CHICAGO (CBS) — The City’s attempt to protect free parking for residents and business just west of the Loop has a lot of people upset.

WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports it’s always been a well-kept secret that free street parking is available on several streets in the West Loop — providing a tempting alternative to expensive parking meters and garages downtown, if you’re willing to walk a bit further to get to the Loop.

Not surprisingly, those spots often end up being taken by day trippers – people who drive to work in the Loop, and use those spots all day to avoid the cost of parking in the Loop. That left many local residents unable to take advantage of free parking in their own neighborhood.

“The parking spots are generally gone by the time I walk out the door, which is usually about 8:30,” said Patty Mocco, with Neighbors of the West Loop.

The city sought to do something about it, in an effort to make sure local residents and businesses would have parking available during the day. It instituted a parking ban from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. where parking previously had been free all day.

“It was all done with good intentions, to try to figure out what the heck we can do to try to stop this,” Mocco said.

But now the day trippers, local residents, and businesses are all unhappy.

“So far, it’s detrimental to the residents. Of course, a lot of that is the residents that want to park 24 hours,” Mocco said. “It’s hurt businesses, because the part that’s no parking is during the middle part of the day, when there’s lunch, and there’s a lot of traffic down there.”

The West Loop is the last place near the Loop where you can still find free street parking

The parking ban is a pilot program, and the city said it’s looking for solutions.

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