Parking fee increases and Borders on the brink

On Friday, I received one of the regular alerts from with breaking news. Two of the three stories included put a small damper of my day.


The first one was about the potential elimination of the first free hour of parking in downtown Oak Park garages:

The first hour of free parking in Oak Park public garages might disappear in 2012, as part of a package of parking rate hikes village hall is considering.

The article goes on to say that drivers would possibly be charged $1 for the first two hours of parking. I'm the last person to moan and groan about parking in Oak Park because compared to parking in the city, it's still a steal. And I'm not going to get all worked up and threaten to do all of my shopping at the Oakbrook Mall. But I will say that I do like being able to zip into the garage for a quick errand and zip out for free. Certainly not the end of the world, but definitely a bummer.


The second bit of less-than-happy news was about the Borders on Lake Street. Apparently, there's a chance that all their stores could be closing, including the one in Oak Park:

If Borders can't find a buyer to operate its bookstores this weekend, the chain's remaining locations might close, including the one in Oak Park.

While I have to admit that people like me are probably part of the reason for the demise of Borders (I've caught the e-books bug and when I do go to Borders, we mainly go to look at magazines), I feel like it's a pretty significant anchor store on Lake Street and the last thing Oak Park needs is another vacant storefront.

I can't imagine what retailer could fill that space -- given that we already have two pretty big, unoccupied storefronts just across Harlem in River Forest as well. And on a lighter note, where am I going to go on Friday nights when we're looking for something to occupy a few hours of our time?

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Comment by Jan K on July 23, 2011 at 12:16pm
Oooh, is an Apple store just wishful thinking? Seems that they're taking e-mail suggestions for new tenants as well.
Comment by Julie Spyrison on July 20, 2011 at 8:51am
Update....I found out from the Village of OP on Facebook that the old Walgreens is going to be a beauty supply we really need another beauty related store on this street?!?!?!  That being said, I wouldn't have minded an Ulta :-)

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Comment by Becca on July 20, 2011 at 7:28am
I always liked B&N better anyway.
Comment by Jan K on July 20, 2011 at 1:41am

Well, the last nail in the coffin arrived yesterday for Borders....this New Yorker article suggests that B&N may fill some of the former Borders locations...

Comment by Julie Spyrison on July 19, 2011 at 6:16am
The old Walgreens would be a good spot for Cost Plus World Market, with free parkling lot parking....although I think they themselves are having difficulty...A couple of years ago, they closed several stores, but I know that several remain open.
Comment by susan on July 18, 2011 at 7:53pm

Raising the parking fee is a big mistake in this climate where stores compete with the Internet for shoppers.  Yeah, Oak Park is cheaper than downtown, but those are two different markets. I never pay $ to shop in downtown, but rather for the theater. I would seriously re-consider trips that would require the parking garage and find other places to shop if I had to pay for parking.


Borders will be missed, expecially in towns that will most likely not have bookstores anymore.

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Comment by Becca on July 18, 2011 at 6:54pm
+1 Cost Plus World Market although there's some overlap with Pier One and a little with Trader Joe's in the food department.

Comment by Russ M on July 18, 2011 at 5:02pm

That Borders is going to be a tough space to fill.  I'd like to see a Cost Plus World Market there.   I don't think the traffic would be any worse than it is now. 

I don't get why people complain about the parking cost in Oak Park.  It cost like $2 dollars to park for two hours or so.   Seriously, if $2 bucks is too much my guess is that person isn't doing much shopping to begin with...The 1 hour free parking is nice, but if it is the difference between paying to park for 1 hour or raising my property taxes or taxing us somewhere else, I rather people pay to park personally.

Comment by Amanda on July 18, 2011 at 4:03pm
Comment by Julie Spyrison on July 18, 2011 at 3:04pm
To replace Borders......Target!!!  Although I know it would probably create a traffic nightmare :-)


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