While some West Loop residents have expressed concerns about new parking rules that are set to go into effect in 2020, others hope changes will help ease congestion.
Starting on Jan. 2, parking meter rates will increase from $2 to more than $4.50 per hour. City officials also plan to add metered parking in several major commercial corridors including portions of Randolph Street.
A city ordinance, which was based on a 2016 study commissioned by the West Central Association, found that 84% of parking in the area was free or unrestricted and posed a problem for many business owners.
Additionally, portions of other streets will be turned into Residential Permit Parking zones.
Kristin Martin, the owner of Smitten Boutique on Madison Street, said since parking meters were installed in front of her store, she has noticed greater turnover during business hours which she said frees up space for customers.
"The meters I feel like help people come and go, just do what they need to do and get out," she said.
One West Loop resident who lives in a meter zone said he disagrees.
"It's just another expense, one I didn't have to pay before," said resident Erik Anderson.
Armando Chacon, board president of the West Central Association, said he hopes the parking changes will help alleviate stress.
"What we're trying to do is try to accommodate parking for everyone, and that's a very challenging thing when you start from a point where there isn't enough parking for everybody," Chacon said.
Striping for additional metered parking on Randolph is expected to be finished by mid- to late-January, however the project depends on weather. As part of the first phase, meters will be installed in the area of Halsted and Morgan streets and the area of Washington and Wayman streets, according to the West Central Association.
Installation for the second phase, which will push west, is expected to begin by late January/early February.
Additional information about the parking changes is available on the West Central Association's website.