HUMBOLDT PARK – The joy of Humboldt Park was on full display last weekend at the neighborhood’s annual Puerto Rican parade and festival. Thousands descended on the neighborhood for the celebration, waving Puerto Rican flags and honking their horns.
But for some who drove to the park, the party ended in frustration.
A total of 69 cars parked along Humboldt Park’s eponymous park were towed this weekend for violating parking restrictions, said Mimi Simon, a spokesman for the city’s Department of Streets and Sanitation. Of those, 43 cars were towed on Saturday and 26 on Sunday, a majority of them from North Avenue, Simon said.
Humboldt Park resident Connor Sullivan said he saw at least 15 cars being towed from North Avenue during Sunday night’s festivities.
“It really upsets me to see the city doing some good and making it inaccessible to the people who live in Humboldt Park,” Sullivan said. “Not only were they trying to take away parking, but by issuing tickets and towing cars, they are actively punishing the people of Humboldt Park for trying to participate in something that should be joyful.”
Cars were towed and drivers were given tickets while thousands partied throughout the weekend in the park and Humboldt Park. Division Street between Western Avenue and Humboldt Boulevard, along with all intersecting side streets, were closed to vehicular traffic, creating traffic jams in all directions and making parking in the area nearly impossible.
After a night of hanging out at the Puerto Rican festival with her two friends, Vanessa returned to her car on Saturday night to find he was missing.
Vanessa, who asked not to publish her last name, had parked on the south side of North Avenue near four or five other cars. She said there were no signs restricting parking, and a police officer nearby assured her she could park there legally. But when she arrived at the scene, the same officer confirmed that her car had been towed.
“I’ve lived in Chicago all my life and I know what the plates look like. That was very confusing,” she says.
Like Sullivan, Vanessa, a resident of neighboring Logan Square, said it’s disappointing for the city and the tow truck companies engaged in the Puerto Rican parade and festival, an event that draws people from all over the Midwest.
“It’s frustrating, especially for people who aren’t from the area. Your car is impounded, and then they rely on Uber to charge you,” she said.
Chicago police spokesman Rocco Alioto could not say how many tickets the police issued at this year’s parade and festival compared to previous years.
Vanessa said she’s contesting her $100 ticket, but she’s still lost $175, the cost of getting her car from the tow yard.
“Here I am just enjoying myself, in my own neighborhood, and this is what is happening,” she said.
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