No pay parking near 47th Ward alderman’s office
A stretch of free parking available on busy Lincoln Avenue.
I had to drop off a form at Ald. Ameya Pawar’s office. I parked right in front on Lincoln Avenue and looked all over for a pay-and-display box. Not one to be found on the block. Is this a standard practice in Chicago, not putting pay-and-display boxes on the blocks of ward offices?
The company that oversees Chicago’s paid parking, LAZ, generally installs pay boxes only where there previously were parking meters. Bill Higgins, a staffer in Pawar’s 47th Ward office, says he’s noticed for years that there were no meters near the office on the 4200 block of North Lincoln Avenue and a couple of blocks south—though there are pay-and-display boxes on the block directly north of the alderman’s office. He says it’s likely ex–47th Ward Ald. Eugene Schulter, who held power from 1975 to 2011 and had an office two doors down, ordered the Department of Finance (the newly renamed Department of Revenue) not to install meters on his block. Because Pawar became alderman just last year, after defeating Schulter ally Tom O’Donnell, Higgins insists, “It had nothing to do with Ameya.” (Calls to Schulter’s ward committeeman campaign office at 4237 North Lincoln—which he shares with Illinois Senate president John Cullerton—were not returned.) Surveying parking outside HQs of other longtime aldermen, we saw no other notable aberrations. “It is not common practice for aldermen to request that [pay parking] not be installed in front of their offices,” says Department of Finance spokeswoman Holly Stutz. “In fact, they do not request it at all.”