Efforts to ease a parking crunch in downtown Libertyville by creating more spaces on the east side of Milwaukee Avenue have been stymied and the focus has shifted to the west side of the busy downtown street.
"We looked at a number of sites on the east side, and we haven't made any progress," Village Administrator Kevin Bowens said.
Information recently compiled by village staff shows there are 666 public and street parking spaces on the west side of Milwaukee Avenue in the downtown area, compared to 321 on the east side.
Four areas had been considered on the east side: between Newberry Avenue and School Street; the surface lot used by Cook apartments; the area behind what had been Mickey Finn's Brewery; and the AT&T/Harris Bank lot south of Church Street.
"I think we've exhausted the properties we can acquire. We really don't own much property," Bowens said.
Providing adequate parking downtown has been a continuing goal of the village for several years. Half of the mission was accomplished with the opening in September 2009 of a 360-space parking deck at Lake Street and Brainerd Avenue, and the subsequent reconfiguration and overhaul of surface parking nearby.
Funds from a special taxing district established for downtown improvements were used for those projects and are still being collected, with about $2.1 million currently available for future parking projects.
While parking is always a priority for the village, the need to act is becoming more urgent with the arrival in recent years of several restaurants and more planned.
With the east side options apparently exhausted, three possibilities on the west side of Milwaukee Avenue are under preliminary review: adding another level to the existing parking deck; or, building a deck on the village-owed area south of the Civic Center or on property a bit further south owned by the First Presbyterian Church.
Walker Parking Consultants, which has done previous studies for the village, is studying the various possibilities, Bowens said.
"Then we evaluate the options," he said.