Mundelein scrapping overnight parking plan

Mundelein officials are scrapping a plan for new overnight parking restrictions, saying the proposal would be complicated and too costly to implement.

It also faced criticism from residents who either wanted unfettered access to overnight street parking or didn't like the plan as proposed.

Mayor Steve Lentz publicly announced the proposal at a village board meeting two weeks ago. A vote was scheduled for this Monday, but instead Lentz will ask the board to direct village staffers to re-examine the issue, including the town's current street parking rules.

"It's going to take time to do that," Lentz said. "We're going to slow down, and if we do anything we're going to do it right."

Under Lentz's proposal, people would have been asked to park on the side of the street with odd-numbered addresses between 3 and 5 a.m. on odd-numbered dates, and on the even side of the street for those two hours on even-numbered dates.

The plan followed Police Chief Eric Guenther's call this summer for some sort of an overnight parking ban as a way to minimize auto burglaries and improve fire trucks' access to residential areas, among other benefits.

After Since Lentz announced the plan, officials discovered that many of the town's streets already have various parking restrictions, and some of those would be contradicted by the proposed new rules.

Additionally, the cost of creating and installing the street signs needed to tell drivers about the alternate-side rules would be greater than initially expected, Lentz said.

Posting signs at the ends of every block in town "adds up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in materials, plus the labor from the public works department," Lentz said.

The public was against the change, too.

Lentz said village officials received about 12 emails from people about the plan, and the feedback was predominantly negative.

Some people wanted a complete ban on overnight parking and didn't like the odd/even compromise. Others opposed any sort of parking ban.

Adding up all those factors, Lentz said he is "uncomfortable" moving the plan forward.

So on Monday, he'll ask the board to direct staffers to review the village's current parking rules and develop modifications and an enforcement strategy.

Trustee Dakotah Norton supports re-examining the parking issue.

"The amount of community concern over the topic shows we haven't gotten the answer right yet," Norton said.

Norton said he hopes village hall can come up with a plan that appeases more people. He was particularly concerned about the array of existing - and sometimes conflicting - parking restrictions in town.

"We need to find one solution that will work for everybody," he said.

Trustee Ray Semple doesn't think that's possible, however. He thinks parking should be regulated neighborhood by neighborhood, based on street widths, proximity to schools and other issues.

"I truly don't think there is any single solution that's going to work for everybody," Semple said. "Passing a blanket ordinance just causes problems for a lot of people."

Monday's meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. at village hall, 300 Plaza Circle.

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