Naperville Wants More Cars And Fewer Parking Spots

Just as Naperville is about to get more traffic with the opening of the Water Street Development next month, Naperville city officials are considering eliminating 1.5% of it’s downtown parking spaces by reducing on-street parking from 491 spots to 484. Seven fewer parking spots may not seem like many, but when you’re looking for just one spot to park, seven open spots would seem like a bonanza.

Reducing available parking places would be accomplished by eliminating angle parking and converting them to parallel parking on the east side of Main Street between Jackson and Jefferson avenues in addition to the area from Jefferson Street to the Van Buren Avenue parking lot entrance.

The likeliness of this happening is due to city officials’ desire to widen sidewalks to facilitate outdoor restaurant and cafe seating and adding benches making it more enticing for diners, shoppers and pedestrians. That’s all fine and dandy, but before you can dine, shop, and meander through town, you have to find a place to park.

Eliminating seven parking spots may seem insignificant, but consider this, it could reduce sales and revenue by $400,000 or more. Let’s do the math. If you consider a parking spot is desirable about 16 hours per day, and the average spot may rotate every two hours, that’s a conservative eight cars per day per spot X 7 parking spots X 365 days per year with an average conservative loss of $20 in sales and revenue which comes to about $400,000.

(8 cars   X   7 parking spots   X   365 days per year   X   $20 (conservative) spent = $408,800 per year lost)

It takes a lot of books being sold and Anderson’s book store, and hot dogs from Joey’s, and chicken wings from Ted’s Montana Grill to put a dent in $40oK+.

Could it be that city officials are getting us ready for metered parking in the not too distant future. Or could it be, that part of the master plan is, eliminating most street parking, requiring the use of parking garages, with the ultimate goal of city officials, to charge for parking in city owned garages exactly like Chicago? How does $20 for the first ten minutes sound, or $50 for anything over that for the day. The Golden Rule would apply. He who has the gold makes the rules; and the city has the gold with ordinances which gives them more gold for more ordinances.

Some could consider the first step of the plan (converting angle parking to parallel) as prejudiced towards younger and older drivers. Younger drivers because learning how to parallel park is no longer mandatory in high school driver’s education, and the State no longer tests for it. Older drivers because it’s not so easy turning your head like an owl to get into and out of parallel parking spots.

Or maybe the real answer is the simplest; the city wants to corner the market on valet parking.

Show 4 Comments


  1. Gerard Schilling

    Agree our illustrious leaders will never miss a opportunity to wring out of the citizenry one more dime if they can and your observation no doubt will come to pass.

    I have another suggestion on how to increase usable parking spaces throughout Naperville. As we all know reserved parking for handicapped citizens exceeds by at least a factor of two their needs thus the chronic empty spaces all over, while healthy people can’t get a space to park anywhere.

    Get rid of 1/2 of these spaces as well as the dumb and costly electric car charging stations which mostly go unused and can never pay their own way. Don’t know how many spaces this would free up but am sure it is way more then seven.

  2. Jim Haselhorst

    I am against anything that would reduce downtown parking which is already so bad that most of the cars parked in the Library parking lot belong to patrons of downtown businesses and not the Library. The reason given for not building a parking structure for the library during the last major Library renovation was because it would only encourage this type of behavior, which is happening anyway because of the lack of adequate downtown parking. The new council has already passed ordinances restricting parking downtown to only one side of the street, which was a good safety move, but compounded the parking problem.

    Many of the downtown businesses that want wider sidewalks so they can expanded their operating/service area used the parking space they now want eliminated to meet their parking requirement when they were seeking city approval for their business. Does this mean they are also welling to allow the city to re-evaluate their operating permits to make sure they will still be in compliance with the city’s parking requirements for their business?

    The city starting to charge for downtown parking would only encourage the growth of a business industry that is the blight of many big city downtown areas, big ugly crowded marginally maintained paid parking lots. If there is anything that would quickly damage the downtown Naperville brand it would be these type of parking operations.

    I can understand the benefits and thus the desire, to grow downtown businesses (ie more revenue / bigger tax base) but poorly managing this growth by rushing to make changes without fully considering the consequences or possible unintended consequences could end up damaging our downtown cache’ resulting in reduce revenues and smaller tax base.

    Until there is adequate parking available in downtown parking structures to not only meet the existing demand but provide a surplus to accommodate future downtown growth there should be a moratorium on any further ordinances that eliminate existing parking. As well as new construction that does not provide adequate parking for it projected customer base, without using on street parking to meet this requirement (part of the downtown parking problem is dozens of businesses all counting the same parking space as meet their parking requirements and patron parking needs).

    This type of moratorium would be the responsible way to manage downtown growth and make sure it does not progress at a rate that causes the city to loose control of this situation.

  3. Nancy

    Agree it is much easier to angle park for anyone! This is just one more totally unnecessary make work project fir city staff and city council. Downtown Naperville is always a nightmare for parking and this certainly will also “make work” for,and possibly chase away, visitors and shoppers

  4. John

    The angle parking is some progress but an after-thought . I stay away from down town because parking and traffic flow is a nightmare . Unfortunately, the council focuses on growth and expanding liquor licenses without concern for parking and traffic density

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *