Employees in downtown Carbondale want free parking - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Employees in downtown Carbondale want free parking

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CARBONDALE, Ill. -- People who work on "the Strip" in Carbondale are tired of paying to park to go to work, and they are hoping to change that. They've started an online petition that has already accumulated nearly 450 signatures. 

Nick Smaligo, a baker at Cristaudo's, organized the petition.

"People that make Carbondale's 'Strip' function, make downtown function, and we don't think we should have to pay to go to work," Smaligo said. 

The petition aims to make parking free for employees in downtown Carbondale. 

"It's just insulting because we work hard to make this city what it is," Smaligo said. 

The petition, called "We're sick of having to pay to park to work" goes on to say that a person who works a typical 40-hour work week will pay about $250 a year to park. The petition proposes a system where the city gives free parking passes to employers who will then pass them on to their employees. 

"It adds up, especially because most people are making near or at minimum wage," Smaligo said, "And as I keep emphasizing it, it's just the principal of it, you know. Just paying for work, just paying for work is something that no one wants to do."

Keri Elmore is a stylist at Salon Euphoria. She says the meters are not only costly, but also incovenient, because she may be busy with a client at the time her meter is about to expire.

"You're in the middle of your shift, like here we can do things for three hours to people, and say, 'oh I need to hurry up and pay a quarter,'" Elmore said. 

No one was available to talk on camera from the City of Carbondale on Thursday, but the City's Public Relations Officer, Amy Fox, sent News 3 a statement on behalf of the city in response to the parking petition. 

"The City of Carbondale is aware of the parking petition circulating around the community. We continually evaluate and assess the needs of the community and make changes when necessary. At any time, a group can come to a City Council meeting and present their case. Ultimately, the decision to allow free parking is a decision that will need to be made by City Council." 

Fox also included a fine schedule along with the statement. 

"Rates are $0.25 per hour, except the Amtrak Lot (Lot 12) which is a daily rate of $2. Permits are available for $8 per week or $25 per month. Permits are not available for Lots 8, 14 and 24. Those lots are strictly a pay per use at the meter or kiosk on site."

The petition has not been discussed at a city council meeting yet, but Smaligo hopes it will be in the near future.

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