Brookfield trustees, on Jan. 14, voted unanimously to restrict parking on streets north of the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad tracks near the Congress Park station in response to resident complaints of commuters leaving vehicles there all day and crowding out people who live in the area.
For years, parking by non-residents has not been allowed between 7 and 9 a.m. Monday through Friday in the 3800 blocks of Harrison, Morton and Cleveland avenues. Now that restriction has been extended to the 3700 blocks on those streets and expanded to include the 3700 and 3800 blocks of Raymond and Blanchan avenues.
In addition, parking by non-residents Monday through Friday between 7 and 9 a.m. has been prohibited on Fairview and Grant avenues between Raymond and Blanchan.
Anyone can park on those blocks after 9 a.m. on weekdays and residents will be able to park there at all times, as long as their vehicles carry a village sticker. The stickers soon will be mailed to residents on those blocks for vehicles registered with the village. The village’s public works department will also install signs bearing the new restrictions.
The village board’s decision followed three separate meetings by the Brookfield Public Safety Committee, the first of which was held in late spring of 2012.
Complaints from residents started in early 2012 following a change in Metra’s train schedule that made the Congress Park station more attractive to morning commuters. Metra now has four trains during the peak of the morning rush hour (between 6:49 and 8:26 a.m.) that run express from Congress Park to Union Station in Chicago.
The change left the LaGrange station with just one peak rush hour express train, at 7:57 a.m. There’s also a train that runs express from LaGrange to downtown at 5:13 a.m.
“That prompted a lot of people from Brookfield and the Hollywood stations to use Congress Park because they’re getting downtown much quicker,” said Tim Heilenbach, chairman of the Public Safety Committee.
Kit Ketchmark, the village trustee who is the liaison to the Public Safety Committee, said that a survey of vehicles parked north of the tracks near the Congress Park station bore that out. Many of the cars parked there had Brookfield vehicle stickers although they were clearly commuters.
“We hadn’t noticed a problem and then all of a sudden we’re seeing one,” said Ketchmark. “We attribute a lot of the problem to [the schedule change].”
The area saw close to 20 vehicles belonging to commuters being parked every day on neighborhood streets, said Ketchmark. The parking congestion makes it difficult for school buses to navigate the narrow streets and prevents residents from parking on the street near their homes all day long.
Officials hope the new parking restrictions north of the tracks will push some of those commuters to park in the newly established commuter parking lot immediately south of the Congress Park station on DuBois Boulevard.
Right now that lot can be used only by people who have smartphones and pay a daily fee by using an app. However, that looks to be changing soon.
Village Manager Riccardo Ginex said last week that he’ll be looking to designate between 10 and 15 parking spaces in that lot for permit parking. Commuters wishing to use that lot will be able to buy a monthly or quarterly permit.
That change should be made in the coming weeks, according to Ginex.