Oak Parkers looking to park at the Holley Court parking garage or the Lake and Forest garage will be pleased to hear about the increase in free parking time. Trustees discussed the possibility of an increase at a May 2 Oak Park Village Board meeting.
Previous free parking times at the two Oak Park garages stood at a full hour. After the agreement to increase the time, patrons can now park for up to an hour and a half for free. Although, the extended time limit comes at a cost. According to the Tribune, the extra 30 minutes may cost the village about $100,000 annually.
There was some debate over whether or not the time should have been extended by 30 minutes, or another full hour. Frank Heitzman of Downtown Oak Park stated “Ninety minutes would be helpful, but it’s somewhat confusing. Two hours allows for dinner and some shopping. Ninety minutes may be a little light.”
Board members ultimately came to an agreement after determining that another full hour would cost them around $200,000 annually. Trustee member Glenn Brewer said “I appreciate the two-hour-free argument. That $100,000 difference is significant to me, and I think it probably might be significant to the rest of the board members.”
Officials added that they are aware of the concerns some Oak Parkers may have after the closing of two downtown parking lots due to the construction of the 20-story Oak Park Station development. They are hoping the new garage can open by late 2016, with the entire development finished by spring 2017.