At 63rd Street Beach, you have beautiful landscaping, the renovated historic beach house, pavilion and sprinkler foundations for children," the release quotes Hairston as saying. "There aren't many places left where individuals , families and friends can afford such amenities in a lakefront setting."

She plans to pay the Park District for its lost parking revenue out of her aldermanic menu, a $1.32-milion fund given to each alderman for infrastructure improvements throughout their wards - projects such as road resurfacing or street lights. But she declined to provide any further information about how much of her aldermanic menu she wil spend on the free parking. The Herald did some rudimentary calculations and estimated that it would drain the fund of about $77,000. A spokeswoman for the alderman declined to confirm the figure. Instead, she issued a statement from Hairston about the free parking saying, "This one less thing people have to be concerned about during these hard economic times."

The city's Office of Budget and Management, which oversees aldermanic menu funds, [said the planning is in early stages and Ald. Hairston declined to disclose terms.]

The Park District is charging for lakefront parking in order to raise revenue-- a projected $700,000 in the first year, according to a Chicago Tribune report. It's a move likely to irritate local residents already angry about steep parking rate increases at city meters following a recent privatization deal (an arrangement not connected to teh Park District or its parking plans.) Hairston has been a vocal opponent of the privatization deal, which has been the subject of much criticism, including a scathing report from the city's inspector general alleging that the city could have gotten hundreds of millions more. ...Hairston was one of just five aldermen [with Dowell and Preckwinkle] to vote against.




There is a petition drive for permit parking on South Shore Drive especially south of 55th Street. The principles are important, such as equal access to parking. And the problems there are enormous and range from high rises to Bar Louis (maybe), to folks who come to the Point--and often return after the park is closed again and again as soon as overtaxed police leave. One drawback is that some streets qualify by zoning while others have too much density for the law to permit permit parking. Another is that to have a spot on that street, your address must be on that street. The Alderman's office believes the obstacles are too great, but factors that contribute to the problems (including the safety and noise issues) can be addressed now. One suggestion for South Shore Dr. area is to lock the lot at night and give keys to building doormen. Could this cause liability and lawsuits? I would exclude lots of people including residents of nearby streets. Likewise having restrictive sections or no parking stretches in front of high rises. Using pay and display machines could help-- if there is good police enforcement. Visit South-East Hyde Park page, where you will see that the approaches sought are more flexible and ingenious, per letter to Herald and Alderman Hairston.

Residents near Barack Obama's house are coping, sort of, with heavy security and restricted traffic and parking.

Even walking is restricted to the south side of E. Hyde Park Blvd. and the opposite side of the street on Greenwood and involves no stopping or picture-taking. Six or more security vehicles are present at any given time. There are concrete barriers on both sides of Greenwood Ave. north of E. Hyde Park Blvd. Even on E. Hyde Park parking nearby is not allowed-- and there is a major synagogue, KAM, on the corner. On Greenwood, only residents and registered guests can drive there. Campus buses cannot drop off passengers within a block. KAM congregants and guests must have their names on a registry and are asked to call 24 hours in advance.

Ray School parent describes frustrations, similar to at all schools-- or are there special-treatment exceptions?

Hyde Park Herald, October 29, 2008. By Daschell M. Phillips

Lisa Dorsey, Ray School parent, said she and other parents are tired of dodging parking tickets when dropping their children off at school. "I have a kindergartner and I have to take him inside to the classroom," said Dorsey. "I can't just open the car door and tell him to go in."

Dorsey said that because of the parking difficulties in Hyde Park, her family usually rides their bikes to Ray School, 5631 S. Kimbark Ave., but last Tuesday she was running late so she drove. When she left th school building and returned to her car she saw a police officer giving another parent a ticket so she quickly ran to her car and parked it down the street before walking back to question the officer. "When I spoke to the police officer he got very nasty with me," said Dorsey. "He was very unreasonable."

Dorsey said that the action of the police officer wouldn't upset her so much if parents at the private University of Chicago Laboratory Schools received the same treatment. "I have to pass the Lab School on my way to and from Ray and people ar parked in the middle of the street, on the sidewalk and on the grass, and the police officers are helping them get in the building," Dorsey said.

Kay Kirkpatrick, assistant to the director at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, which offers Pre-K through high school, said they have a system in place to alleviate traffic congestion during school drop off hours. "We have a staggered start time. The high school students start at 8 a.m. and the younger students start at 8:30 a.m.," said Kirkpatrick.

She said the school, which offers its Pre-K though eighth grade at Blaine Hall, 1362 E. 59th St., has parents form a car line in front of the building and teachers who are waiting at the doors of the school usher students in. She also said that the officials who keep traffic moving are firemen who choose to work part-time at the school once or twice a week. Although the Lab School has an organized drop off system, it hasn't kept them from getting a few complaints from their neighbors but Kirkpatrick said some conflicts are just inevitable. "We ask parents to make sure people can drive around them but we are not always able to make sure everything goes smoothly," said Kirkpatrick.

Bernadette Butler, principal of Ray School, said parents can't blame the school if they get a ticket for parking illegally. "There has always been 'no parking' in front of public schools," said Butler. "If they want to walk their children to class it's best for them to park near 55th Street and walk down to the school." Butler said the school is beginning to call the police more often when cars are parked in front of the school for too long because it causes traffic congestion. "Many times we have had to call the police to say busses can't drop off kids or busses can't get off the block because people are double-parked," said Butler.

She said that the management company at a neighboring building on 56th Street also wrote her a complaint letter asking her to tell parents not to block their parking lot. Butler said there was once a group of parents that volunteered to direct traffic during school drop off and pick up times but that has "slowed down." Although the volunteers are no longer there, Butler wants parents to remember that the law has not changed and parents should find a legal parking spot if they want to bring their children inside the school.



The Parking Committee of the 53rd St. TIF Advisory Council presented major recommendations at the July 10 2006 Advisory Council meeting.

These are up in their own page. Basically, the Committee explained what the perceived problems are and how they can be managed, including with a parking improvement district (probably coterminous with the TIF) similar to a Special Assessment District, such districts' management and advantages, and discussions with the city on establishment of the same, and use of shared lots and pay and display machines to handle the occasional over demand and monthly parkers. The committee believes current shortage can be handled through management and arrangement for special parking needs with off-street lots (in discussions) and providing more informational resources to the community and businesses on what is available. When it becomes clear that new development is going to happen that may not be able to handle all parking and access needs internally, a study parking study or survey may be sought. That would be in conjunction with the global objective of developing a parking, mobility and access plan for the business district.

What the committee was doing, summer 2006



What neighbors said about HPK transportation, parking at a HPKCC public discussion on HPK October 2005

Changes wanted
· Table 2 Para transit land coordinated transportation
· Table 4 Improve poor management of public spaces, e.g., no bike riding on sidewalks…
· Table 5 Better transportation at night

· Transportation within HP
· Parking issues, street cleaning
· Parking difficulties
· Need cab service
· Parking
· What happened to taxi cab service?
· More parking
· Double-parking should be immediately punished by (towing, fines)
· 52-54 Lake Park Parking Lot (what about it?)


Parking: a long-term headache issue in Hyde Park

Why it matters and what's gone wrong; finding how to get back on track

"Parking is one of the most important tools at the disposal of planners. Parking Supply and management is critical to achieving goals in a diverse array of fields--producing affordable housing, relieving traffic congestion, promoting neighborhood retail, and maintaining the integrity of the urban fabric. Poor parking management can destroy the urban qualities that cities depend on for their success. Parking matters!" --Jeffrey Tumlin and Adam Millard-Ball.

Defining the issue is the first step, then determining real needs/gathering right information, then developing a parking management strategy.

The TIF Parking Committee is developing a draft guideline and program to do just that for the 53rd business sector, recommendation likely to include a Parking Improvement District, if a good study can be had and so recommends. Modern analysis and experience, including but not limited to that of Don Shoup, is being utilized and the Committee is working with the city, Metropolitan Planning Council, and more. (Unknown is whether inclusion of the City Lot in the Harper Court RFP alters the parking equation.)

This page has many recent thoughts on the reality and myths of the parking question and what solutions are out there.

A modern analytics is that parking problems are at least in part a problem of inefficient management and design, failure to maximize and properly price the existing and potential assets, and failure to include access/mobility/quality/and alternatives to parking in development of an overall parking strategy.

Read on...

Long term overview

One of the visions for the retail district was to create a long-term parking strategy. As of yet, there has been no solution. "We are still working on it," [SECC Executive Director Robert] Mason said. "It's not going to happen in the next year. It's a 23 [year] TIF but that doesn't mean that we want to wait 13 years."

Our neighborhood was largely built up before the automobile, and certainly before the two, three, four? -car-family. The streets are narrow. There are not enough off-street spaces public or dedicated (and most Hyde Parkers are loathe to pay for them!). When many of the older, high-end residences were built, the wealthy were driven in carriages or limos, often driven in from elsewhere. The high availability of public transportation and walkability, and preference of many locals for these options (about 20% of families do not own cars), does little to alleviate the demand for space for cars even though the population now is much smaller than before urban renewal 50 years ago although edging up again. (Actually, small lots were cleared and set aside for parking under urban renewal, but Hyde Parkers don't want to pay for parking-even in the Triangle-, so most of these lots were redeveloped, to later regret.) Developers and land users (and their paying customers) are naturally loathe to take up precious land for parking, although most now bow to the realities of public and aldermanic wishes--witness Catholic Theological Union and the redeveloper of the Shoreland. The University has been steadily expanding its parking while promoting non-auto options over the past several years. The 53rd TIF council and others seek to finance a much-needed garage at 53rd and Lake Park and couple it with transit-linked development, maximize efficient use of existing public, private and dedicated lots, and pursue novel solutions.

In some sectors such as the triangle north of 51st and east of the tracks, committees have thrown up their hands in despair. Some residents, especially by train stations where commuters tie up spots all day and near the University where the same happens, seek permit parking, resisted by aldermen as simply beggaring other residents and limiting options for visitors. A 2000 Department of Planning neighborhood study, Vision for Hyde Park Shopping, looked at many parking options, but few have been followed up on, although there is hope that a garage in the heart of the shopping district can be financed.

Articles in this page try to de-mythologize some of the problems, complexities and possible solutions or alleviations.

Gary Ossewaarde


Transit Task Force Chairman's essay from the Autumn 2004 Reporter: Does Hyde Park have a parking problem? (or is it a "car" problem?) By James Withrow

Parking isn't really a problem in Hyde Park, but the Conference's Transit Task Force is working to solve this problem anyway.

Parking in Hyde Park has never been a problem for me personally. Of course, it helps that I don't have a car. And that's why I say that our TTF is working to solve the "parking problem". I realize that the resident circling the block looking for a space feels that there are too few spaces, but we could also say the real problem is that there are too many cars. Many households need a car or two for very good reasons, but for some a car or a second car is optional. Improving public transportation would lead to
lower rates of car ownership, thus freeing up parking spaces.

The best idea for improving transit in Southeast Chicago is the Gray Line plan promoted by Mike Payne or the less ambitious proposal I prefer, called the SECRET plan, S.E.C.R.E.T. standing for South East Chicago Rail Enhancement Team. These plans would take existing Metra service-the same
tracks, the same trains-and improve it so that Hyde Park would have the equivalent of el service. This would only entail two improvements, ten-minute service during the day and 25 cent transfers to and from CTA vehicles.

El-type rail service would gradually entice more of your neighbors to give up a car. While a monthly CTA pass costs under $1,000 per year, the typical car has a total cost of ownership between $3,000 and $6,000 per year. We shouldn't expect a rush of car-selling to occur if the Gray Line or the
SECRET plan goes into effect, but it's likely that when people need to replace or repair their cars, some of them will reconsider. And that happens often when people move to northside areas near els-- a car needs expensive repairs and instead it's sold and not replaced.

An even larger reduction in the number of cars, though, could be expected as people move in and out of Hyde Park. The typical U.S. neighborhood loses about half its residents every decade. A neighborhood with good mass transit will attract new residents who don't have cars. And we can see lower rates of automobile ownership along el lines throughout Chicago.

