By Ed Curran

(CBS) — A hot-button issue that gets lots of folks excited in Chicago is parking. The West Loop is no exception.

CBS 2’s Ed Curran reports on a new initiative to discourage “day-tripper” parking.

The West Loop has exploded. But residents here are having their free parking spots stolen.

If you’re coming downtown to work or to shop, here’s a solution some people have found: Park in the West Loop. It’s very close to downtown and it’s free to park all day long. It’s a long walk one solutions is to use a Divvy bike.

Day-trippers come from faraway places like Brookfield, Alsip and Cicero, park there for free and walk to work.

Residents like Megan Gunia don’t like it one bit.

“For those of us who live in the city and pay taxes in the city, we pay for these streets and we’re not able to park on them during the day,” she says.

Trying to deter day-trippers, the city banned parking on about 20 West Loop blocks from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. For Cassandra Villegas, who works in the neighborhood, it’s made parking impossible.

“I’m using my lunch break to look for a parking spot right now. It’s going to take me about a half hour,” she tells Curran.

Gunia will take the inconvenience if it means driving out the day-trippers.

“I wish that they would do it on many more streets. Parking is very much a problem in this neighborhood during the day,” she says.

The day-tripper parking ban is an experiment through the end of the year.

Curran saw a lot of cars in the area with suburban city stickers or no sticker at all. Clearly, outsiders are enjoying a healthy walk to work while avoiding Chicago’s healthy parking prices.

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