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Cubs Parking Articles


Cub fans face surprise at the parking meter

By John Schmeltzer
Tribune staff reporter
March 29, 2004

Free Sunday parking at hundreds of Wrigleyville meters is being abolished--just in time for the Chicago Cubs' first Sunday home game.

For years, business owners surrounding Wrigley Field have complained about baseball fans who park their cars at meters Sunday morning and don't retrieve them until after the last post-game moment is celebrated or lamented.

Now Ald. Thomas Tunney (44th) says drivers will have to pay--25 cents per hour to park at the two-hour meters--or risk accumulating up to as many as five $30 parking tickets and possibly a parking boot.

Whether Cub fans will cry foul over the new enforcement isn't the only consideration.

"This is not about harassment. This is about keeping a community of small businesses healthy," Tunney said.

Beginning April 11, one week before the Cubs open their first Sunday home game against the Cincinnati Reds, meters will be enforced seven days a week. Currently, meters only are enforced seven days a week on Columbus Drive and in some Park District lots, a city revenue department spokesman said.

The affected streets are:
• Addison Street, from Halsted Street to Sheffield Avenue.
• Belmont Avenue, from Lake Shore Drive to Racine Avenue.
• Broadway, from Diversey Parkway to Addison.
• Clark Street, from Diversey to Byron Street, a block south of Irving Park Road.
• Diversey, from Sheridan Road to Racine.
• Halsted Street, from Barry Avenue to Melrose Street. (A previous ordinance, which has not been enforced, provides for seven-day meters from Melrose to Waveland Avenue. Tunney said that stretch will be included beginning April 11.)
• Sheffield, from Belmont Avenue to Addison.
• Southport, from Belmont to Byron.

Enforcement will continue during the Cubs off-season, said Tunney, who owns Ann Sather restaurants on Belmont, Southport and Broadway--all on newly designated streets.

Tunney and business owners said they believe enforcement of the two-hour parking limit will increase shopper traffic for local businesses and ease the Sunday gridlock caused by the scramble for a parking space.

Area parking meters will be enforced on Sunday between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. The 10 a.m. meter feeding start time is later than other days of the week. The meters are being relabeled to reflect the new hours.

"Sunday parking in this neighborhood during baseball season has been an issue for years," said Tunney, who is taking advantage of a change pushed through with the city's 2004 budget that allows aldermen to change meter enforcement regulations in their wards. "There is an inconsistency of having no turnover on the first- or second-busiest [business] day in this community."

Heather Way, executive director of the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce, said patrons of the area businesses have few attractive alternatives to on-street parking.

There is little off-street parking, other than a few private lots that charge as much as $40 on days the Cubs are at home, according to the chamber.

Chicago Cubs officials did not return calls seeking comment about the change. The Cubs are owned by Tribune Co., which also owns the Chicago Tribune.

Sheldon Schwartz, owner of Strange Cargo, at 3448 N. Clark St., says people typically begin parking at the meters in front of his store four to five hours ahead of the Sunday start of Cubs games.

"It makes it hard for our regular customers to come in. We love the Cubs business, but it makes it difficult for a non-Cubs fan," he said. "I don't know if this is a solution, but it definitely will be a big help for Sundays."

And if customers can't find parking, that's another sales opportunity lost, said Gus Isacson, owner of Shirts on Sheffield, at 2807 N. Sheffield Ave.

"I hear all the time from my customers that they don't stop if they can't find a parking space," Isacson said. "It's just a quarter. My customers don't care about the price. They just want a parking space."

Copyright © 2004, The Chicago Tribune

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