Parking Pay Box Pops Up To Dismay Of Businesses

CHICAGO (WBBM) – It was an unwelcome Halloween trick for businesses along a block-long stretch of Touhy Avenue in the West Rogers Park neighborhood, when a parking meter pay box popped up outside their stores.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Regine Schlesinger Reports

Along Touhy between Francisco and Sacramento avenues, there had always been free street parking. But, suddenly without warning, a pay box appeared on Oct. 31.

Michael Ben-Ezra owns the North Shore Bakery at 2919 W. Touhy Ave. Last week, the first week with the pay box, he says his business was down 30 percent.

“You know, the customer comes in to buy a sweet roll or something, They walk in for 10 minutes” and have to pay or risk a $50 ticket.”

He says, with the pay boxes, the city is driving businesses away. He points to the next block which has had metered parking all along it and more than half the storefronts are empty.

The alderman of the ward, Bernie Stone (50th), says the new metered parking was put in on Touhy because several pay boxes had been removed for various reasons along nearby Devon Avenue.

Alderman Stone says, under the lease deal that privatized the city’s parking, there can be no net loss in parking spots for Chicago Parking Meters LLC. “They’re guaranteed X number of spots so if you remove them from one place, you have to replace them in another.”

As for the businesses along Touhy, Alderman Stone says they’ve been lucky until now to have no meters. Now, their luck has run out.

More from Regine Schlesinger
  • narilyn

    That is chicago for you. Sneaky and greedy.



  • sean

    You got that right. The pay boxes are a nightmare. I don’t go to Chicago because of this. There are great suburban areas with great shopping and you get zero harassment from your government.

  • Minnie

    This is exactly why I moved out of my birth city after 40 years. They nickel and dime you to death. Talk about greedy-

  • iphish

    You can’t even enjoy a sunrise of catch a fish for free anymore…I shop outside of Chicago because of the parking meter situation every chance I get….

  • Jen

    This once again doesn’t tell us the entire story. Why were the boxes removed from Devon? Not enough revenue created? My thought is the alderman on Devon has more power then the one on Touhy. Let’s see if he still in office after the next election.

    • A nudnik

      Both locations are in the 50th Ward, represented by Alderman Bernard Stone.

  • BB

    Me too. I live near the Evanston border and now shop outside of Chicago regularly. As much as I’d like to support local businesses, simply running errands is too expensive in the city. I can go to Evanston or Skokie and park for free or for a minimal meter charge. Nice job, Daley.

  • Erich Schrempp

    If you do the math, you’ll find that simply never paying for parking at these boxes will save you more money in the long run than the tickets you pay. The best part is that at least the ticket fine money goes to the city to help pay for services we all use, instead of fattening the wallet of some fat cat in Dubai.

  • Lew

    the issue with the pay boxes is that they are there but that they are cost raised so high so fast. Now as for the businesses. I live in that area. And “CLOSE” businsess were bad business. Let’s be real here, you live in the city and you have to pay for parking what makes that area better then others not to have meters. If you don’t want to pay, you do what ever Chicagoan does. YOU DRIVE AROUND UNTIL YOU FIND A FREE SPOT. Get over it people.

  • Concerned Citizen

    To all the citizens of Chicago, you all either voted for the mayor/aldermen or didn’t vote at all. What do you think will happen when most of these legislators have been in office for 20 years or more? The bottom line is that legislators here do not work hard at bringing business but driving business away. I am one who lives near the suburbs and shops in the suburbs, where I won’t be harassed by big government. Like the bakery owner says, who wants to get a ticket or pay a box when they are buying a $2 roll? I wonder how many millions of dollars have been lost due to Chicago nickel and diming, the citizens?

  • jaycee

    Ald stone said the taxpayers luck ran out now its time for his luck to be history vote him out at election time change the city council get rid of the dead weight

  • BN

    It’s the same alderman. 82 year old BERNARD STONE. He could care less about the residents in Rogers Park. How he has lasted is beyond me.

    • A nudnik

      If you live in the ward, you will have an opportunity to vote for someone else in February.

    • Ray Blumert

      Bernard Stone is not 82 years old. He was born in 1924, making him 86 years old.

  • CC

    They even installed parking meter pay box inside shopping mall parking lot. I think it is illegal because the land belongs to the mall not Chicago.

    • irritated

      Yeah, check out the strip mall at Lawrence & Oakley on the south side of Lawrence. You know, I think I’ll do my strip mall shopping elsewhere.

  • irritated

    When meters suddenly extended their hours on Devon near Western years ago I complained to Stone. He ignored me. I wrote to the paper and got interviewed by a college student on the subject and it was written up. The meters were then restored to the original hours with Stone claiming ignorance. The message Chicago sends is, if you have lots of money you can live & shop here. Otherwise, get out. The new feudalism and serfdom can only last so long before folks start revolting.

  • jim chmiedlinski

    How arrogant of the alderman. If a business looses 30 percent of its sales it can not exists of a business means loss of jobs, suppliers loss sales, sales tax is lost, store are vacant, building owners lose rent, property values drop.These boxes are hindering the economic recovery. Time for a new aldermen

  • gina

    buy everything you can out of the city….
    I spend $130.00 a year for a city sitcker – now they are putting pay boxes on the side streets – so potentially I will have to pay to park in front of my house?
    I”ll drive to Dupage County to buy gas and groceries – instead of spending in Crook County and Chicago…you freeloaders get enough of my money through real estate taxes

  • john

    These boxed-democrats will destroy Chicago as a center of retail commerece.

  • Dan T

    This is nothing new – they’re popping up along 63rd street near Midway airport, along 59th street near the Midway Orange Line station…pretty soon the entire city will be covered.

  • Michael Benezra

    I am the owner of North Shore Bakery and after 27 years at this location, the city and the ALDERMAN B STONE didn’t do anything to support the small business
    in the area.
    We need to fight to remove the Alderman !!
    You should protect the business in the area, but you are doing otherwise.

    • northside-business

      i agreed w/mr.benezza election,don’t knock at my door for my signature.time to vote you’re out of touch to your constituent in your ward.matter of fact all the aldermen are out of touch.we need like tea party[revolt] city wide.

  • bigtime sucker

    wow i live in champaign, i have to pay a meter like .75 for an hour, who’se the big time sucker now folks!!!!! sounds like chicago needs a big tea party scare to wake politicians up!!!

  • bigtime sucker

    the fact that they were done without warning is low class by the alderman/city, at least communicate with your citizens,

  • Dave Goldy

    The people of the City of Chicago has to understand. This is a tax for Poor People and People who can no get out of the city to Shop! I shop out of Cook County to avoid all Democrate Tax! I do not understand why people who vote for for a party over and over complain so much! Just remember all the things you hate when election season is here because once you put Rahm in power you will see more of the same and probably more to take from your pocket!!!

  • Centurion

    The parking boxes will soon appear at your front door. Be wary, they may put them in your garage next and you can’t do anything about it.

  • jeff

    So, let me get this straight: you people don’t shop in Chicago because you have to pay 75 cents to park? RIght.

  • Chicago IV: Mega in 2011

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