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Parking "just for a minute"

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois

Parking "just for a minute"

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
September 7, 2008

Woodstock Square Parking

Saturday morning, Sept. 6, 2008

Farmer's Market on the Square

Lots of parking for customers of businesses on the Square - businesses that pay thousands of dollars in rent every year for permanent business space. Right? Wrong!

Suppose one of Woodstock's Finest had come along while the driver of this car was in Starbuck's. Would he have hung a parking ticket on her car? (Click to enlarge photo.) And how much would the fine have been for that ticket? Would it be "just" a parking ticket, like for parking too long in the 2-hour parking space?

Or would it be a higher-priced ticket for a different parking violation?

The parking consultants hired by the City made a suggestion of short-term Loading Zones on the Square. A "loading zone" might not be considered as available to the driver who wants to dash into Starbuck's (it won't be for "just a minute"; maybe 5-7 minutes). A car's driver is probably going to think that a "loading zone" is for a commercial vehicle.

How many blocks away from the Square would this driver have parked for her run to Starbuck's? The answer to that question is easy: "1/2"

Maybe the solution is to provide a few designated "10-minute parking" spaces near businesses where a driver (or passenger) might want to dash in for a quick purchase or pick-up.

Does the City "rent" space to Farmer's Market vendors for the use of public street parking spaces? What competition does this present for full-time merchants who are paying huge rents for Square business locations? Do the merchants really think it's fair? Is it really good for Square business?

Do full-time merchants see an increase in business because of the draw of the Farmer's Market? Or do their businesses suffer, because of the loss of parking spaces and the competition from temporary vendors?

Are merchants willing to stand up and say so, if their businesses are harmed by the Farmer's Market? What if the Farmer's Market were moved off the Square, say to the railroad depot (except on Tuesday morning) or to the old Farm & Fleet parking lot or to the lot north of Aldi's where rumor had it that Dominick's might build a store?

The voice of the merchants "could" be heard loudly through the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce - you know, that organization that is supposed to represent the interests of business. Ordinarily, a chamber of commerce represents business and is usually not so cozy in its relationship with government as we find here.

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