Parking with Peace of Mind
March 18, 2006 10:52 PM   Subscribe

Help! I need to know where it's safe to park in Lincoln Park, Chicago. The last time I rented a car...

The last time I rented a car, I woke up early to feed the meter only to find it towed when I went back out a couple of hours later. (doubtful that there was a full 2 inches of snow...) There are signs everywhere and each one seems to be a trap that requires careful dodging. Does anyone have any resources or tips so that I can park with peace of mind? I'll be visiting mid May from Thursday to Monday- fyi, just in case they have rules for every month AND day of the week. Do I need permits or stickers? One friend told me that there are areas where the W-E streets are safe and the N-S streets are free for towing. How is anyone supposed to know that?!? I'm grateful for any help you can give. The more specific the better. You can even suggest sections of certain streets that are safe and at what times etc. All info is welcome. Thank you Mefites and particularly Chicago/ LP Mefites!
posted by auntbee to Travel & Transportation around Chicago, IL (10 answers total)
You can only get a permit/sticker if you live in the area, not if you're just visiting. There are no tips or tricks besides reading very carefully--plan to drive around for awhile before you find a spot.
posted by gramcracker at 11:01 PM on March 18, 2006

I can't help with the specific questions, but you're not the first to complain about the Lincoln Park Pirates.
posted by maurice at 3:10 AM on March 19, 2006

If you have a friend who lives in the area where you'll be parking, she should be able to get temporary permits for you from the alderman's office. The temporary permits are good for one day only, so if you're going to be there more than one day, be sure to put in a new permit after the first day. More info here.
posted by smich at 7:27 AM on March 19, 2006

Ditto smich. That, or find a garage.
posted by MeetMegan at 5:02 PM on March 19, 2006

If you want to park on a residential street that requires parking permits, you can get a temporary permit, like smich said. If you can do it, that's the safest bet in terms of not getting towed or ticketed.

If that's not possible, I'd recommend finding a street that allows 24-7 parking without a city sticker. I know off the top of my head that anything east of Broadway, from Addison to Diversey, is fair game. That's in the Lakeview neighborhood, just north of Lincoln Park. It can be hard to find a spot, but if you check between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., you'll probably find something. Try the small north-south side streets just south of Belmont (Hudson, Pine Grove and Cambridge). When I lived over there and didn't have a parking spot, I'd leave my car on the side streets for days/weeks and never had problems.

Only catch: Make sure that the street you're parking on won't have street cleaning while you're parked there. Here's the street-cleaning schedule for the 43rd Ward (most of Lincoln Park). Here's the 44th Ward schedule (Lakeview). Note that the Web schedules are sometimes inaccurate.

One more quick tip: Make sure your rental car has Illinois plates. The towing companies discriminate against out-of-staters.

But beyond this scary towing stuff...Enjoy your visit to Chicago! Hope this helps.
posted by adrian_h at 6:52 PM on March 19, 2006

Wouldn't parking all the way in Lakeview kind of defeat the purpose of having a car? Wouldn't auntbee spend a lot of time/money on public transportation/cabs getting from Lakeview to Lincoln Park, making the rental essentially useless?
posted by MeetMegan at 8:10 PM on March 19, 2006

I had an out-of-state car and didn't have any problem parking in my Uptown neighborhood on most of the streets - the streets on North Marine near Foster Ave tend to be restrictive only for street parking. So, it's possible to find, it's just a pain in the ass to do so, as is, I'm certain, getting alderman-office-issued permits.

However, I am wondering - since you'll be in Lincoln Park, and will have access to all sorts of public transportation and any number of cabs available at a moment's notice - why bother renting? Why not ditch the rental and just use what's out there instead of worrying about parking?
posted by cajo at 8:19 PM on March 19, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! I'll look into all the suggestions here.

adrian_h, wow! Thanks for the street cleaning schedule. Lots of good tips! I won't be all that far from the areas you've mentioned so it'll definitely be something I'll keep in mind when driving around for parking. Thanks!

cajo, this is true, but the thing is I'll have different family members staying in different areas of Chicago, as far out as Evanston and some other places. Also, I'm not quite sure who or what my dad will want to see during this visit-- I do know that he wants access to a car though.

I heard that parkling on Clark was safe too. Is this true?

Thank you and keep the tips coming!
posted by auntbee at 11:59 PM on March 19, 2006

MeetMegan: The walk from Lakeview to Lincoln Park really isn't that far, depending on which parts of Lakeview and which parts of Lincoln Park. Of course, I'm a city person and tend to walk everywhere, so my concept of "walking distance" may be different than yours. :)

auntbee: I'm not sure parking on Clark would be a good idea. It's a busy(ish) street and has metered parking throughout Lincoln Park (e.g. from North Ave. north to Diversey). You could find a metered spot there for a couple of *hours*, but not long-term. You could try Stockton Dr., which is a block east of Clark and goes past Lincoln Park Zoo -- no meters there.
posted by adrian_h at 8:30 AM on March 22, 2006

Well, I wouldn't recommend a visitor to walk around aimlessly. That's kind of what I was getting at. I live in the city as well, and I really do walk everywhere.
posted by MeetMegan at 2:43 PM on March 23, 2006

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