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Parking woes still an issue in Old Orland Historic District

The corner of 143rd Street and Union Avenue in the Old Orland Historic District

The corner of 143rd Street and Union Avenue in the Old Orland Historic District

Village officials agree something needs to be done about the shortage of parking in the Old Orland Historic District.

“There’s not enough parking; people are parking everywhere,” Village Trustee Ed Schussler said at a recent Village Board committee meeting. The problem has only gotten worse since the opening of a a new bar at 143rd Street and Union Avenue in March.

Schussler zeroed in on the historic district’s parking problems April 16 during Village Development Services Director Karie Friling’s presentation to the board’s Development Services and Planning Committee on “technical and clean-up” changes to the municipal land-use ordinance.

Old Orland, which offers a mix of historic homes and boutique shopping, was characterized by a village planner as notoriously low on parking when village plan commission members first considered Vincent Tuohy’s plans for the Irish Patriot Pub at 9675 143rd St.

Tuohy’s plan did little to improve on the previous tenant’s parking arrangements, which had provided residents and patrons with seven parking spaces at the business and the use of an adjacent business’ parking area. Tuohy reduced parking demands slightly by eliminating the building’s apartments. But he converted an adjacent piece of land south of the building that had been used – without permission – for parking into an outdoor dining area. The village sold him the vacant property after approving his plans.

 Schussler, who chairs the development-related committee, warned that current parking limitations would undercut village efforts to lure new businesses to the district southwest of the intersection of 143rd Street and LaGrange Road without “some kind of compromise” among businesses.

Friling said the owners of parking lots in Old Orland – many of them used only during the day – need to open those areas to businesses with more patrons than parking.

“There really is enough parking available,” she said. “We just have to get everyone to work together.”

Committee member Carole Griffin Ruzich said Tuohy has a verbal agreement with a nearby antique shop to use its parking area, but hasn’t gotten the word to his customers.

Schussler said the Metra parking lot at 144th Street, which allows free after-hours parking, represents another untapped resource. But he acknowledged the pedestrian light at 143rd and Union ”is not pedestrian friendly.”

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