Two City Clerk-backed parking ordinances moved through the Council’s Pedestrian and Traffic Safety Committee with relative ease, only one alderman vocally expressed his concern that lifting the city’s little-known ban on pickup trucks parking on residential streets would lead to an influx of suburban trucks parked in his ward.
Present: Chairman Walter Burnett (27), Brian Hopkins (2), Marty Quinn (13), Raymond Lopez (15), Derrick Curtis (18), Willie Cochran (20), Jason Ervin (28), Chris Taliaferro (29), Deb Mell (33), Gilbert Villegas (36), Emma Mitts (37), Anthony Napolitano (41), James Cappleman (46)
City Clerk Susana Mendoza’s ordinance would end the “dog and pony show,” as Ald. Emma Mitts (37) dubbed it, of requiring pickup trucks owners apply for a special city-issued sticker from their local alderman to legally park their car in front of their house or anywhere else in the city.
While free, that sticker must be renewed every year, on top of the optional zone and mandatory city sticker that all Chicago car owners must purchase. It was a way for aldermen to determine what residents were using those pickup trucks for and to make sure junk trucks stayed out of sight.
This ordinance would eliminate that cumbersome burden, Clerk Mendoza testified, by letting personal pickup trucks park on all residential and business streets in the city as long as they have a city sticker. Commercial trucks and junk trucks–as in pickup trucks specially outfitted to hold scrap metal or other treasures found in city alleys–would still be prohibited from parking along city streets.
But Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29) who represents the city’s Austin neighborhood on Chicago’s westernmost border, took issue with Clerk Mendoza’s plan and asked her to amend it during the meeting. “How does this play out in my ward?” Ald. Taliaferro asked, noting that he is near three suburbs: Elmwood Park, Oak Park, and Cicero.
Taliaferro said that oftentimes he sees people from Elmwood Park, which has stricter street parking rules, park their cars in his ward, pull a bike out, and bike the rest of the way home. “I’m probably going to get a lot more trucks in my ward as a result of this ordinance,” Taliaferro explained. He asked Mendoza if she would consider adding a ban on overnight parking for pickup trucks not registered with the city.
“Let’s see how this plays out. I have a feeling that it won’t be as impactful as you think it might be, but let’s see,” Mendoza said the first time he asked. The second time, Committee Chair Walter Burnett, Jr. (27) poked holes in his plan, asking Taliaferro how he would institute a ban. What about the people who go out for dinner or to bars, Burnett asked somewhat rhetorically.
The committee eventually approved the ordinance, without dissent, and another ordinance from Mendoza that made minor language changes and “technical corrections” to an ordinance the council already passed establishing a pilot program that provides universal parking passes to Chicago realtors.