After residents applauded a pilot parking ban for sections of Belmont Avenue and Halsted Street in Lakeview during the weekends, 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney has been talking to residents and business owners about making the ban permanent.
The pilot ban prohibited people from parking on Halsted Street between Buckingham Place and Belmont Avenue and on Belmont Avenue between Clark Street and Halsted Street from August 18 to Sept. 26, 2011.
Max Bever, director of communications and community outreach for the 44th Ward, said the pilot parking ban was put in place after residents complained of illegal activity in the areas that often occurred in parked cars.
“During the warmer months, residents have witnessed illegal activity taking place both in vehicles and on the street including public drinking, drug use and excessive noise,” Bever said.
The pilot started after residents of the 3200 and 3330 blocks of North Halsted Street turned to Ald. Tunney’s office and the 23rd District Police office with a proposal for the weekend parking ban.
Bever said the pilot program had mixed reviews.
“The residents on these blocks were very much in favor [of the ban],” Bever said. “Pretty much everyone else does not see how it would effectively assist in aiding public safety.”
Libby Singelyn , a teacher, said she does not think the ban will eliminate illegal activity.
“Just put more police there to watch it,” Singelyn said. “I don’t think that moving cars from there is going to help much.”
Michael Bergstrom, a help center desk analyst, said he doesn’t really get why there is a need for the ban. “I can’t see how that would particularly help,” Bergstrom said. “ The only reason I can see [the ban] helping is if the complaints that the people were making were that their cars were getting broken into.”
Jenny Lynch, a consultant, said the ban is worth a try if it could reduce crime.
“A lot of people come and go in this area, especially on the weekends,” Lynch said. “So if that’s a way to deter people from parking overnight and doing whatever they’re doing that’s harmful for the neighborhood, sure. It’s worth the try at least.”
Jacob Burstein, a DePaul University student, lives down the street from where the bans were in place and has witness illegal activities in the area. He said sometimes when he looks out of his window, he can see prostitutes getting into cars.
The ban is “a good idea, but I mean, there are prostitutes on every corner here, it’s not like it’s just this little area that has all of them,” Burstein said.
No decisions have been made on the ban yet, but Alderman Tunney is talking to residents and business owners about their opinions.
“The Alderman is currently talking with the residents and local business about a possible compromise to the ban, one that would take up less parking, but still assist with quality of life issues,” Bever said.