By Igor Studenkov | Bugle Staff
The Park Ridge City Council will look into creating a 15-minute loading zone in front of two commercial buildings on Fairview Avenue.
The owners of the buildings, located at 26-28 S. Fairview Ave., requested the loading zone during the Sept. 6 city council meeting. They told the council that, under the current parking requirements, their tenants’ customers were being ticketed. During the Sept 12 public works committee of the whole meeting, aldermen agreed to put the issue to a vote during a future meeting.
The vote would also allow the city to clean up existing rules related to 15-minute loading zones. According to Wayne Zingsheim, the Park Ridge director of public works, a few such zones were created for businesses that have since closed or relocated.
One of the building owners, Angie Karlson, told the city council that spaces in front of the property are quickly taken and do not free up for hours. This forces their customers to park further away and risk getting ticketed.
Karlson argued that a 15-minute loading zone would ensure that the spaces are not occupied up for too long, while allowing their tenants’ customers to come in and out.
Gino Rago is the co-owner of one of those tenants, Panino’s Pizzeria. He told the council that, while parking issues go beyond the loading zone, having it there would help.
“Having a loading zone is going to be critical,” he said. “[Park Ridge] has been good to me; I want to say here.”
During the Sept. 12 meeting, Karlson reiterated her earlier plea.
“It would just help us and protect businesses that have been there for years,” she said.
Zingsheim explained that the city currently has eight 15-minute loading zones but said it would probably be safe to eliminate several of those spaces, including an 18-foot section on the east side of Chester Avenue near Touhy, one on the west side of Prospect Avenue northeast of Summit, and one on the east side of Prospect southwest of Northwest Highway.
Second Ward Ald. Nicholas Milissis asked whether any of the previously approved loading zones caused any problems.
Zingsheim replied that there have not been any complaints.
Sixth Ward Ald. Marc Mazzuca said he had no issue with the 15-minute loading zones but added that he would prefer they came with fees.
However, First Ward Ald. John Moran said he had reservations.
“How do you determine who deserves one and who doesn’t deserve one,” he asked. “It’s very vague. Once it goes up, it’s going to be hard to justify to [other] business owners if we turn them down.”
Fifth Ward Ald. Daniel Knight supported charging fees for loading zones but said he didn’t see any reason not to grant the owners’ request, since he didn’t think aldermen would figure out what the fees would be any time soon.
“It’s not on anybody’s calendar; who knows when we’re going to get to that,” Knight said.
Fourth Ward Ald. Roger Shubert, who chairs the public works COW, instructed staff to research loading zone fees, and tentatively scheduled a vote on the 26-28 W. Fairview loading zone request during the next public works COW.