The most environmentally responsible mode of transportation is electric trains and this is a key selling point for the Metra improvement plans. Unfortunately, people assume these improvements will cost a lot of money. I really doubt that. Since we're talking about using the same tracks and a very modest increase of Metra electric trains, the capital costs are insignificant compared to the benefits.

And I'm not so sure that the operating costs are much to worry about, either. On a per rider basis, trains can be more efficient because an operator can move more passengers per labor hour compared to buses. No one has yet done an adequate study of the issue, but I think it's likely that this will only cost more because there will be a lot more transit riders.

When the Orange Line opened, a CTA study estimated that public transit use went up by 25% in the affected neighborhoods, so we could be looking at a way to significantly reduce the number of cars in Hyde Park.

But we might as well admit that the CTA is unlikely even to fund a small study at this point and there will be an ongoing financial crisis at the agency for as far as the eye can see unless we find a way to increase revenues. Last year, the riders did their part, absorbing a sizeable fare increase. But yearly fare increases would be a tremendous burden on the working poor and seniors living on fixed incomes. Besides, a fare increase of 10% tends to lead to ridership losses of around 2%. We need to increase
subsidies to our public transit system just like most sunbelt cities have.

On October 13th, our Transit Task Force held the fourth in a series of workshops designed to improve transit in Hyde Park. This event revolved around the CTA's financial issues. We came up with a list of reasons to subsidize public transit and I'm using that list as the backbone of this article. The reasons are the group's (except for the last one); the accompanying claims are mine and I can provide evidence for these assertions. Just request an electronic version with the hyperlinks by e-mailing me at


Air Quality. While the science of air quality is less than optimal, our best estimates are that air pollution claims at least 50,000 lives per year nationally and that auto emissions account for over half of the air pollution in our cities. A person commuting by rail causes only one fourth the smog-causing nitrous oxide of a solo car commuter. A commuter on a bus (and the study used 10 as the number of riders apt to be on a bus) causes only two-thirds of this pollutant. Comparisons for other pollutants make car travel look even worse, although a packed car or a hybrid might be better in some cases.

During the Atlanta Summer Olympics in 1996, the city closed its downtown area to car traffic, added buses and trains, and promoted carpooling and telecommuting. During this period, Atlanta's inner-city children on Medicaid showed a 42% decrease in asthma-related emergency room visits. Chicago has more cases of asthma per capita than anywhere else in the country, possibly because of the Lake Breeze Effect, which sweeps the air pollution caused by five million morning commuters out over the Lake where it heats in the sun, allegedly creating even more toxic combinations, only to get swept back into the city at night.

Road Accidents. In 2000, over 41,000 Americans died in motor vehicle fatalities, outnumbering those who died from breast cancer, suicide, firearms, leukemia, AIDS, poisoning or drugs. Motor vehicle injuries lead all causes of deaths among persons aged 1-24. Per passenger mile, riding a bus is 17 times safer than riding in a car and riding the el is probably safer than staying home.

Road Congestion. Cities like Dallas, Houston and Los Angeles are spending a lot of money to make transit a better option because citizens of these automobile cities have come to realize that total reliance on cars for transportation means gridlock. Mostly due to the explosion in light rail construction elsewhere, U.S. passenger miles on public transportation have grown faster than those in private vehicles since 1995.

Land Use and Property Values. Transit-oriented neighborhoods like Hyde Park are more pedestrian friendly because less real estate needs to be devoted to parking and roads. (No mode of transportation is better for air quality, crime reduction, and personal health than walking.) A study done in the Chicago area found that the property values of residences within 500 feet of a rail station were 25% higher than for similar properties without a rail station. The success of Wicker Park or neighborhoods along the Brown and Red Lines points to a growing acceptance of public transit by young people who consider it part of the urban experience.

Business. The Loop simply wouldn't be what it is without transit, but then public transportation promotes a good business climate in much of the region. It expands the pool of potential workers for employers and expands job opportunities for those who need them the most. Transit makes shopping,
entertainment, cultural and sporting events more accessible, too.

Foreign Policy. If Americans used public transportation at the rate Canadians do, we would reduce our oil dependence by an amount equal to half a year's oil imports from Saudi Arabia. Our balance of trade would be greatly improved and our troop presence in the Middle East would probably be

Social Welfare. Transit disproportionately serves those who need our help the most-the elderly, the disabled, the impoverished, and students. Our non-profit institutions like clinics, schools, community centers, museums, and churches need to be accessible.

Parity. Our federal government rightly subsidizes airport and highway construction, so equal subsidizing of public transportation would only be fair. Instead, transit gets a tiny fraction of federal transportation money and then mostly for capital improvement projects. There are practically no
subsidies for CTA operating expenses, but plenty of federal mandates, including paratransit, which is expected to cost the CTA $50 million per year very soon. Until the federal government does the right thing and funds paratransit, the state should do so, instead of making riders shoulder this burden alone. But our city government provides what may well be the largest single subsidy for the automobile, which brings us back to where I started.

Parking Subsidies. We should face the fact that residents believe the government owes them a free parking spot, preferably right in front of their homes. There's probably no way in this political environment to change that expectation-a sad fact for our aldermen, I'm afraid, who have to deal with
parking controversies ad nauseam. But we should admit that the city is squandering opportunity costs by providing free parking in neighborhoods. That is, the city would be within its rights to lease parking spaces on its streets to the highest bidder. That it chooses to give away these spaces, first come first serve, has resulted in a classic example of a "tragedy of the commons" where the best strategy for private interests conflicts with the public good. Hence, more cars in Hyde Park than the neighborhood was built for.

And the city's answer to this tragedy of the commons is to build more spaces. Millennium Park, for instance, is arguably the world's most expensive roof for a parking garage. The underground parking won't pay for itself, as originally suggested, but instead requires a $50 million diversion of money from a TIF fund for the Loop. While the extra parking is needed to attract suburban shoppers, that's still a major subsidy from the city on behalf of automobiles.

In our own neighborhood, TIF money will someday probably be used to build a parking garage near 53rd Street at an estimated cost of $10 million for 450 spaces. I'm in favor of that. Our local businesses need to be able to attract shoppers from a wide area and a stronger retail sector is good for Hyde Park, giving us more goods and services within walking distance-an extremely valuable component of our quality of life here. But that garage's price tag comes out to about $22,000 per parking space.

The city's parking subsidies don't stop there. Unfortunately, it's embedded in our zoning regulations, too. Practically all cities require most retail developments to provide parking for their customers, an expense that gets passed along to drivers and transit riders alike. When zoning requires residential developments to provide parking, what effect do you think that has on affordable housing? Parking space regulations aren't free.

I wish I could tell you that the City of Chicago is equally as generous when subsidizing public transportation. As you may know, the CTA receives about half its operating revenue from the fare box. Most of the rest comes from sales tax revenue. In the city, 1% of your retail purchase goes to
subsidizing the CTA and, except for a paltry $3 million per year, that's the extent of the city's monetary contribution. Those in suburban Cook County pay the same 1% (which gets split between the CTA, Metra, and Pace) and the collar counties pay .25% (which is split between Metra and Pace). The State
of Illinois then provides a one-quarter match of the region's transit-devoted sales tax revenue and the RTA divides that between the CTA and Pace.

The CTA is asking to change the funding formula and the agency's data can be found online. I found it convincing on three points. Someone besides the CTA, temporarily the state perhaps, should pay for paratransit, which is an unfunded federal mandate expected to cost $50 million per year very soon.
The collar counties are being subsidized by suburban Cook County and their sales tax devoted to transit should be raised to .50%. And it's probably right that the CTA should get a slightly larger proportion of the sales tax collected in suburban Cook County because the CTA provides over half the
rides there. Because our neighborhood is served by both the CTA and Metra, I'm a little wary of any solution that leaves either agency in a worse financial position, so we should take care on that last item.

What's missing in the CTA's analysis is any comparison with how other U.S. cities fund public transportation and I think there's a reason for that. I tend to believe that the head of the CTA is running a reasonably efficient transit system and that he wants transit to succeed in Chicago-but not if it means stepping on the Mayor's toes.

To be fair, the city has spent money on some CTA capital projects. In fact, the city, thanks in large part to the help from the federal government, built and owns the Orange Line. And it's true that the city does pay for the CTA's security force, although most cities do the same. But other operating
expenses are paid for through the sales tax and the state match. I'm not sure how we can justify asking suburban Cook County residents to contribute the same sales tax rate to transit that we contribute when we get far better service in the city.

I urge everyone who cares about public transportation to talk to our elected officials at all levels about the importance of transit to our neighborhoods and our region. [edited out but the crux of Withrow's argument: The solution to the CTA's structural financial imbalance should involve every level of government and be broadly shared. ]

Transit riders are doing their part to improve air quality and property values, while reducing automobile fatalities and road congestion. Our foreign policy, business environment, and social welfare depend on parity of subsidy for public transportation. With improved funding and service, maybe we can even solve Hyde Park's "parking problem."

Irene Sherr, community consultant, says Less is more

In fact, I GO Carshare is catching on Hyde Park and throughout the city. And did you know that just 40% in code 60615, 48% in 60637 DO NOT have access to a car? In each case they are about half relatively affluent and dense Hyde Park-Kenwood and the rest impoverished but refilling, even gentrifying neighborhoods north, south, and west.

Hyde Park Herald, October 26, 2005

Planners joke among themselves that every community meeting boils down to one issue: PARKING. No matter the development, parking is the reoccurring and universal theme at community meetings and that more parking is always better.

But a new book, "The High Cost of Free Parking," by UCLA economics professor Donald Shoup, argues less parking is actually better for a community. This slap in the face of conventional wisdom has sparked new discussion about the propriety of so much free parking. It even challenged the notion that parking is actually free.

Shoup argues that the cost of free parking is hidden in the higher prices of everything else. He says "free parking" distorts transportation choices, produces bad urban images, interrupts the natural vitality that comes from parking once and walking from place to place, wastes valuable land and hurts the environment. He predicts that in 20 years current parking policies will be considered as much a failure as high-rise public housing and urban renewal are viewed now.

Community leadership, in a desire to respond to the perceived lack of parking, has required developers of new residential construction in Chicago to build more than the required ratio of one parking space per unit. Further under the assumption that people will not buy a parking space to accompany their new unit, developers have been required to bundle the cost of parking into into home prices. Simultaneously, the need for more affordable housing increases and communities urge developers to incorporate affordable housing into projects. Many planners and residents praise these strategies as sound and progressive planning practices.

Further, the issue of density is often linked to these discussions. Residents will say that they do not want more density (but will want better retail options) because it will add congestion.

Dense residential neighborhoods tend to have lower rates of automobile ownership. Manhattan in New York City represents the epitome of this relationship. In Chicago, neighborhoods like Hyde Park, Andersonville and Lakeview have better access to public transportation and offer more destinations to walk to. There are more people to support businesses and the streets are safer.

The 2000 census indicates that well over 30 percent and in some cases close to 50 percent of households in these and other dense neighborhoods do not have access to a private vehicle.

What great city or neighborhood is known for its abundant parking supply? although these locations have many amenities and attractions, ample parking is not one of them, yet these areas thrive.

So, the next time you are debating the merits of a new development, remember the "High Cost of Free Parking."


The Mythology of Parking

By Jeffery Tumlin and Adam Millard-Gall of Nelson Nygaard. From Line Magazine. Sent to the TIF Advisory Council and Committee members.

Parking is the poor relation of architecture and design. Unglamorous and often downright ugly, it tends to be treated as a necessary evil if the parking system works well, nobody notices. If it doesn't, it can work against a city's best efforts to improve urban design, manage traffic, and achieve a wide array of other goals.

Parking can determine the success for both a particular development and an entire urban neighborhood around it. Parking requirements imposed by local jurisdictions, when coupled with height, bulk and floor area restrictions, often dictate the type of building that is possible on a constrained site. The amount of parking and the way it is designed and managed control the traffic, congestion, and quality of the pedestrian environment in a neighborhood. Meanwhile, the cost of parking--often $50,000 per space and up--can determine the project's financial feasibility, and the scope to include additional neighborhood amenities.

