38th ward to vote on truck street parking

November 2, 2012

Mike Kessler has lived in the 38th ward for the last 26 years, so he knows the rules. That includes the one that doesn’t allow him to park his pickup truck on the street. Otherwise he’ll get a ticket.

"No big deal, I park it in the garage," he said.

Residents in Chicago’s 38th ward will be voting this election on whether or not to allow pickup trucks and vans to park on residential streets. It's one of two wards in the city that still have these restrictions. According to Mike Brockway, local parking ticket expert or "geek," as he calls himself, the law’s original intent was to keep junk or commercial trucks off the street. But Kessler says the parking ban has caused some problems. 

Like this week, for example: Kessler’s son-in-law is moving  home from school and needed the truck.

"But when he gets here, he can’t park in front, he’ll just unload and we’ll put it in the garage," Kessler said.

And then there was that time his wife’s car got broken into....

"They busted the window, dented the door, ransacked the vehicle," Kessler said. "So she always says it’s my fault because she can’t park in the garage."

Alderman Tim Cullerton says he’s been getting a lot of calls and visits from angry truck drivers in the 38th ward, so he decided to put the issue on the ballot.

"Rather than me just making the decision on my own, I thought before I do that i thought it would be best to gauge the opinion of the people," Cullerton said.

The question on the ballot is as follows:

"Shall pickup trucks or vans weighing under 4,500 pounds whose owners have no outstanding parking violations be allowed to park at the curb adjacent to the owners place of residence in accordance with the rules and regulations stipulated in Sections 9-64-170, 9-64-090 and 9-100-020 of the City of Chicago Municipal Code?"

Mike Kessler says he actually sees both sides. On the one hand, he wouldn’t mind parking on the street. 

"I would love to do it,  I know my two brothers would love to do it, I know a lot of my neighbors would love to do it," he said.

But he’s worried more lax restrictions could bring commercial trucks into his neighborhood...

"Is the Fedex guy, the UPS guy, the mailman going to come home and park their trucks here?" Kessler added.  

The referendum is non-binding, so even if it gets the majority of voters support, trucks and vans can’t start parking on the streets Novemeber 7th. The actual ordinance would still need to be voted on by City Council.

For more information about pick-up truck parking in Chicago, check out the City Clerk's website.