Convened in August 2011 by Ald. Ameya Pawar, the 47th Ward’s Permit Parking Task Force has now released its assessment, which boils down to: can’t live with it, can’t live without it so let’s try to fix what’s broken. Findings and a plan of action going forward were originally presented Jan. 18 and will be shared again tonight, Jan.30, 6:30 p.m., at the Bethany Retirement Community, 4950 N. Ashland Ave. Whereas the first meeting focused on permit parking issues surrounding Lincoln Square, the second will address the Ravenswood Metra area. A third meeting, yet to be scheduled, will cover permit parking in the section of the ward south of Montrose Avenue.
The primary aim of the task force: to remedy failings of the current permit process, while balancing the pros and cons of a system that benefits some while frustrating others. On the one hand, according to the report, “a resident shouldn’t be subject to unreasonable parking restrictions.” On the other hand, “a resident shouldn’t be subject to unreasonable excess of parking by non-residents.”
In assessing the parking situation, the task force concluded that the typical block can accommodate a maximum of 120 cars, whereas the densest blocks in the ward are home to nearly 400 housing units. Telling us what we already know, there is, quite simply, not enough space for all of us to park directly in front of our house or condo.
The task force determined that a two-block walk was the maximum distance a resident should have to park from their home. But with different permit parking zones surrounding certain blocks, overflow cars are frequently left with few, if any, nearby options. This led the task force to recommend the consolidation of multiple adjacent zones into a single zone, thereby establishing neighborhood zones.