At the same time, planners, designers and architects often fail to understand how parking works and how to use it to achieve their goals. Often, they fall prey to myths that are well established, not only among the public at large but also among specialist transportation planners schooled in conventional traffic engineering. This article seeks to clarify some of the most common misconceptions, presenting ten widely circulated parking myths.

Myth 1: Successful cities have abundant parking.

Compared to cities, the suburbs will always have more free, front-door parking than any urban neighborhood can match--and the roadway infrastructure to go with it. No great city is known for its cheap abundant parking. Monthly parking costs in San Diego and Seattle are more than three times those in Phoenix and Reno. Santa Monica and Palo Alto have just 2.4 spaces per 1,000 square feet of commercial space in their downtowns--less than two-thirds of the ratio in a typical suburban center.

Places such as Santa Monica compete on the basis of qualities such as historic architecture, transit access, and the sheer vitality of their urban life--qualities that large supplies of parking tend to dampen. Cheap, abundant parking is often the sign of a downtown's failure--after all, half of downtown Buffalo is given over to parking.

Myth 2: It's difficult to find parking in the neighborhood. We need to build more.

Motorists aren't interested in how many parking space a neighborhood has. what matters is how easily they can find one. Maintaining availability is therefore a key goal, but building more spaces is only one way to achieve it--and usually an expensive one.

Most of the time, it will be far cheaper to free up spaces by using demand management strategies. Charging for parking or increasing the rate will encourage some motorists to carpool, take transit, walk, or bike. Car-sharing programs allow people to sell their cars--studies show that each City CarShare vehicle takes seven private cars off the streets, at a fraction of the cost of building new garages.

It's also important to combat perceptions of parking shortages. Often, people complain of parking problems when actual counts show that only 60 to 75 percent of spaces are occupied. The key is to use pricing and time limits to free up the most visible spaces--particularly the "front door" spots at the curb and in entrances to garages. Advanced information systems such as those in San Francisco's Financial District can offer motorists real-time information about where spaces are available.

Myth 3: Free parking--the 28th Amendment

Parking is often provided free of charge to motorists. Every space, however, entails significant costs for developers, owners, tenants, and/or taxpayers. So while parking fees are often subsumed ("bundled") into rents, lease fees, or sale prices, the costs are borne by everyone, including those who choose to walk, bike or take transit.

These costs are substantial. For residential developments in San Francisco, parking accounts for about 20 percent of the total project cost. A typical parking space occupies 375 square feet, including space for aisles--about $43,000 assuming a land value of $5 million per acre. Parking garage use less land per space, but construction costs are typically at least $40,00 per space in the Bay Area. (San Jose recently built a new downtown garage on an existing surface lot at a cost of $77,000 per net space.) Add in maintenance, cleaning, lighting, security, interest, and financing costs, and the total cost amounts to an amortized $4,000 per space per year.

Myth 4: All motorists are created equal.

In many cases--particularly neighborhood commercial centers--providing convenient, visible, front door parking is critical for economic success. In some cases, cheap or free parking is desirable to compete with other commercial centers nearby.

This doesn't mean, however, t hat employees and park-and-ride commuters also need this benefit. Rather than treating all parkers equally, it is essential to segment them into different groups of users an prioritize them accordingly. Typically, customers and shoppers are th highest priority, since they generate the greatest benefits (sales tax dollars) with the highest turnover and the lowest costs (fewer peak period auto trips.) Other visitors, residents, employees, and park-and-ride commuters follow in importance.

Public garages in San Francisco provide and excellent example of how this prioritization can be easily implemented in practice. Prices are set to favor short-term visitors who stay just a couple of hours. Parking at the Fifth an Mission garage for an hour will set a shopper back $2, but an eight-hour stay for a commuter costs $18. Garages in some suburban downtowns provide the first hour free, with hourly fees rising for additional hours.

Other techniques include time limits (one- and two-hour maximums), validation stickers given by merchants to their customers, and permits issued to particular groups, such as residents. These strategies prioritize those who bring in sales tax dollars to a neighborhood, while helping manage traffic congestion by discouraging all-day employee parking. They also steer employees to public transit--since commuters make the same trip every day, they can research different transit options, and they are also unlikely to choose a different job based on the availability and cost of parking alone.

Myth 5: Even in the Bay Area, people don't like to walk. Parking needs to be right outside the front door.

Front-door parking is important for many users, particularly shoppers or people with disabilities. However, there is no reason why most motorists cannot park a block or two away from their destination, much as they might prefer the most convenient spaces.

The key is to manage the most convenient spaces by reserving them to either the desired users (e.g. with time limits), or those willing to pay a premium. Just as people pay more for the theater seats with the best view, the most desirable spaces should attract a premium.

Myth 6: Having fewer parking spaces means that people will just drive around looking for a space.

Often, congestion caused by motorists looking for a parking space is an important concern. However, this often reflects poor management, rather than the number of spaces available. Even if plentiful space is available in off-street garages--as in San Francisco's Mission District--motorists will often prefer to circle looking for a free on-street space.

In this situation, building more parking will obviously do nothing to alleviate the problem. The solution is a rational pricing policy that charges more for the most desirable, most scarce parking spaces. Real-time information that directs motorists to facilities with available space is also an effective way to reduce traffic.

Myth 7. Parking ratios can be easily looked up in a manual.

Traditionally, parking requirements are set by local jurisdictions using two convenient reference sources: parking generation rates published by the Institute of Transportation Engineers and other jurisdictions' parking standards compiled b the Planning Advisory Service. The average national minimum requirement for offices is four spaces per 1,000 square feet; for commercial, four or five spaces per 1,00 square feet is a typical ratio.

These ratios, however, are based on demand at single-use suburban sites, where ample free parking exists and few or no alternatives to driving are provided. The highest peak demand observed is ten often used to set the minimum requirement. While this approach prevents spillover parking in all but extreme cases, it will often mean that a large supply sits vacant almost every day of the year. Conventional parking standards are simply not appropriate in urban communities.

More importantly, the amount of parking needed is primarily a value judge ment, rather than a technical exercise. Developers and local elected officials must ask, at what point do the benefits of ample parking outweigh the negative consequences? Is there enough roadway capacity to serve an increase in parking? does additional parking or greater investment in transit fit better with the values of the community?

Myth 8: All households, even low-income ones, need parking.

Nearly 30 percent of San Francisco households--and 38 percent of renters--do not own a vehicle. In some census tracts, such as Chinatown, this proportion rises to 90 percent. Low-income households also tend to own far fewer vehicles. Rather than assume that every household will have a car--and therefore need to pay for a parking space--planners and developers should be sensitive to these variations.

There is no shortage of demand for housing without parking or with less than one space per unit. This means that we can be aggressive in seeking to capitalize on our investments in transit. Concentrating housing with less parking around Muni and BART stations and along frequent bus routes brings a double benefit--it maximizes the amount of housing while minimizing the traffic that the development generates.

Myth 9: Fewer parking spaces would be fine, if only we had decent transit.

Better transit is sorely needed everywhere in the Us, not least in the San Francisco Bay Area. But event current Muni and BART service is enough to persuade many households not to own a car. Along with density, household size, and income, transit access is one of the four most important determinants of how many vehicles a household owns.

Take the Market/Octavia neighborhood, for example, where census data show that t here a re just 0.46 to 0.70 vehicles per household. Parts of the South Mission and Bayview, with similar incomes but far poorer transit service, have more than double the number of cars per household, form 1.06 to 1.28.

What's more, the density and pedestrian-friendliness of an area, as well as management strategies such as charging for parking, are just as important in determining how much parking is needed. Parking management is equally applicable in the suburbs, as places such as Walnut Creek and Palo Alto have demonstrated. Demand has been reduced by up to 28 percent in other parts of California, such as the Los Angeles region, where employers have charged for parking.

Myth 10: Parking isn't just unglamorous, its unimportant

Parking is one of the most important tools at the disposal of planners. Parking Supply and management is critical to achieving goals in a diverse array of fields--producing affordable housing, relieving traffic congestion, promoting neighborhood retail, and maintaining the integrity of the urban fabric. Poor parking management can destroy the urban qualities that cities such as San Francisco depend on for their success. Parking matters!


EPA publishes report on sensible parking/smart growth solutions- summary

Parking Spaces / Community Places:
Finding the Balance Through Smart Growth Solutions

What does parking have to do with the environment? Research and reports from EPA and others show that the way we develop our communities has a major impact on the quality of the natural environment. Regions with walkable, mixed use, compact neighborhoods, towns, and cities, knit together by a robust network of transportation choices, protect human health and the natural environment. Parking policies and requirements can have a strong influence on both the built and natural environment in a community. A better understanding of the influence of parking policies is an important step toward smarter growth.

The approaches described in this report can help communities explore new, flexible parking policies that can encourage growth and balance parking needs with their other goals. The EPA developed this guide for local government officials, planners, and developers in order to:

- demonstrate the significance of parking decisions in development patterns;

- illustrate the environmental, financial, and social impact of parking policies;

- describe strategies for balancing parking with other community goals; and

- provide case studies of places that are successfully using these strategies.

The report begins with a discussion of the demand for parking and a review of the costs of parking. The following sections detail innovative techniques and case studies explain how they have been used to solve parking problems in specific places.

Many communities are evaluating parking issues as part of a broader process of reevaluating their overall goals for growth. Typical parking regulations and codes require a set amount of parking for a given square footage or number of units. It is common for such regulations to assume all trips will be by private automobile, ignoring the neighborhood's particular mix of uses, access to transit and walking, and context within the region. Such inflexible parking requirements can force businesses to provide unneeded parking that wastes space and money and harms the environment.

The case study in this report of the SAFECO Corporation illustrates the potential to use parking policies to save money, improve the environment, and meet broader community goals. SAFECO offers employees a choice between transit, vanpool, and parking benefits. As a result, each year SAFECO’s 1700 employees drive about 1.2 million miles less than average commuters in the Seattle region, saving 28 tons of carbon monoxide, a serious pollutant tracked by the EPA. SAFECO also reduced the amount of ground that needed to be paved by 100,000 square feet, leading to less runoff in this rainy area. The company saves an estimated $230,000 per year, after accounting for the costs of incentives and the savings from reducing the amount of parking built.


Finding a Place for Parking

"Parking spaces usually diminish public spaces--but it doesn't have to be that way."

From Making Places, June 2005. By Ethan Kent

Despite what you may have heard, nobody goes to a place solely because it has parking. In fact, the current obsession with parking is one of the biggest obstacles to achieving livable cites and towns, because it usually runs counter to what should be our paramount concern: creating places where people enjoy spending time. As long as the myth persists that economic prosperity depends on parking, local governments will continue to waste public money and distort the public planning process. The realization that creating a place where people want to come and spend time is more important than parking unfortunately eludes many municipalities. Worrying about and wasting public money on parking is taking over the public planning process and subsequently parking is taking over our communities. So how can we put parking in its place and draw people back to public spaces?

One big step forward is to assess the supply of parking in relation to what is actually needed . PPS often works with towns that have access parking capacity, where the growing number of surface lots and parking structures has choked out the very reason people drove there in the first place. ...

The hang-up on parking is an indicator that a community has no broader vision for itself.

This state of affairs arises when businesses compete with each other to maximize their own parking spaces--to the detriment of the surrounding community and, inevitably, themselves. ....Get businesses an other parties to cooperate creatively with each other, and you can create the kind of parking infrastructure that supports public spaces. Here are some questions to get businesses and public officials talking about creative new ways to accommodate parking needs with the public's desire for lively public places.

  1. Is it a destination worth creating parking spaces for?
  2. Do the parking spaces really make more people want to go there? [The most popular places like the French Quarter barely have parking at all, it is argued.]
  3. Are parking regulations being obeyed? [Turnover studies may tell the story.]
  4. Are there opportunities to share business parking lots that have demands at different times of day or week? [and is dedicated/destination parking always necessary?]
  5. Where do employees park? If they have the same shifts, can they carpool? [Alternatives are transit, designated off-street spots, employee incentive programs, shorter meter times.]
  6. Is the timing and pricing of meters optimized for each location?
  7. Are there adequate sidewalks and pedestrian amenities connecting off-street parking areas to [the business] streets?
  8. Are there opportunities for angled parking?
  9. Can curb cuts be consolidated and narrowed?
  10. Are there opportunities to share business drop-offs that have demands at different times of day?

