`Parking wars` continue in Northwest Edison Park - FOX 32 News Chicago

`Parking wars` continue in Northwest Edison Park

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

That parking meter crackdown continues in the Northwest Side Edison Park neighborhood.

Last week FOX 32 and the Better Government Association reported on growing frustration from drivers and business owners who said the private company that runs Chicago's meters is too aggressive in writing tickets.

FOX 32 investigative reporter Dane Placko said our story prompted a meeting between the local alderman and LAZ Parking, but no truce.

On consecutive days last week FOX 32 found LAZ parking employees, as many as three at a time, patrolling the tiny two block commercial stretch of Edison Park looking for people who didn't feed the meter.

Businesses worry the crackdown will scare away customers, and have even put up signs reminding people to pay

After the story aired, there was a flood of response from viewers.

"Selling public assets like parking meters and schools rarely benefits the taxpayer," one viewer commented.

"Because of the meter maid barracudas, it is much easier and cheaper to drive to nearby suburbs with mall parking!" another said.

Still, some side with LAZ Parking.

"So, the police and fireman that call this neighborhood home are whining about tickets?

I have an idea, pay the $2.00," one who sided with LAZ said.

Another said, "So let me get this straight. The citizens and businesses in that area are mad that the parking LAWS are being enforced?"

The 41st Ward Alderman Mary O'Connor said a LAZ Parking representative came to her office Monday and apologized for the LAZ employee who parked in front of a fire hydrant, a moment O'Connor captured on camera herself.

The alderman said she asked LAZ to ease its crackdown in Edison Park.

"I said we have to find a balance here. I mean we're going to be in a relationship here for another 70 years. And if we continue this way this is always going to be toxic," O'Connor said.

But those pleas apparently didn't work last night.

"[Monday], nine o'clock last night, three of them are walking around and ready to go," Business owner Maria Concannon said. "Can be 20 below zero and they're still around."

"We're continuing to warn people, do not even run in to buy a lotto ticket, do not run in to buy a sandwich or anything before paying that meter or you will be ticketed," Head of Edison Park Chamber of Commerce, Melissa Panizzi, said.

Alderman O'Connor said she's also heard from other aldermen complaining of ticket crackdowns in their neighborhoods, frustrated there's nothing they can do about it because the city no longer runs the meters.

A spokesman for LAZ said a number of businesses actually welcome the meter enforcement, because it ensures a steady stream of turnover and new customers.

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