The Village of Hinsdale is considering removing parking meters from the central business district and replacing them with a 3-hour parking zone, town officials said at a recent meeting.
If council approves Village staff’s recommendation, 300 downtown parking meters will be replaced with three-hour parking zones in a bid to reserve on-street parking for customers of downtown businesses, as opposed to spaces used by Metra commuters or store employees. .
Village officials said the purpose of the meters is to create turnover in the business district so that there is enough parking space for shoppers. A parking study conducted by the village revealed that up to 30% of metered parking is currently occupied by merchants or their employees.
According to Hinsdale Police Chief Brian King, there is a high percentage of employees using metered spaces due to a low fine structure and low metered charges. People would also move from place to place, King said during the meeting last Tuesday.
The village estimates that 50 vehicles, belonging to employees or shop owners who park in the area, will be “moved” if time zone enforcement is approved, but red permit areas and adjacent lots have a sufficient capacity to accommodate them.
Currently, the fine for not supplying parking meters is $8. According to the Village staff’s proposal, the fine for exceeding the three-hour limit would be $25.
“It’s not to increase revenue, it’s to have business,” village chairman Tom Cauley said at the meeting.
Village staff said they would use a license plate reader attached to a patrol vehicle that would virtually tag a parked car to enforce the three-hour limit. If a car is parked in the business district for more than three hours, a ticket will be issued, officials said.
Combined with the free parking lot which was completed two years ago and the 8 hour parking lots on Washington and Garfield, there should be no problem for anyone trying to find a space.
The Washington lot, however, would go from 25 cents per hour to $1 per hour to make it consistent with the Garfield lot. Areas adjacent to the central business district will see no change.
In a January survey, Hinsdale Police determined what weekday parking availability looked like in the parking lot during mid-morning and afternoon rush hours, showing an average occupancy of 74% in the morning and 81% in the afternoon. And a separate count of open metered parking spaces on the street determined that there was customer parking available on the street (metered) during peak hours, according to the survey.
“The parking deck and on-street parking mitigation are working quite well,” Cauley said during the meeting.
If approved by City Council, the parking changes will go into effect June 1.