[A goal is] enabling people to consolidate their car trips and visit more places from the same parking spot. [This includes creating a more cohesive pedestrian district [to link] destinations to each other, leading to more walking and less demand for parking. [This requires taking] full advantage of the opportunities presented by rethinking parking. These opportunities include:


Some facts about car use, legal regulations for parking provision, et al.

Only .71 spaces per unit are required if within 600 feet of a transit station. Requirements for elsewhere in the new zoning ordinance varies, but is usually 1.0.

The national average for don't have/have access to a car is 15%, but in 60615 it's 40% and in 60637 48%. In Manhattan it's about 80%. Density actually reduces car use, making the latter less necessary.

The only way the city will allow TIF money to be used for a garage is as part of a mixed use development.

11 top reasons for switching to Pay and Display

From Irene Sherr, based on Donald Shoup's book

Ease of payment. – Multi-space meters accept a variety of payment types including coins, bills and credit cards.

Flexible prices. – Multi-space meters have computer capabilities that allow charging different prices by time of day or day of the week.

Better information – P & D meters can show information on a large interactive graphic screen so they can convey complex information to facilitate management.

Better revenue control - Each machine keeps a running tally that is sent wirelessly to a central site.

Better data control. – The machines produce parking data by block, time of day and day of the week. This information is useful to analyze usage patterns and to manage the parking supply.

Proof of payment.

Economy – One P & D machine costs less to purchase and maintain than the 20-30 individual meters it replaces.

Less out of service time – machines can be equipped with cellular communication devices that report any mechanical failure to central location.

Better urban design – P & D machines reduce visual clutter by eliminating fixtures & space delineation. Also, solar powered.

More spaces. – Conventional meters are spaced to accommodate the largest vehicles; they are separated by more than necessary for smaller cars. Conversion to P & D generally allows for a 10-15% increase in the number of cars accommodated along a curb.

Higher revenue per space. – New P & D parkers can not use any unexpired time left by the previous parker.

Source: The High Cost of Free Parking, by Donald Shoup, 2005

See another quick summary below

Everyone pays for free parking

If Donald Shoup had his way, the only "free parking" you could find would be on a Monopoly board.

He says the notion of free -- or cheap -- parking produces a litany of negative effects on communities.

Shoup, a professor of urban planning at the University of California Los Angeles, blames municipalities that provide free -- or cheap -- parking not only for missed revenue opportunities, but for the far-ranging social effects it causes.

Free or cheap parking, he argues, slows down travel, harms the environment, degrades urban design, raises housing costs, impedes the reuse of older buildings and limits home-ownership possibilities.

In his recent book, "The High Cost of Free Parking," Shoup makes three recommendations: Charge market prices for parking, return the meter revenue to the neighborhoods that generate it and eliminate required parking ordinances.

Shoup made a presentation earlier this month at the University Club in Chicago in a program, sponsored by Congress for New Urbanism, Chicago Metropolis 2000, Center for Neighborhood Technology and the Metropolitan Planning Council.

"Parking is only free to us in our role as drivers," Shoup said. "The cost of parking doesn't disappear just because the driver doesn't pay for it.

"We pay for parking in higher costs for meals or movie tickets. It's in almost every transaction we make. Even those without cars have to pay for free parking."

Municipal zoning requirements, such as ones that dictate a new restaurant must have a certain number of parking spots per table, are more destructive than helpful, Shoup said.

Construction costs

They inherently drive construction costs up, he contends. He made an example of a Los Angeles high-rise building -- the first 15 floors of which were a parking ramp.

He said the parking requirement was not necessary, given ample public transportation in the area. For every resident or patron of the building who doesn't need a parking spot, that's wasted money and wasted space.

Shoup also said that parking requirements are normally aimed at the peak occupancy for whatever building they serve, that during off-hours there is a large amount of land that sits empty. At a church lot, for instance, parking must be able to meet the needs of an Easter Sunday service, but for the rest of the year most of the spaces are empty, he said.

Parking requirements also affect architecture trends. Not just in commercial areas, either.

Costs for parking are higher than most people realize, Shoup said.

In 2002, the subsidy for off-street parking was between $127 and $374 billion, which rivals what the United States spent for Medicare ($231 billion) and national defense ($349 billion) that same year.

Parking costs, therefore, equated to between 1.2 and 3.6 percent of the total national income in 2002, Shoup said.

He also said that the cost for parking cars is not associated with the transportation sector, noting that airports pay for airplane storage and train stations are responsible for train storage.

That's why parking should cost money, Shoup said, and that the prices should be dictated by the market -- i.e. the principle of supply and demand.

Shoup recommends aiming for an 85-percent occupancy rate, meaning one or two out of every 10 parking spots should be empty. If more than that are empty, lower the price, he contends. If the lot is full, charge more.

"If anyone sets the price for parking, drivers do," Shoup said. "A parking shortage will never occur because the market prices will prevent it."

An 85-percent occupancy rate also eliminates cruising for parking spots, making travel times shorter while cutting down on environmental waste.

Parking revenue should be put back into the community that it comes from in order to provide enhancement projects, such as keeping the sidewalks clean, erecting lighting and signs, as well as landscaping needs, Shoup said.

The model has been used in the past, he said, citing Old Pasadena, which is Pasadena's downtown district.

The shopping district is filled with Spanish colonial revival and art deco buildings, with a personality of its own, Shoup said.

By the 1970s, it had degenerated into "the city's Skid Row," he said.

Employees and owners were taking up all the free street parking, leaving little room for customers, he said.

Merchants opposed meters because the feared they would drive away customers. The city had no money to pay for public infrastructure in Old Pasadena.

The key solution, Shoup said, was to charge market prices for parking and return the money to the neighborhoods for infrastructure improvements, like keeping the streets clean, well-lighted and landscaped.

The meters now cost $1 an hour, and are operational until midnight -- seven days a week.

The city also built three parking garages, which are free for the first hour and $2 per hour after that.

Sales-tax revenues in the area have skyrocketed in the last 15 years, Shoup said.

The neighborhood capitalized on its architecture and personality, he said.

People in Los Angeles see the area as something different, and Old Pasadena is regarded as "one of Southern California's most popular shopping and entertainment destinations," Shoup said.

"You walk around," he said. "You park once and you pay once."

The model can be used anywhere, but getting people to change their views on parking is like getting smokers to kick the habit.

Shoup made that analogy in a Governing Magazine interview in June.

"Automobile dependency resembles addiction to smoking, and free parking is like free cigarettes... it will take decades for cities to recover from the damage," he said.

One of Shoup's supporters is Peter Skosey, vice president of external relations for the Metropolitan Planning Council.

He thinks Shoup's thoughts on free and cheap parking would be a success in Chicago, but noted that the Chicago City Council recently approved an update of its zoning ordinances.

"I suspect they will be reticent, at best, to take another look at that," Skosey said.

He added that Shoup's recommendations would also work in suburbs, which should update their ordinances every decade anyway.

"Whether it's right or not for every community, they're going to have to make that decision," Skosey said.

He believes that suburbs with commercial areas -- whether they are on the downward slide like Old Pasadena was in the late '70s or thriving -- can benefit.

He also issues the reminder that a thriving business district cannot be built on parking alone.

"The market has to be there to begin with," Skosey said.

At the end of Shoup's presentation, he showed an aerial view of a shopping mall, with a sprawling -- mostly empty -- parking lot.

He said the wasted space created by the empty lines flies in the face of the need to create affordable housing in most areas. That, he argues, is a shame.

"I think too much of America is devoted to land uses like this with so much empty parking," he said. "Land for housing is scarce.

"Free parking has become more important than affordable housing."

The next slide he offered was the same shopping-mall view, but with a block-long row of apartment buildings digitally added, explaining that many of the workers in the mall would now be able to walk to work, support the local economy because of its convenience and help offset the prices inside the mall for everyone else by paying for the otherwise vacant land.

John Huston can be reached at or (708) 524-4414.


In short, Shoup says parking spaces should be treated as a community asset, not a freebie. His message is that parking is a scarce resource that can be mined by local governments to produce revenue for neighborhood improvements. The analysis should apply to both lots and street spaces. In fact, employers who provide fee parking should allow workers to cash out the benefit and use it for transit or biking or just walking (as they do in California). The price of ignoring this is paving over the landscape and higher prices for everything we buy. We also pay in sprawl, too much use of oil, and inability to infill or go higher. "Off-street parking requirement have a far bigger effect on cities than planners have acknowledged."


More explication of Shoup's and related revised thought on parking

Parking Management: Innovative Solutions To Vehicle Parking Problems
United States | Community & Economic Development | Government & Politics | Transportation | Op-Ed

27 March, 2006 - 7:00am

Author: Todd Litman

In this first installment of Planetizen's three part series on parking, Todd Litman, author of Parking Management Best Practices and Executive Director of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, discusses parking management strategies and how they can be used to improve cities.

Donald Shoup's 2005 book, The High Cost of Free Parking, introduced many city planning enthusiasts to the complexities and importance of planning for automobile parking. Although often taken for granted, the details of parking regulations can actually have wide-ranging impacts on city life, from reducing traffic and pollution to increasing local revenues. Todd Litman, author of Parking Management Best Practices and Executive Director of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, discusses parking management strategies and how they can be used to improve cities.

Years ago, singer Joni Mitchell lamented that "They've paved paradise and put up a parking lot." That song resonates because there is so much to dislike about parking facilities. Parking lots are generally considered the least glamorous and most environmentally harmful type of land use.

Yet, the same people who complain about them often travel by automobile and require parking at their destinations. We dislike parking facilities until we need them, at which time we want parking that is abundant, convenient and free. The tension between our dislike for parking facilities and our desire to have them wherever needed creates a conflict for individuals, businesses and communities.

Innovative solutions can help reconcile this conflict. Parking management includes various policies and programs that result in more efficient use of parking resources. It means, for example, that a parking facility serves multiple destinations, that the most convenient spaces are managed to favor priority uses (such as deliveries and quick errands), and that motorists can easily obtain information on parking location and price. This squeezes more value from each parking space and reduces the amount of parking needed to serve an area.

Conventional parking planning tends to focus primarily on quantity. It assumes that, when it comes to parking, more is always better, and there can never be too much. This type of planning relies primarily on generous minimum parking requirements and public subsidies to provide abundant parking supply. Parking management focuses equally on quality, such as the ease of obtaining parking information, the convenience and safety of walking from a parking space to destinations, and the attractiveness and security of parking facilities.

Current parking planning practices are inefficient and often ineffective at solving parking problems. Minimum parking requirements tend to be excessive because they are generally based on demand surveys performed in automobile-dependent locations, and so require more parking than needed in areas with good travel options, accessible land use, or transportation and parking management programs. Yet this overabundance of supply does not eliminate parking problems because spaces are often unavailable for priority uses or are difficult to access. The real problem is not inadequate supply, it is inefficient management.

Overabundant parking supply imposes huge social costs. A typical urban parking space has an annualized value of $600 to $1,200. There are estimated to be about five parking spaces for every automobile on the road, totaling approximately $3,000 in annual value. In other words, for each dollar consumers spend on an automobile, somebody devotes about 50¢ to parking. Because consumers pay for this parking indirectly, they tend to use it inefficiently, resulting in more parking demand, more vehicle ownership and more vehicle mileage than is economically efficient.

Current parking planning practices tend to create a self-fulfilling prophecy of excessive parking supply, underpricing (abundant supply results in most parking being free) and increased automobile-dependency, which further increases parking demand. These practices are also inequitable since they force non-drivers to subsidize parking costs, reduce travel options for non-drivers, and reduce housing affordability. Described more positively, parking management can provide significant economic, social and environmental benefits.

