Actually, Paying Taxes Does Not Guarantee Parking in Front of Your Home

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Parking on South State. Photo by Wendell Hutson, DNAinfo.

It’s unclear why DNAInfo chose to give airtime to folks griping about temporarily losing what they consider to be their God-given right to park directly in front of their homes. In today’s post “Red Line Rehab Will Make State Street Not Great Street for Parking,” the website airs the grievances of people along South State Street who won’t be able to store their cars on their street during the five-month South Red Line reconstruction.

“Asking residents to park elsewhere when we pay taxes to park in front of our home is foul if you ask me,” said Craig Cathey of the 9200 block of South State. In reality, Mr. Cathey, paying taxes does not guarantee you the right to warehouse your private property in the public way in front of your house. If that was the case, car-free Chicagoans should be allowed to install storage lockers in the street.

CTA spokesman Steve Mayberry said parking will be restricted on sections of State to make room for additional shuttle buses that will carry riders to the Green Line during the rehab, adding that the project was announced a year ago so residents could plan accordingly. Four shuttle buses, plus the existing #29 State bus will use the street.

During this period some locals will need to park around the corner on side streets. One can sympathize with George Landfair, 77, a longtime resident of the 8600 block of South State, when he says, “There are too many seniors that live around here for us to be walking long distances and parking in unsafe areas.” On the other hand, many parts of town, including some high-crime areas, are dense enough that locals don’t expect to be able to park directly in front of their homes. Seniors in those communities make do, so parking around the corner for a few months shouldn’t be too much of a hardship for Mr. Landfair and his neighbors.

The DNA article reveals that the parking ban is just the latest in a series of developments that are causing anxiety and frustration for these car owners. They vent about traffic jams on State, which they blame on drivers using the street as an alternative to the adjacent Dan Ryan Expressway, plus motorists traveling to a nearby shopping center and a new Walmart. They express fears that the Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church, opening soon at 8522 S. Lafayette, will make parking more difficult.

“I have lived here my whole life and parking has never been a problem, especially on Sundays, but with this new church moving down the street that could change,” worries Angelo Holeman of the 8300 block of South State. The fact is, as Chicago’s population grows, there will be even less room for everyone to drive and park privately owned cars, which is why public transit projects like the Red Line rehab are so crucial.

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