Members of the Brookfield village board voted Monday night to double parking rates for commuters parking along the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe railroad tracks. The vote was 5-1, with Trustee Linda Stevanovich casting the only dissenting vote.
Starting Jan. 1, those parking spaces will cost commuters $40 per month and $120 per quarter. Currently it costs $20 per month and $45 per quarter to park in the commuter spaces along the BNSF tracks in Brookfield.
However, parking rates were not raised for the commuter lot behind the Brookfield village hall, 8820 Brookfield Ave. Spaces in that lot will still cost commuters $1 per day. Commuters using that lot must deposit a daily payment in a drop-box.
Trustees voting for the parking increase reiterated their view that the village needed to raise enough money from parking to maintain and improve not only the parking spaces themselves but the Prairie Avenue commuter rail station as well.
“We’ve seen no increase for the past 15 years,” Trustee Kit Ketchmark said. “We have a responsibility to monitor these changes and have them relate to costs.”
Stevanovich said she didn’t disagree with a hike in commuter parking rates, suggesting that she’d support raising the rate to $30 per month and $90 per quarter. Her motion to amend the ordinance died for lack of a second.
“I’m opposed to such a rash increase,” Stevanovich said. “It’s not fair to those people parking there now.”
Brookfield resident Jim Hubacek, a longtime commuter, said the increase was not in the best interest of commuters or businesses in the village.
“My concern is that such an increase is excessive and exceeds the going market rate in other communities,” Hubacek said. “This decision really does not help the village.”
Hubacek and Stevanovich suggested commuters may abandon Brookfield in favor of places like LaGrange for commuter parking. Stevanovich also encouraged commuters to park in the cheaper lot behind village hall.
Village President Michael Garvey said while he appreciated Stevanovich’s desire to help commuters, he backed the increase.
“This is an attempt to reduce the money we’re losing by providing basic services,” Garvey said. “We have an obligation to provide maintenance, and this will allow us to do some of those improvements.”