There are better ways to determine how much parking to supply at a particular location. Parking regulations can be more accurate (reflecting geographic and demographic factors -- such as land use mix and residents' income levels -- that affect parking demand) and flexible (allowing requirements to be reduced in exchange for implementation of various management strategies, such as those described below, that encourage more efficient use of supply). This can significantly reduce the number of parking spaces needed to satisfy demand, improve user convenience and reward consumers and businesses that reduce their parking demand.

Parking management is neither mysterious nor particularly difficult. There are more than two dozen strategies to choose from, including those that:

Increase parking facility efficiency by sharing, regulating and pricing; use off-site parking facilities; implement overflow parking plans; improve user information; and improve walking and cycling conditions.
Reduce parking demand by encouraging use of alternative modes of transportation and more accessible land use development.
Improve enforcement and control of parking regulations, and address any spillover problems that occur.
Improve parking facility design and operation, to improve user convenience and safety, and reduce negative impacts.
Many of these strategies are well known, and all have been successfully implemented. However, they are not being implemented to the degree justified by their significant benefits because current planning practices emphasize supply solutions and treat management solutions as a last resort, to be implemented only when it is particularly difficult to expand parking facilities. For example, when evaluating potential solutions to parking problems planners often overlook indirect costs that result from parking facility expansion, such as increased stormwater management costs, increased sprawl, and reduced pedestrian accessibility, and thus underestimate the full benefits of management solutions.

Although individual parking management strategies often have modest impacts, their effects are cumulative. A cost-effective, integrated parking management program can often reduce parking requirements by 20-40%, while improving user convenience and helping to achieve other planning objectives, such as supporting more compact development, encouraging use of alternative modes of transportation, and increasing development affordability.

Todd Litman is author of Parking Management Best Practices, published by the American Planning Association's Planners Press. He is the founder and executive director of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, an independent research organization dedicated to developing innovative solutions to transport problems. For more information, see his free summary report, Parking Management: Strategies, Evaluation and Planning (PDF, 575 KB).

But many think zoned (resident permit) parking has to fit into the mix- they do pay, they say, in higher insurance rates, thefts and burglaries, high price of off street parking.

A writer to Herald asks for zoned parking. Oct 18 2006, by Andrea Jiminez

Tutto e Possible... some say, but I am seriously concerned that this statement is not so in Hyde Park. As we all know Ald. Toni Preckwinkle is adamantly opposed to zoning our our residential streets. But as more and more visitors come to this neighborhood, it is virtually impossible to find a parking spot.

I am also not so sure that I feel 100 percent comfortable with our alderwoman's unshakable position on this issue. So let's review some of the potential issues that have ensued as a direct result with the current state of the limited parking for residents (owned or rental) living in the area:

* Increased parking tickets (the incidence of booting vehicles seems to have increased significantly).

* Smashed windows, stolen cars, and more. we have parked our car so far away from where we live, it was apparently notice by someone who took advantage of the fact that our alarm would not be heard four blocks west and two blocks north, and as a result our insurance has increased two-fold because this is the second car robbery.

* Revenue for the owners of local parking lots. I was quoted $145 a month for a local parking lot fee. It's astronomical, but it's a safer space for my car.

* Taxation of the middle class. We can't afford to buy a place with a garage or parking space. But at the same time, we are caught digging into our pockets to pay parking tickets, increased insurance bills, and to repair broken windows.

It is not fair for the alderman to stand so solidly on this issue. Ald. Preckwinkle, we want zoned parking in Hyde Park from 6 p.m. until 6 a.m. every day of the week.


And another, Sharonjoy A. Jackson of Lake Shore Task Force, re: area near Montgomery Place, in May 9 2007 Herald.

Where is our parking?

Two of our members, one living in the Parkshore and the other on Everett, are having a problem which really affects East Hyde Park--particularly those who live closer to the lake and parks located near the lake.

When the weather starts to turn warm it is nearly impossible for Hyde park residents to find parking --taking as long as two hours to find a parking space whether it be morning, noon or night. Though I do have off-street parking, I have to sympathize with those who do not.

Our elected officials, to whom permit parking has been suggested over a considerable period of time, refuse to offer permit parking in order to, seemingly, favor those who visit our beaches, lake and nearby parks and who are non-community residents. *

Some of these visitors not only use up the majority of parking spaces, but they often leave trash, which includes, but is not limited to, food, bones, bags full of garbage, bottles of various types of alcohol, juice or soda, broken glass, hot coals, grates from grills, clothing, empty marijuana bags, and dirty diapers all over our parks, beaches, sidewalks, gutters, streets, parking lots, yards and underpasses. Residents are left to gather up the trash for disposal on Monday mornings.

With so many voting residents expressing their desire and need for permit parking, it remains unbelievable this has not been put into effect long before yet another disruptive summer is upon us.

In fact, it has been suggested that the park district parking lot (across from the Flamingo) could be designated for non-community residents who wish to visit the beaches, lake and park the opportunity to park near their homes. The North Side, and other part of the city, have been granted permit parking and restricted access to various beaches and parks while East Hyde Park remains a wide-open territory for everyone's use, regardless of how this "tradition" inconveniences and disrupts the immediate community. And, let us not even go into the onslaught July 3rd brings.


[*Both aldermen have given as their reason that it beggars neighbors, displacing the problem endlessly further and further away while spots sit empty during the times the permit holders do not have their vehicles parked in their spaces. Those who favor permit parking can, of course seek to make a case that the effect is to favor out of area parkers and that this overtakes benefit to whomever or all from having permit parking--then discussion can ensue, although it might again come down to who should be at the head of the line (including in this case who has dibs on the lakefront, if anyone) and who is more to blame for trash, noise etc. The lot at South Shore Drive as well as the spaces at the end-bulb-out at 55th have long been a bone of contention as it is. Ed. GMO]



UC tackles parking problem anew, adding transit and other options

Joseph Samuelson advises UC to catch up to rest of country on parking fees. Herald, May 7 2008.

As I approached my car at 7:45 a.m. on Tuesday, another motorist immediately showed up waiting to take my spot. Out of curiosity, I wondered, who are all these people that park on my street every day? They were certainly not residents as the street is always empty overnight. I approached her and she told me she works at the university and cannot afford to park in the parking lot, so she spends 30 minutes driving around every morning to find street parking.

It then dawned on me that the solution to the Hyde Park parking problem might be for the university to make it more affordable for their students and employees to actually park in the parking lots. The University of Chicago charges $85 or $65 per month to park in their lots, depending on which lot you use. There is also no discount for buying a yearly permit and students and employees all pay the same rate. Compare t his with $46 per month at Northwestern, $31 at Brown or [$60?] at Princeton. Even Yale charges less for students and gives tem a discount for a yearly pass which makes it less than U. of C.'s $85 per month lot. Furthermore, Yale scales down their fees dramatically for employees on lower salaries and gives further discounts for employees that carpool. The only university that I found to be consistently higher than the University of Chicago is Harvard, which should come as no surprise to anyone.

If Alderman Hairston and the community would like to see better parking in the neighborhood, perhaps they should pressure the university to learn from our fiends in Evanston or practically every university across the country and lower their pairing rates for their employees and students.

Top [Note below that the University does provided carpool and transit user subsidies (including for occasional drivers) and has many bus routes. They say parking is priced in part to discourage regulars driving to the University. And to be tested is whether decreasing rates will increase usage (maybe already maximized) of garages and lots vs parking out in the neighborhood. ]

In May 2006 University Transportation and Parking Office Director Brian Shaw discussed with a culminating town hall meeting the new strategy that includes: Moving to a uniform parking pricing that is higher than transit options. Holding off on more garages and other parking after the announced round--goal is less to add more parking than to prevent loss or more load due to new buildings. Place the bus routes under his office rather than Halls and Commons, with some restructuring possible (See UC Routes and Parking Woes and opportunities pages.). A whole suite of options to bringing one's car on campus. Following is the report from the June 8 Chronicle.

This spring, after considerable outreach to administrators, employees, students and area residents, the newly renamed University Transportation and Parking Office now is ready to act on its multi pronged strategy for meeting the needs of the next generation.

And a host of demographic factors have converged to ensure that the timing of the effort comes not a moment too soon. "We are simply running out of room," explained Brian Shaw, Director of Campus Transportation and Parking, noting that the Hyde Park population has continued to grow, while the University continues new facilities construction.

"As a result, we anticipate a continued loss of parking. So, we're looking at a variety of initiatives now to change local parking behavior and to make it easier to use different forms of transportation," he added. Shaw presented the parking and transportation plan at a recent town hall meeting. His May talk was part of a series of meetings Shaw has led since March. Since then, he also has made presentations to deans, student government representatives and resident focus groups. "We took this show all over campus," he said.

The goal is to make people aware of the physical changes to come, to hear their concerns and suggestions, and to cultivate "buy-in" to the five-year plan that will alter campus life through 2011, he said. Specifically, the University is moving ahead with plans to build a new, multilevel parking garage at the corner of Woodlawn and 61st Street, slated to break ground next year.

While Shaw said it is too early to predict how much the parking garage project will cost, he noted that is should be comparable in "size and massing" to the $20-million, five-story, 1,050-space garage that opened in 2001 at Ellis Avenue and 55th Street. "At the end of the day, there won't be much change in the number of spaces overall," he conceded, adding that a key aim is to keep the University from actually losing parking capacity while the rest of the campus expands.

Meanwhile, to lower the demand for parking, Shaw's office also will implement a variety of initiatives to encourage greater use of alternative transportation. These initiatives include a guaranteed ride home program, occasional use parking, car sharing and carpool parking. Shaw's Group will also be partnering with PACE to develop vanpool's.

"Our parking is vastly undervalued," noted Shaw. "So we will be gradually raising the parking rates over the next three years, so we can pay the taxes that need to be paid. The goal is to make alternative transportation cheaper than parking."

Another aim is to equalize parking rates-- at that higher rate--all across campus. Similarly, the Transportation and Parking Office is taking over coordination of all the campus bus routes, including those operated by both the Chicago Transit Authority and the University.

"Residential housing and commons will no longer be overseeing these contracted bus services," said Shaw. "We're taking a much more hands-on approach now toward our bus system." That hands-on approach extends to all of the University's transportation and parking needs.


After trying for years to hold the line against encouragement of ever more cars in the campus sector (banning cars by freshmen, for example), the University opened a large garage at 55th and Ellis in 1999 and parking in the new Business School at 58th in 2004. This, and added parking by the Hospitals, did little to alleviate pressures, and the University will, according to Provost Richard P. Smaller, be adding two garages south of the Midway (and likely raising Stagg Field for another 600 spaces as well as a new garage north of 57th for the Clinical Pavilion as well as to replace the DCAM Garage) while seeking other options--although growth could, according to University projections, still leave a deficit of as many as 1,500 spaces, one reason for the other options.

Some of the latter build on the highly successful University partnership with CTA on bus routes, local and to downtown- with a new route being added to Union and NWn stations Feb. 2006- , shuttling to remote lots shared with other institutions, The Transit Benefit Program (setting aside up to $100 a month pre-tax) and incentives for biking and walking including the backup of a "guaranteed-ride-home" according Elaine Lock wood-Bean, Assoc. VP of Facilities Services. New Transportation Manager Brian Shaw also talks of a new carpool and eventual vanpool programs.

Provost Sealers heads a Transportation (nee Parking) Committee that is evaluating options to fix this mess--far too few spaces if nothing other than more parking spaces off narrow streets is provided (and parking spilling into neighbors' space), yet UC has more spaces than peer institutions and utilizes 20 percent less space per capita than peer institutions. Cost of a garage is c$22,000 a space and debt service is $2,000 a year of amortized in perpetuity while only a few hundred a year can practically be charged of patrons, and garages are free after 4 and on weekends. The University is expected to work toward more routes in the neighborhood to downtown, hire a transportation czar, and:)


U of C and parking.

U. of C. traffic guru tackles local parking shortage

Hyde Park Herald, September 21, 2005. By Jeremy Adragna

One of the biggest issues the University of Chicago is facing, as it expands its campus redevelopment Master Plan and as its student population continues to grow, is how to stem a parking shortage in the neighborhood.

