Shoulder Parking at O’Hare May Soon Result in a Fine

You arrive at Chicago O’Hare Airport to pick up your passenger. The flight is to arrive at 5:30 PM, but traffic was extra light, or you decided to leave early—so you make it there at 5 PM. Winning

But what can you do? Anyone who has traveled to O’Hare knows that you cannot pull up to Arrivals and just wait 45 minutes while your passenger makes their way out. Those monitoring the area will immediately shoo you along, insisting you MUST keep it moving. And don’t you DARE leave your vehicle—it will absolutely be towed!

Many drivers, seeing others do it, decide to sit on the shoulder nearby, approaching the terminal, or off I-90—or even on Mannheim Road. They await their beloved’s call of arrival and head to the terminal after notification.

Well, this practice might just result in a fine, say Illinois lawmakers.

The Problem

Drivers find a free perch on the expressway shoulders near O’Hare International Airport, waiting for their passenger to contact them and confirm they are ready.

“Counted 51 cars from getting off at 294, circling around up to the toll booth,” said Rep. Brad Stephens. “We’re trying to change some behavior and ensure our roadways are safe. We’re waiting for a disaster to happen, and I think we need to address it. O’Hare provides some fairly nice and conveniently located cell phone lots within the airport itself.”

He gave the grim scenario of a mother picking up her college kid for the holidays. “They’re waiting on the side of the road. The windows get fogged up. Junior sends a text saying ‘I’m waiting at this door.’ They jut out and get smeared by a semi.”

“O’Hare is one of the busiest airports in the country,” said Harmon, D-Oak Park, in a statement. “With thousands of cars coming through daily, obstructions on the roadway present a threat to drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.”

Illinois State Police agree that “parking on the shoulder where prohibited is not only dangerous but against the law,” Trooper Melissa Albert-Lopez told the Daily Herald previously. “These stopped vehicles then enter the lane of traffic in front of other vehicles and create dangerous situations, increasing the likelihood of a crash.”

The Proposal

Spearheaded by Rosemont Mayor/Republican state Rep. Brad Stephens, The O’Hare Driver Safety Act (HB5408) cleared the IL General Assembly with a 106-1 vote on April 18th and a 50-5 Senate vote on Thursday, May 16th. It is now awaiting IL Governor J.B. Pritzker’s signature.

The verbiage:

“Provides that a person operating a motor vehicle shall not stop or stand the person’s vehicle on a shoulder of a highway along traffic routes within a one-half mile radius of: (1) the eastern entrance to O’Hare International Airport; and (2) the intersection of Interstate 90 and Interstate 294 (rather than a 2-mile radius surrounding O’Hare International Airport). Requires the Illinois Toll Highway Authority to install and maintain automated traffic safety systems…” (cameras).

Drivers found in violation will be subject to a $100 fine for each occurrence of being parked on the highway’s shoulder lanes. Exceptions from tickets are for drivers stopping for emergencies or yielding to emergency vehicles. More information about the new bill can be found [HERE].

There are Solutions

Carefully plan your pickup. Check the flight status and use applications that will identify your arrival time to O’Hare Airport. Have the passenger text or call when they have landed, and make a plan for communication when the luggage has been retrieved and the passenger is on their way to the curbside.

Use the Cell Phone Lot

O’Hare has a free cell phone lot at 560 N Bessie Coleman Drive.

Kiss n’ Fly

Located at the Multi-Modal Facility, 10255 W. Zemke Blvd., board the Airport Transit System (ATS) for a short ride to and from all terminals.

Fellowship Fleet Limousine and Bus Company

Avoid shoulder-waiting and tickets. Let Fellowship Fleet Limousine and Bus Company provide your transportation. With closely monitored flight information, we will be at the appropriate pickup location, ready to assist you with your luggage and take you to your destination. For an airport transfer or any other upcoming transportation needs, click [HERE] and make your reservation. 


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