With this pioneering blog post I’m going to feature a photograph taken by someone else. Though I haven’t been to this exact location, I have visited the city and I think many of us have witnessed this sort of predicament at some point. The photo was taken by Krzysztof Hanusiak in
Trying to decipher it is akin to solving one of the logic questions one might see on a standardized test. I have blogged before on the artistry of on-street parking management in specific urban locations , and signage such as this suggests to me the accrual of multiple regulations applied over time. Here are my speculations:
- The “No Parking Any Time” applies to every space meeting a certain condition, possibly to allow bus idling, or maybe there is a curb-cut out of sight from the camera that offers automobile access to the shopping plaza to the right.
- The Tow Zone applies to another condition, possibly to eliminate loitering or trespassing in an area for which there is no reason cars should be parked at night.
- The to restricts parking during what is apparently a morning routine, most likely truck merchandise unloading, though—at significantly lower frequency than daily—it could also allow for street cleaning.
- The three hour restriction prevents certain visitors from monopolizing the on-street parking or from using the spaces as a car depository while they take care of business elsewhere in the city.
Clearly I could speculate on this until I’m blue in the face. Chances are these restrictions existed as separate legislative acts, applied methodically where the street and building conditions suited their respective restrictions. The reason behind the restrictions doesn’t really matter; what’s interesting is how they all come together at this precise location, like the fusion of multiple circles in a Venn diagram. The only problem is they don’t come together at all.
So who can park here? This much signage in aggregate has the effect of discouraging on-street parking altogether—not something you want to do in a suburb that generally favors the automobile but still accommodates the pedestrian better than the newer suburbs farther away from the city of Chicago. While the density is nowhere near as high as that of Chicago as a whole, the city represents a generally fluid transition in neighborhood vernacular from the comparatively middle class, white neighborhoods of northwest Chicago that abut Park Ridge to the south, such as Edison Park. While the homes in
Thus, in some ways,
At this point it might seem easy to ask, “You get all of this from a single photograph?” It probably is a stretch on my part, but I am convinced that town planners should watch the effectiveness of on-street parking like a hawk, because general availability and cost can exert a profound influence on pedestrian counts, which in turn influences the type of retail that locates nearby, or whether retail chooses to locate there at all. In this case, the City of