Often it is said that when a neighborhood has more cars coming to the area than parking spaces in which to put them [this] is a measure of economic success. But for U. of C. and Hyde Park, a neighborhood and university so finely intertwined, the result has been a lot of headaches when trying to share limited street parking between 14,000 students and faculty and 45,000 residents.

So on July 6, the university hired a new employee whose aim is to change the focus of those who travel to U. of C. for work or school away from driving their cars alone to enticing them to carpool and take public transit.

Brian Shaw, 34, is the university's new director of Campus Transportation and Parking. He said he's pushing for premium parking spots at a lower cost in the university's parking garages to be set aside for car-poolers. First, he said, he will need to convince people why they should not drive alone, what he called the single most expensive and environmentally unfriendly way to travel.

"To use public transportation people are making a conscious decision to inconvenience themselves," said Shaw. "We have to help them, financially, to make that decision." Shaw wants to take the profits from the university's numerous parking garages to create financial incentives for people to stray from driving to campus.

Shaw said he also wants to simplify the four university-subsidized bus routes--170, 171, 172 and 173--so riders can more easily access the right bus at the right time. "You have to know the time of day, time of year, what status you are and what the schedule is," Shaw said. "That's too much to expect of people. I'm hoping to simplify it. Each has different criteria for free or not, which needs to be drastically changed."

One thing that will not change under Shaw's watch is the community's access to parking in garages after-hours. Currently, after 4 p.m. most university parking garages are open for any member of the neighborhood to use.

Shaw spent the past five years doing essentially the same work at Emory University in Atlanta where he says he spent all of his time creating incentives for students and faculty tousle public transportation rather than driving their cars to campus. He grew up in Los Angeles where he eventually graduated from UCLA and later moved on to earn his Master's Degree in city planning from the University of Pennsylvania.

In Atlanta, Shaw spent four years working for the Atlanta Regional Commission, and intergovernmental group that plans large-scale development projects an transportation in 10 counties surrounding the city.

He lives in Hyde Park with his family and takes the bus to work.



From the University of Chicago Chronicle summary, January 6, 2005: Saller addresses campus parking crunch, suggests solutions

By Josh Schonwald

New parking lots, incentives for people who car-pool and bike to work, and the hiring of a "parking czar" were among the strategies discussed by Richard Saller, Provost of the University, at a November, 2004 town hal meeting in the Biological Sciences Learning Center.

As part of a broad conversation about the University's 2004 Master Plan Extension, Saller fielded numerous questions from a standing-room-only crowd about how to increase the availability of parking in Hyde Park.

Based on the findings of a University task force on parking, which Donald Reaves, Vice President for Administration and Chief Financial Officer, headed up last summer, Saller said the most pressing need is to expand parking for the staff and patients of the University Hospitals.

A new parking lot is being planned for construction at the intersection of 61st Street and Drexel Avenue. The University also is planning to add additional parking spaces in a mixed-use retail/parking development at the intersection of 61st Street and Woodlawn Avenue.

Anticipating growth in staff employment, the University must think creatively about new locations for parking structures, Saller said. For instance, one novel idea, proposed by a University-hired architectural consultant but not yet approved by the University Board of Trustees, was to build a parking structure below Stagg Field. The field would be raised a half story to accommodate an underground parking structure.

While parking problems exist across the campus, Saller said the first new parking facility to be built on campus would address the needs of the hospital and biomedical research staff which is expected to have the greatest growth.

However, the expansion of parking facilities is costly. Each parking space costs $25,000 to create, and maintenance together with debt service costs $2,000 each year. Moreover, the addition of parking spaces, Saller said, will not solely cure the campus parking crunch.

Another key part of the parking strategy will be to encourage staff, students and faculty to consider other transportation options. The Parking Task Force, commissioned last summer, found more than 3,000 people who park on or around campus are residents of the communities that surround Hyde Park and Kenwood. "Many people who live one mile from campus ar driving to work," said Saller, who admitted he, too has driven to campus.

The University is planning to add a "parking czar" position--a person who will not only focus on parking logistics, but also will think broadly about transportation alternatives. To further help alleviate parking problems, Saller expects the University begin to offer incentives for employees who car-pool, walk or bike to work.

The University also will explore the possibility of offering other transportation services, such as a shuttle bus to Union Station to encourage employees to use public transportation.


Parking woes escalate over 47th st. corner, Washington Park festivals

Hyde Park Herald, December 22, 2004. By Mike Stevens

Construction crews just began pouring the foundation last week for one of two new cultural centers setting up shop at the corner of 47th Street and Greenwood Avenue but some nearby residents have already voiced concerns about parking availability. With few off-street parking spaces between the two adjacent facilities, some Greenwood Avenue residents worry that future patrons of the recently completed 40,000 square-foot Little Black Pearl and the 400-seat Muntu Dance Theatre, which is still under construction, will snatch up all available street parking.

"Just imagine if they both have events on the same night. That's 400 cars," Greenwood resident Pamela Belyn said. "Where are you putting 400 cars in a residential neighborhood? This is not Lincoln Park."

At least one supporter of the proposed 47th Street "cultural corner" at Greenwood Avenue, North Kenwood/Oakland Conservation Community Council President Shirley Newsome, said 400 cars seemed a high estimate but acknowledged the need for at least 100 off-street parking spots during larger events.

Rising land values have made the prospect of a shared parking lot for the two non-profits increasingly unlikely. One option would be to lease parking space from nearby institutions such as Ariel Academy, North Kenwood/Oakland Charter School and area churches.

Greenwood Avenue resident Tommy Howard said he know trouble was on the horizon when he was asked by a valet to pay $8 to park in front of his house. The valet was helping park cars for the Little Black Pearl's Sept. 25 grand opening in order to accommodate power generators and an expected crowd of 400, the non-profit, with the permission of the city, closed the section of Greenwood Avenue north of 47th Street.

As a result of the opening, Belyn became so concerned that she made and distributed a flyer warning neighbors about potential parking headaches and demanding an "adequate" parking plan. "I think it's fair to say that there wasn't sufficient thought given to parking [for the grand opening]," said Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th), who has helped shepherd both projects through the city planning process and was on hand to help cut the ribbon at the opening.

Little Black Pearl's Executive director Monica Haslip said the workshop had arranged for valet parking at four nearby lots and called the valet incident "unfortunate." "Parking is something that we, along with the residents, are concerned with," Haslip said...

Little Black Pearl hopes to use the same lots for future events but said there are no guarantees. This lack of certainty is exactly what concerns some residents who question why buildings with such large capacities were approved with little off-street parking. Haslip argues the $9 million project was years in the making and nearby developers and city planners knew about their plans. She also points out that North Kenwood's real estate boom means parking will be an ongoing issue. "Even if we were not there, there would still be a parking issue," Haslip said. "It's a problem or an issue for all of us. There has not been any space allotted for public parking."

Howard, who moved to North Kenwood from Hyde Park a year ago, thinks that if Muntu and Little Black Pearl bring large amount of vehicles into the neighborhood they should have a plan for putting them somewhere."Had I known...I probably wouldn't have bought on that street," Howard said.

In response to the concerns, Preckwinkle has called two meetings between the residents, who have dubbed themselves "Residents of Greenwood," and representatives from Muntu an Little Black Pearl.

Other nearby owners seemed relatively unfazed trusting that both organizations will come up with long-term solutions. "I live on the block and don't find it to be a big deal," North Kenwood Homeowners Association President Belinda Starks said. "Personally I think [huge crowds are] a ways off and we have time to see how they orchestrate it."

Everyone involved agrees that both facilities, which replace two run down corner stores, mark an important step towards the neighborhood's revitalization. "These are things that the community has said it wants to see as a whole," Newsome said. Belyn agreed but said the group will continue to push for a clear parking plan. "We are very happy these corner are going to be productive but it can be done in a better way," Belyn said.


Meanwhile, the Park District, city and police made some concessions on parking for Washington Park festivals, such as the Labor Day one in 2005. U of C and other parking will be available as well as a stretch of Cottage or Payne for handicapped parking. Still, far more come for these events than can be handled, most agree.


Preckwinkle blames city for 53rd Street TIF delays, including 53rd parking garage

Hyde Park Herald, January 19, 2005. By Kiratiana E. Freelon

Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th) announced at the Tax Increment Finance (TIF) advisory council meeting last week that plans to bundle the funding of a Hyde Park parking lot and Canter Middle School addition might have to be nixed due to the reluctance of the city's Department of Planning and Development Commissioner Denise Casalino to greenlight the parking lot project.

According to Preckwinkle, Alicia Berg, the former commissioner of the planning department, promised that the city would own and operate the parking lot. Since that promise, however, the latest commissioner, Denise Casalino, is reluctant to agree to the project.

"I'm not sure the present one will honor the parking garage," Preckwinkle said. Calls for comment from the city went unreturned.

The current fate of the parking lot will also affect Canter Middle School, 4959 S. Blackstone Ave. When the TIF began Preckwinkle wanted to combine the bond financing for the two projects. But without the support of the city, that may not be possible. "We're going to have to clearly uncouple them," Preckwinkle said.

The next step is to determine what the city's final position is on the garage, Preckwinkle said. Then she will proceed with planning for the garage with or without the support of the city. When Preckwinkle formed the TIF, its main goal was to accumulate funds for a parking lot and later, a Canter middle school addition.

"In a year it will be clear how to fund the garage and then we can figure out what to do with the school," she said.

Marilyn Krogh, chair of the local school council at Canter, was still optimistic that the school would get an addition. "The Canter expansion is a long-term process. We'd like to see it within five years," Krogh said.

Shop owners on 57th Street, led by Brad Jonas of Powell's Bookstore, 57th and Harper, want to make 57th two-way from Stony Island to Lake Park. At least some residents oppose. A city study has been asked by Ald. Hairston. The decision to make 57th one-way eastbound has been one of the most contentious leftovers from Urban Renewal. Some say the Artists Colony on the stretch died (deliberately?) when the street was made one way, with at least active consent of the University.

Now the University is backing the shopkeepers (being owner of several of the shops) and has its own reasons to improve access into the heart of south Hyde Park and University campus for students, staff, and visitors--indeed opening a gateway--and maybe encouraging museum visitors to come in. Bus routes also have to be circuitous because of the configuration, which requires going south to 59th or north to 55th to use 57th from the east. Residents, however, like the damping down of through traffic and difficult access to "their" prime parking spaces. Some years ago, when the Vision for Hyde Park Retail District recommended considering opening the street, there was difference of opinion between South East Chicago Commission and the University, the later favoring opening. In addition, the Museum a few years ago seemed to be in favor of keeping it closed (it this author remembers correctly) due to high traffic exiting its new garage. Jackson Park Advisory Council, heavily involved in decisions about the garage and associated close and larger circulation issues, did not take a position as we 57th west of Stony was expected to stay as was. However, this is not just a dispute between neighbors and varying interests but has larger implications for circulation, quality of life including security (an original reason)--and opposers say the west end of the viaduct at Lake Park is blind; there are already many accidents. The City study will be watched with interest.

From the Herald article of July 19, 2006. By Erin Meyer.

Hyde Park residents and business owners want to open the 57th street viaduct to two-way traffic. In recent months an ad hoc group facilitated by the University of Chicago has been discussing the possibility of opening the portion of the street that flows between the Museum of Science and Industry and the neighborhood's 57th Street retail community.

The business community in particular stands to benefit from making Hyde Park more accessible to Lake Park Avenue and Lake Shore Drive commuters, Said Bradley Jonas, owner of Powell's Bookstore, 1501 E. 57th St.

"I am not expecting some kind of miracle in terms of more business in my pocket," Jonas said. "The question we are trying to answer is how we can allow people better access to Hyde Park." Group members envision the 57th Street viaduct as a gateway to Hyde Park. It is currently a passage by which drivers can only exit the community.

"We have been amazed how few people we get from the Museum of Science and Industry," Jonas said. "We are a block and a half from one of the area's largest tourist attractions and see almost no spillover."

