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Some Businesses Welcome Free Sunday Parking

CHICAGO (STMW) -- Free Sunday street parking in Chicago neighborhoods is being welcomed by some Chicago area businesses and drivers, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

Parts of a dozen Chicago wards got free parking two weeks ahead of schedule on Sunday. The full switchover date to give drivers a reprieve from paying Chicago Parking Meters LLC on Sundays, had been slated for July 1.

The freebie is part of a deal negotiated by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in exchange for giving the company extended time for paid parking during the week.

Sarah Kraus, who stopped in Bronzeville to visit her daughter Sunday, is happy with the change.

"It should be free on Saturday, too," she said.

"That's great," said Barry White, who was shopping in Bronzeville with his 6-year-old daughter. He welcomes any reprieve.

Affected wards are the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 11th, 12th, 14th, 15th, 20th, 22nd, 23rd and 25th.

Mike Abdallah, manager of Dress Code Clothing Store on 47th Street in Bronzeville, said the change will be good for business.

"It's very expensive to pay the meter," he said. "It really hurts us."

"Nobody wants to pay for parking," said Tiffany Sledge, owner of a nearby party supply and decorating store, Joyous Occasions, who is pleased with the change.

"On 47th Street [meter enforcers] come so often," she said. "People get tickets all the time, so it actually hinders people from wanting to come to shop."

Some Chicago area business groups have expressed concern that parking spots won't turn over, making it harder for shoppers in some shopping corridors to find spots. But Bradley Jonas, owner of Powell's Bookstore in Hyde Park on East 57th Street, is not among them.

"Normally, on Sundays people can find non-metered parking anyway," he said.

Jackie Jackson, owner of Kilwins Chocolates & Fudge, an ice cream and chocolate shop on South Harper in Hyde Park, thinks her business will be helped.

"The average person that comes here, they don't stay that long," she said. "I think it's a phenomenal thing that they're offering free parking. "

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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