Parking meter protest on Commercial Ave.

August 5, 2009 (CHICAGO) At issue- the cost of parking along the street.

The protestors- community members and Centro Communitario Juan Diego-- staged a sit-in against the new parking meter boxes that were supposed to be installed along the 87th and 88th blocks of Commercial Ave.

Two of the protestors were arrested.

"A lot of people are unemployed. A lot of people are single family, low income or retired, limited income and so they don't have the money to spend a dollar for an hour," said Stephanie Puente, Centro Communitario Juan Diego.

South Chicago Chamber Of Commerce spokesperson Neil Bosanko and Alderman John Pope have stated time and time again that parking meters will benefit the local economy.

"You've got to have a turnover of customers. You've got to have easy accessible parking to run into the restaurant to pick up your order," said Neil Bosanko, South Chicago Chamber Of Commerce.

"It's so close to the Indiana border, it's cheaper to drive over there," said Vanessa Porraz, cell phone store worker.

The alderman for the area did not return calls despite ABC7's attempts to reach him. His department had no comment.

"I understand our economy is the way it is. When the steel mills were here it was a lot different. But also got to understand from the business point of view where it's a necessity for the businesses, especially in this struggling economy," said Eduardo Pena, business owner and resident.

This issue of parking meters goes back for decades on Commercial Ave, as well as most neighborhood retail shopping districts in the city. Available parking spaces on the street have been a controversial issue for business owners, shoppers and residents .

The South Chicago Chamber Of Commerce said special consideration will be given to residents who live above the businesses; they will be given special permits and will not be charged for overnight parking.

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