The group, composed of local leaders, business owners and residents, tackles "quality of life" issues in the area around 57th Street. "Unless you now Hyde Park, you cannot get in, said Duel Richardson, director of neighborhood relations for t he university. Richardson facilitates the group's monthly meetings at Noodles etc., 1333 E 57th St.

Whenever major changes affecting traffic flow in the 5th Ward are suggested, Ald. Leslie Hairston's office requests the Chicago Department of Transportation to conduct an impact study. The city looks at school routes, traffic patterns, pedestrian routes and parking on on and around 57th Street.

A representative of Hairston's office was present at the group's June meeting. "This is potentially a large project," said Sue Purrington. "People have indicated that they were entertaining the notion of making a change, but an impact statement always comes first."

A CDOT study may take several months to complete. Depending on its findings, Richardson said he would be in favor of "making the minimum amount of infrastructure changes to conduct a trial either to alleviate the residents' fears or confirm their fears."

Increased traffic and compounded parking problems are the most common concerns raised by those who oppose the change. Some residents foresee drivers using 57th Street to travel from Lake Shore Drive to the Dan Ryan Expressway and crowd neighborhood streets.

"Some folks have been raising the issue of the 57th Street viaduct for many years as an impediment in and out of the community," Richardson said. Top

TIF revives Parking Committee as garage is stalled, to rethink the question, public involvement invited

The Parking Committee, under Jo Reizner and with several experienced local leaders on board, is considering options and proven, flexible methods for improving the parking situation in the central business district and is reaching out to experts including in the city. The committee meets again October 20, 4 pm, 5100 S. Dorchester. Call Jo Reizner first please. 773 753-2200. Details from July 5 and September 16 2005 meetings

Latest: The committee has put out numerous inquiries to holders of lots that are underutilized various times of day or night and to valet services that might use these. It is also studying pay and display machines on 53rd and redeployment/improvements in the city lot. The November meeting was largely devoted to a presentation from I-GO Carsharing--see the I-GO page.

Linking a new garage at Lake Park and an addition to Canter Middle School via bonds is apparently unlikely now, so the 53rd TIF Advisory Council's Parking Committee, headed by Jo Reizner of UC Real Estate Operations, has been commissioned to find new, creative solutions to the vexing 53rd parking problem--a problem that weakens prospects for new businesses and nightlife including the prospective Checkerboard Lounge and Jerry Kleiner Harper Grill.

Such concerns were voiced, for example, at the the March AC meeting. Chairman Howard Males is quoted by the Herald as saying, "We need to address potential parking issues that may occur given the [city's Lake Park/53rd] current size and utilization [that includes 15-minute parking meters]...the challenge for the committee and this council is to look at parking in more creative ways." Alderman Preckwinkle is quoted a saying that this summer various meetings will focus on what is happening at 53rd and Harper and other places along 53rd.

Males told the Herald that the committee will look at solutions that are not necessarily about a garage, since, whether yes or no, that can't be built in a day. He suggested looking at existing lots sharing users different times of day.

Summary of TIF Parking Committee Meeting , June 2005

7/05/05 Ilene Jo Reizner

The TIF Parking Committee reconvened to focus on improving the current parking situation for the 53rd Street shopping district.

Attendees at the meeting included:
TIF Council members: Jo Reizner, Rod Sawyer, Ginny Vaske
Committee members: Mary DeBacker, Gregg Guttman
Others present: Jeremy Adragna from the HP Herald, Roger Huff, Gary Ossewaarde and Irene Sherr, serving as consultant/staff to the committee.

As a starting point, the Committee reviewed and discussed a set of “parking management recommendations” pertaining to:

1. City Parking Lot – Improve convenience, maintenance, and appearance of City lot. Strategies suggested include: conversion to ‘pay and display’ system, identification of pedestrian walkways, signage, and evaluation of monthly parking, basic repairs and maintenance. Members expressed concern regarding the multitude of requests for money users of the lot receive from panhandlers and streetwise vendors.

2. 53rd Street – Strategies discussed included conversion to ‘pay and display’, establishment of consistent and practical time intervals throughout. Typically, conversion of pay and display increases capacity by about 20%.

3. Identification of additional locations for shared parking – In anticipation of the new restaurant and the opening of the Checkerboard, the Committee recognizes the need for additional parking. The Committee would like to explore the feasibility of utilizing existing, nearby sites that might be available on evenings and weekends.

Education - Several issues surfaced that illustrated the need for education of shoppers and businesses regarding the following:

· Availability of CTA/ U of C bus routes to the general public.
· Actual locations of routes and stops
· Impact of employees parking in front of where they work
· Availability of existing parking options for different needs: short term (1-2 hours), all day, etc.

Information - The following information needs were identified:

· What is the existing inventory of on-street and off-street spaces?
· How do customers get to 53rd Street?
· Where are customers from?
· What degree of turnover is there in City Lot?
· Details regarding Pay and Display. Is it cash only? Cash and credit card, etc.

Next Steps: The Committee agreed to do the following:

1. Review material from the 1998 Barton Aschman study regarding existing inventory
2. Request that the Dept of Revenue designate someone to work with the Committee.
3. Examine the U of C/CTA bus routes
4. Identify examples of community parking surveys and parking inventory methodology.
5. Scheduled next meeting for Tuesday, August 16th.

Herald coverage of what the parking committee was to have reported to the July 11 2005 TIF meeting: 53rd Street TIF committee "wants" 'Pay and Display' meters ['what's that- see here, committee did not endorse, just initiated 'study of'. Nor was the TIF AC asked to request the change of the city.]

July 13, 2005. By Jeremy Adragna

The 53rd Street Tax Increment Tax Finance Parking committed is looking for "creative" ways to combat Hyde Park's parking crunch as several developments take shape along the strip. The committee met July 5 and concluded that the installation of "Pay and Display" meter parking along 53rd Street and in the city-owned lot along Lake Park avenue could help the problem.

If the plan is accepted by the 53re Street TIF council, committee members say the new meters could add up to 20 percent additional parking to Hyde Park's streets.

The meeting of the committee comes as several new businesses are slated to pop up near Harper Court and along 53rd Street and long-term plans to build a parking garage in Hyde Park have faltered. "The future of the parking garage is a little bit further off than we had hoped originally," [committee chair Ilene Jo] Reizner said. "It is still the primary item for which the TIF revenues will be used. Discussions with the city have gone back and forth between who's going to own and who's going to operate and how it's going to be paid for.."

The Checkerboard Lounge is nearing completion [and] a yet-unnamed restaurant is also set to be installed....Some argue that both new venues could add to the parking crunch.

Reizner said the Committee's goal is to find short-term solutions as the TIF council waits for a decision to be made on the garage planning, which could begin after another year.

The old meters would be removed along 53rd street and in the city-owned lot in favor of a singular black box on each block which accept[s] credit cards and loose change. The boxes print tickets that are displayed on a car's dashboard indicating the expiration time.

The city installed 100 such boxes in the Loop in December 2004, which replaced 1,000 traditional meters. The "Pay and Display" boxes are also solar-powered, bilingual and do not accept money during restricted parking hours or when parking is free.

Other ideas presented during the meeting were to resurface and re stripe the city-owned lot, repair damaged fences and guard rails, and to create a dedicated walkway for parkers. The committee is also looking to rent spaces at Kenwood Academy's parking lot near the corner of Hyde Park and Lake Park Avenues. ...

Summaries of the August 16, 2005 Parking Committee meeting

The meeting heard reports on meetings and discussions with the city's Department of Revenue et al with Ald. Preckwinkle. Among new ideas are taking a close look at having a parking district, which would provide a local cut of meter revenues for local improvement. Pay and Display machines will be proposed for the City Lot at Lake Park and 53rd only. A funding source to install has to be found. The current revenue will have to be found out for both the city lot and 53rd St. and the patterns of monthly ticket holders in the city lot. Other improvements will be sought for the City Lot. To be considered by the committee: rates, durations etc. for the city lot and 53rd St. Also under investigation are the number of spaces that can be rented from which private or school lots. Both maximization and a balanced turnover of spaces would be ideal.

The idea of a parking district is both to set prices to achieve priorities and to raise local revenue for parking-improving projects while the city does not lose. It's felt 53rd Street spaces should be charging a dollar an hour instead of the present twenty-five cents and, as premium, should be charging more and the city lot less.

A walk through of the City Lot will be done by the committee September 8, 1 pm. There will be more meetings with Revenue. The time constraint is too short for a definitive report to the September 12 TIF Advisory Council meeting. The next regular committee meeting will be September 21.

Parking committee narrows its search

Hyde Park Herald, August 24, 2004. By Jeremy Adragna (This article does not touch on districts)

The 53rd Street Tax Increment Finance Parking Committee decided last week to shift its focus of installing"Pay and Display" meters away from 53rd Street and into the city-owned parking lot on Lake Park Avenue. The cost of installing the meters, at $10,000 each, was cited as a contributing factor to putting off their installation along 53rd Street until a future date. The parking lot meters could be installed by early next year.

Committee chair Jo Reizner and member Irene Sherr met in early August with Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th) and members of the city's Department of Revenue to hammer out specifics of the venture. Considering the construction of a parking garage on Lake Park Avenue with attached retail and residential units could come three to five years down the line, installation of "Pay and Display" meters would be a viable temporary plan, they say. No set number of meters was decided on. The meters would cost the neighborhood nearly $10,000 each and could be installed using TIF money or cash from Preckwinkle's yearly, $1.2 million aldermanic menu budget.

The lot has 144 spaces, more than half of which are rented by monthly parkers. At the meeting members discussed no longer allowing new monthly passes for the lot in order to increase turnover for the 53rd Street shopping district.

The board also determined that street parking spaces along 53rd street are premium and their rates should reflect that. Now parkers in the lot pay $1.00 per hour and those on 53rd Street pay 25 cents for better spaces. The group says they'll look [at] the rate and likely will raise 53rd street meter parking to $1.00 per hour.

"We're not looking to 53rd street yet," Reizner said about installing new meters. "We're looking at it in terms of how its working now.

At an earlier meeting, members put forth the idea to also resurface the parking lot and to make a number of other cosmetic changes including the installation of a dedicated walking path.

The group plans to meet with a Department of Revenue representative in early September to decide exactly what changes will be made and at what cost. In their task to find additional parking in the neighborhood the group has identified nearly 400 spaces near the 53rd street shopping district, minus those 77 monthly pass holders. The committee is exploring the use of parking lots at Kenwood Academy, Hyde Park Bank and Borders for the district.

The parking committee will meet again on Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 4 p.m. at 5200 S. Dorchester Ave. For more information, all 773 753-2200....


Meanwhile, on September 8 the committee met with representatives of the Department of Revenue parking division to see what can and might be done in the City lot, including how many pay and display machines might be needed and what added information is needed before intelligent choices can be proposed.

Summary of a walk through of City lot by committee with Brian Shaw of U of C.

  1. Pay and Display would need 5-7 machines - 1 per row at crosswalk
  2. Physical environment cleanup: Remove meters, guard rails, gate house, remnants of non-meter self-park, repair fence, re-surface and re-stripe
  3. Traffic, wayfinding and circulation- clearly i.d. entrances and exits, arrows for circulation, consider reopening 53rd entrance: main should be on Lake Park], realign and make exit-only the 52nd exit
  4. Pedestrian- designate crosswalks across traffic lanes using colored asphalt, install pedestrian friendly lighting
  5. Monthly parkers should be in a designated area at the east for monthly only certain hours of day

If to stay long term, needs a full design plan and addition of landscaping to the above.

at a community meeting October 19, several residents singled out the City lot as un navigable, unsightly and dangerous. At the October 20 meeting, preference was given to having the city lot entrance on Lake Park, and no advantage was seen to having pay and display in the lot.]

