Saturday, January 13, 2007

Madison Street businesses & parking

I spent my Saturday afternoon going to Madison Street businesses and talking to them.

The hottest issue was parking. At least some of the business owners feel that the issue pitted businesses versus home owners in the minds of the activists opposed to the recent parking proposal.

My perception of the activists opposed to the proposal is that they are upset with Mike Sturino and Calderone/Hosty/Gillian block on the village council. Admittedly, I talk to people who are more political. However, I have a hard time seeing residents as being anti-small business. Who lives near Madison Street who doesn't patronize at least one of the businesses?

Commissioner Mark Hosty is running for re-election. According to the website he's the First Vice President of the Forest Park Chamber of Commerce.

The Calderone/Hosty/Gillian block failed to deliver on their pro-business sentiments. Rather than seeing the residents as being anti-business, the Madison Street business community should see them as being rational actors.

If someone hatched a scheme to make Forest Park better that involved tearing down six Madison Street businesses the business community wouldn't be happy, right?

The village did at least a couple things wrong.

Instead of moving ahead secretly the village should have engaged residents earlier.

There should have been more than one option on the table. There are probably dozens of ways to increase parking. Why did the village settle on one and make it a take-it-or-leave-it proposition? It's hard to not suspect that the politically connected owners of Doc Ryan's were getting a sweetheart deal where a large chunk of the parking was going to be closer to their business than anyone else's.

And the deal further stunk when Sturino and Calderone brought in a law firm that gives large campaign contributions to Melrose Park Mayor Ron Serpico and was clearly over charging Forest Park.

Yes, let's improve the parking situation on Madison Street. But Mayor Calderone and Commissioner Hosty got a chance to work on the problem and they failed to get results.

Sometimes life requires more than good intentions.


Blogger johnt349 said...

I would like to know what is the real problem with Madison St. parking. Everyone talks about a problem but what is it really?
Is it a problem when you can't park in front of the store you're going to? Is it problem you have to turn off Madison and park on a side street? Is it problem when you have to walk more than a block when you'll walk for hours shopping in a mall? Is it problem when you have to walk two blocks to be able to sit for 3 hours while watching the Bears.

I wonder how many business owners and employees park on Madison St. or in the lots. Are they part of the "problem"?

A large percentage of residents don't need to use Madison St. parking, they can just walk. Are extra parking places only needed for lazy shoppers.
Are these problems just for out of towners that the buisnesses crave? If you live north of the Ike and drive to Madison St., shame on you.

What alternatives are being discussed that don't involve cars and parking? The "stop for pedestrians" signs are nice when someone stops, but traffic speeds are still too high. You know if drivers were going slower they would be able to notice the wide range of shops.
Why isn't more being done to promote biking or walking? There are very few bike racks along Madison St.

There is a huge open area behind the shops on the north side of Madison. I thinking about from Charter One Bank to the hardware store. If the village took this area no houses would have to demolished and if you tore down one business you would have a cut through in the middle of the block.

4:06 PM  
Blogger Carl Nyberg said...

I don't know the specific answer, but generally people like to be able to park "reasonably close" to their destination without spending an "excessive" amount of time looking for a spot.

The harder it is for customers to find parking the harder it is for businesses to attract customers.

2:24 PM  

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