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Parking Rules, Frequent Tickets Draw Frustration In Oak Park, And It's Not A New Problem

OAK PARK, Ill. (CBS) -- The dreaded parking ticket – it's enough to ruin your day.

One viewer was so peeved that he called us out to his suburb to survey the signs. And CBS 2's Lauren Victory discovered that man was hardly the only one in town frustrated with parking rules.

Construction brings a roar in Oak Park, but the noise is not what's disturbing the peace. The parking rules are.

"With the sign saying there's no parking from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m., I have to get up at 5:50 in the morning," said Chris Mysyk.

A sleepy Mysyk obediently moves his car every morning and night to avoid any more parking fines.

"First winter, already got a couple tickets," he said.

The suburban newcomer got dinged for parking on a side street overnight in February. He sent a picture of the sign banning parking during a snowstorm on his normal street, along with proof it had snowed several inches, to the Village of Oak Park.

His appeal was denied. He had to pay $43 because he didn't park within his zone – where again, parking was not allowed because of the snow.

"That upset me, because their reasoning is in direct contradiction with the signs as their posted," Mysyk said.

The village said snow emergency rules weren't in effect when Mysyk received the ticket in question. CBS 2 was referred to a web page filled with frequently asked questions.

We were told, "The snow emergency parking rules have been in place in Oak Park for decades."

Apparently, so have complaints.

On the City-Data message board, someone posted an Oak Park parking rant back in 2011. It has been read more than 42,000 times. The resident who wrote it, who said they had moved from the West Loop to Oak Park recently at the time, said friends were having such a hard time parking in Oak Park that they were loath to visit.

On Reddit two years ago, someone posted a rant to the Near West Suburbs subreddit titled, "To Hell with Oak Park Parking." That resident reported receiving three tickets totaling $120 within a period of a year.

"And this morning I wake up and there's five cars ticketed on my block and yet every morning (including this morning) the street is at least half empty," the resident wrote. "Plus the regulations all over town make it difficult if not impossible to do things like patronize the local small businesses that our city leaders are always swooning over and congratulating themselves for allowing to exist."

And in an October 2019 letter to the editor in the Wednesday Journal, 33-year Oak Park resident Liz Thompson wrote that the "suckage" was getting worse when it came to parking.

"In the past six weeks, I have had to contest two parking tickets garnered while patronizing local restaurants and businesses," she wrote. "Even at the advanced age of 57, I am quite capable of using Passport, our parking app. And I did so on both occasions, only to receive tickets."

And in March 2021, the complaints continue.

"More than anything, I just feel that it's unfair," Mysyk said.

Hopefully, Mysyk and the rest of us are done with snowstorms this year. But just in case. Mysyk said: "The village told me that I can use one of my guest passes. You're only allotted so many of those and I had used them, so then you have to pay for an overnight pass."

That overnight pass costs $7 a night to use a side street – on top of the hundreds he already coughs up to keep his car in Oak Park – or not.

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