The Committee met September 21. The high cost of the pay and display meters-that the community would pay for with no return! and recommendation by the city of several for the City lot and that P&D would not increase parking in the lot were among reasons the Committee decided to refocus on 53rd Street, including exploring pay and display (expected to increase the number of cars that can park in the same linear space) and education of businesses, and secondarily sprucing up and rationalizing the City lot including banning or discouraging monthly rental in the lot (which ties up 77 spaces). The committee also continues to look into bringing valet paring to 53rd and Harper Court- providers contacted so far are skeptical about volume and some say it is unfeasible without reopening Harper Ave, especially if Kenwood Academy's lot were to be used. Use of Kenwood lot is being explored. The committee is also concerned about vagrancy and panhandling etc. at the Lake Park lot.

Next meeting October 20, 4 pm, 5100 S. Dorchester.

Irene Sherr's minutes.

Jo Reizner reported that I-Go is locating another car in Hyde Park with the expectation that more cars will lead to increased usage. She distributed some material on the I-go program, and indicated that she invited representatives of the group to attend one of our committee meetings.

Jo Reizner summarized the meeting that the committee held with Department of Revenue, and noted that the Department of Revenue has been very responsive and accommodating so far.

After discussion of the costs involved and potential benefits of the pay and display system, the Committee agreed to:

Shift attention to 53rd Street for installation of pay and display.
Educate merchants and general public regarding pay and display system.
Improve aesthetics of the city lot.
Develop a rate structure that reflects advantages of 53rd Street parking over use of the lot.
Reiterate recommendation of the elimination of monthly permit parkers in the city lot.
The Committee has requested specific information from the Department of Revenue regarding the current monthly parkers on several occasions and has not received a response. The committee is also waiting for information from Revenue regarding the current revenue and expenses for the city lot and 53rd Street area.

Irene Sherr reported that she completed a meter inventory for 53rd Street between Cornell and Woodlawn, including the meters on the intervening north/ south streets, and counted approximately 233 metered spaces. She noted that there are locations that currently do not have meters that could. She briefly reviewed the potential revenue that the meters could generate with an increase in rates.

In addition, the Committee will continue to pursue creation of a meter revenue sharing program with the Department of Revenue, similar to the program in San Diego.

Paul Andresen reported on his research and discussions with Dave Fridge of Valet Parking regarding initiation of valet parking for Harper Court. His conclusion was that it would be difficult to make it work financially and the financial burden of the program would be born by the merchants.

Greg Guttman noted that he had talked to Super Valet that runs the self park lot on Southport, and wondered if that model might work. Paul agreed to explore with Dave Fridge.

The next Committee meeting is scheduled for: Thursday, October 20th @ 4 PM at 5100 S. Dorchester Avenue. Jo Reizner will invite Brian Shaw, Director of Transportation and Parking for the University of Chicago.

Minutes prepared by Irene Sherr

The Committee met October 20. Time was almost completely given over to a wide ranging discussion with Brian Shaw, University of Chicago Transportation Manager. All kinds of transportation and parking options were explored as they related to the business district, the University, and residents, and connecting these via routes. This was tied into findings and thoughts of other groups such as the HPKCC Transit Task Force. A major draw back to any changes is scarcity of data and analysis on how people are getting to businesses and what are the needs of businesses and residents. Another is various limits on what changes could be introduced to transit/mobility needs. Although there are parking options that could be better swapped and deployed and deals for shoppers are in place, these are not readily known or marketed to the public and business operators. So, there are both real limits and education deficits to overcome.

A local businessperson explained why there need to be spaces set aside for them rent on a monthly basis.

Herald's take, Oct. 26, by Erin Mayer. Monthly parkers targeted to improve customer traffic along 53rd

..."If a business owner is parked in front of their store or in the lot, where do the customers park? asked Irene Sherr, an urban planning consultant....Sher explained that most monthly parkers in the city lot, leave their cars in the lot all day. "It is not just one customer that can't park there," Sherr said. "The space is supposed to turn over once every hour."

The committee is waiting for a list of monthly parkers from the Chicago Department of Revenue before making a recommendation to the TIF Advisory Council and the alderman on how to proceed. The committee is unsure when the will receive the data..."We need to get a better idea of who is parking in the city lot," said Sherr. "We may find it's a lot of 53rd street merchants. We may find people are driving and parking in the lot as part of a commute elsewhere."

Jo Reizner, parking committee chairman, said the group is trying to find "an equitable solution" to what many Hyde Park residents recognize as a serious parking shortage in Hyde Park. "We don't want to leave any of the monthly parkers out in the cold," Sherr said. "We are working on identifying alternatives."

But local merchant Bettye O. Day, who has been providing [business services] for 25 years....said the committee is forgetting one very important thing. "The merchants have to first find parking in order to service the customers," Day said. "They are throwing out the baby with the bath water."

According to Sherr the parking committee is working out a deal with private parking lot owners in the vicinity to allow merchants to rent spaces on a monthly basis. But Day remained unconvinced. "If finding alternatives was and option the business community would have been using them all along," Day said.

The committee's long-term agenda includes collaborating with the city for a garage at Lake Park Avenue and 53rd Street and improving the Harper Court Parking Lot by adding signage. "The parking areas in the business district have to be more user-friendly and convenient for customers who want to park there," Sherr said. The committee has also talked about installing pay-and-display meters along 53rd Street , which could increase the number of existing parking spaces by 10 to 20 percent.


The TIF Parking Committee met again December 7. The Committee remarked it was favorably impressed by the previous meeting's I-GO presentation and will work with them to identify more locations in the TIF area. Other matters the committee is working on are in research or process. A dry-run census of use of various public lots will be done at various presumed peak use times.

February 1 2006 meeting.

The committee approved several recommendations, short and long-term, that will have to be put in final form and given to the Alderman and TIF Advisory Council. One involves tying into the Pkg. Improvt Distr. described below. Others include phasing out of monthly parking, and other palliatives, for the City Lot, an education brochure/campaign of what retail parking is available in the 53rd district, a parking use survey for retail.

Metropolitan Planning Council proposal for the feasibility study of Parking Improvement Districts in Chicago

The TIF Parking Committee in February 2006 approved recommendations (to be finalized) that included asking MPO to use Hyde Park as a study area in the PID feasibility study described below. A use of a modest amount of TIF money fund a small portion of the study was considered key to ensuring what is of interest to HP in the study.


Finding street parking in Chicago's densest retail districts is a daunting task that is finally receiving national and local attention. New research by national experts recommends that cities structure their parking system so that one in eight street parking spaces remains vacant at all times in order to reduce the all too common problem of congestion caused by circling drivers. This may sound counterintuitive, but creating some vacancies through market rate pricing will actually increase the real and perceived availability of parking and enhance a retail area's viability. Although City government has tried to use zoning to systematically address anticipated parking needs, it has not yet been able to create a system that addresses consumers' and retailers' needs. Business owners and shoppers in dense, successful retail areas both know that our city needs an innovative solution that equitably solves their parking challenges.

One of the most effective policies for addressing the parking problem nationally is the Parking Improvement District (PID). When used in dense retail districts, PID's simultaneously eliminated parking difficulties and generate a new source of revenue to use for community improvements within the participating district. PID's use a pricing system for on-street parking that creates a small number of vacancies (about 15 to 20%) in order to reduce congestion created by drivers circling for a parking spot and increases the overall availability of parking. Private garage operators have long employed market rate pricing for their spaces to set parking costs at a rate that maximizes the utility of garages. Municipalities have not followed suit. The result is that the most valuable parking, the spots on the curb in front of the store, is cheaper than parking in a nearby garage. PIDs reconfigure the on-street prices to reflect the [true value?]....

The PID concept was developed by UCLA Professor Don Shoup and implemented in nearby Pasadena, California, where the PID generates $1,712 per meter per year. The net parking meter revenue generated from Old Pasadena's 690 parking meters in FY 2001 totaled $1.2 million. Pasadena dedicated these profits for community improvements, including paying debt service on a $5 million parking structure. Both investments dramatically improved the aesthetic appeal of Pasadena's retail district and thus the success of businesses located within the district. Retail sales taxes collected in the district went from less than $500,000 in 1993 to more than $2 million in 1999.

Proposal Description:

The Metropolitan Planning Council proposes to analyze the feasibility of implementing Parking Improvement Districts in Chicago. During 2006, with the aid of a consultant, MPC will address key questions related to the viability of PIDs and apply those assumptions to one or two corridors in the city as test cases. If t he study proves PIDs a feasible strategy in Chicago, MPC will work to implement them in future phases of this project.

Research Tasks:

The following research tasks would be done by both the Metropolitan Planning Council and consultant selected for the project.

Regulatory Considerations

Role of existing Special Service Areas

Parking meters

Parking Strategy


Parking Improvement Districts benefit municipalities, store owners and the shopping public. Municipalities benefit from increased sales tax revenue, better neighborhoods with ore retail options and less congested streets. Store owners benefit from increased sales and the amenities supported by PID revenues. The public benefits from better retail options, vibrant shopping districts, a pleasant place to shop and predictable parking. Using such a system in Chicago's successful, densest neighborhood retail districts would encourage those who drive to the district not to depend on the availability of seemingly low cost parking; rather, those visiting these districts will expect to pay market rate for all parking. The Metropolitan Planning Council is poised to present this policy innovation to Chicago in order to assure that parking difficulties are addressed in a way that benefits all parties and improves community livability.


Another version on PIDS

Philosophy and Background

The 53rd Street TIF district was established to address the parking needs of the 53rd Street business district and support the renovation and expansion needs of Cantor School.

A New Perspective on Parking

As the TIF Council explored the issue of parking it has become familiar with the research of Donald Shoup, an economics professor at UCLA and author of The High Cost of Free Parking. Shoup’s pioneering work argues that the costs of “free parking” are hidden in higher prices of everything else. Parking costs increase the cost of housing. In San Francisco a housing unit costs roughly $39,000 to $46,000 more if it includes a parking space. Conversely, Location Efficient Mortgages recognize that home buyers who do not have a car and have access to public transportation will have a lower cost of living and can qualify for a larger mortgage.

“Free parking” is wreaking havoc with urban environments and distorts transportation choices. Shoup argues that municipalities need to:

1. Charge the “right” price for curb parking, so that about 15% of spaces are vacant, and
2. Return the increased revenue (generated as a result of charging the ‘right’ price) to the local community

Yes, It Works.

Adoption of policies like these helped transform “Old Pasadena” from “skid row” to one of California’s premier shopping destinations. Throughout the country, cities are establishing PIDS to generate new revenue for local government and community improvements, while managing the local parking supply.
For example, San Diego utilizes its Community Parking District program to manage the distribution of meter revenue for improvements in six local business districts. The City retains 55% of the revenue and the local district receives 45%.

Let’s Try It on 53rd Street.

We would like to work with the Departments of Revenue, Planning and Transportation to establish a PID coterminous with the boundaries of the 53rd Street TIF.

Do the Math!

Now: There are approximately 250 curbside meters with a rate of .25 per hour, for 9 hours a day, 6 days a week on 53rd Street. This should generate approximately $170,000 annually.

PID: Assume the curbside rates in the 250 meter district are raised to $1.00 an hour (same as City lot rates), 10 hours a day, 7 days a week. The meters should then generate about $850,000 annually.
(Our experience with the City indicates that it may be difficult to establish accurate baseline information.)

What about the Revenue that the City Currently Receives from Meters?

The City would continue to receive all the revenue it currently receives, but would share a portion of the new net revenue with the local community. Within the PID, the cost of new parking equipment would be shared by the City and local community.

Bottom Line

Establishment of a PID should generate more revenue for local government, finance community improvements and help manage the local parking supply.


February 2005 East Hyde Park parking meeting

As a follow up to meetings over Montgomery Place elimination of parking spaces for expansion, Alderman Leslie Hairston called a small meeting in early February, 2005 of residents in the block between Everett and Jackson/Burnham parks. Several options were vetted, ranging from a structure south of 55th and across South Shore to night use of the Museum of Science and Industry's underground garage. All were found unfeasible or prohibitive in one way or several. Several volunteers will take a parking use survey to determine demand and use before the matter is reconsidered.

Alderman Hairston is seeking ideas for creating a low parking structure at 55th/South Shore, possibly using a TIF involving the Shoreland reconstruction.