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posted: 5/18/2012 8:19 AM

Arlington Heights cuts parking fees for downtown workers

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If you are a shopper in downtown Arlington Heights, you have to search for a parking spot in areas that are also meant for commuters, merchants and workers.

A complex system of parking rules governing them all got just a little more complicated this week when the village board decided people who can prove they work downtown can get half-price passes for certain areas called daily fee parking.

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The changes are expected to be finalized at the board meeting Monday, May 21.

The village has struggled for decades with refereeing the needs of various types of parkers, and their use of four public parking garages and several lots. This parking system comes at an annual cost of $1 million, which parking fees and fines are supposed to fund, leaving property taxes untouched.

The general idea is that shoppers get first dibs, parking for free on the streets for two hours and in the most convenient garage slots for three -- soon to be four -- hours. On-street parking is unlimited after 7 p.m. until 2 a.m. daily and all day Sunday.

Under previous rules, downtown workers as well as commuters were supposed to buy $30 monthly passes or pay $1.50 a day for designated parking in garages or lots. However, that really is only for the morning as daily fee spots are free after noon.

In recent weeks, village trustees have listened to the plight of downtown employees, especially those working part time, who said they could not afford $30 a month, and to merchants who said customers can't find parking when workers take the free spots.

If the cut in downtown employees' monthly rate proves too costly for the system, one option would be increasing the rate for spots closest to the train station to $2 a day, up 50 cents, village staff said.

Parking rules and a map showing where the different types of parking are on the parking page of the village's website, vah.com.

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