Parking Meter Lease Deal Still Not Finalized

No Meter Increases Until February or March

Chicago drivers are getting a temporary reprieve on paying higher parking meter rates, courtesy of the lawyers.

That’s because the deal to privatize Chicago’s entire parking meter system to the new lessee, Chicago Parking Meter, LLC, has not closed yet.

It only took 72 hours for the city council to pass the ordinance privatizing Chicago’s parking meters on December 5, 2008.

And despite the the fact the ordinance allows for the transfer of this city asset to the lessee, and for meter rates and hours and days of operation to change on New Year’s Day, the deal is taking longer than expected to be finalized.  Effectively, the city is still in control of the parking meters until the lease contract closes.

“The deal hasn’t closed yet officially,” according to Chicago Department of Budget & Management spokesperson Peter Scales. “The ordinance said the new rates were effective January 1, but the city cannot enforce the new rates without new signage.”

Scales did not seem surprised by the delay, likening it to closing on buying a home.

“It’s just like closing on the contract for a house,” explained Scales. “Sometimes it takes longer than you hope.”

The upshot from the delay is that rates on parking meters will not even begin to be changed to the higher rates until sometime in February, according Scales.

“The earliest the work will begin is the end of the month,” said Scales. “But realistically, the work won’t begin until well into February.”

Scales admitted that with 36,000 plus meters in the system, it will take quite a bit of time to adjust all of them, but he did not have an estimate on how much time it will take to change over all the meters to reflect the new rates and days/time of enforcement.

But it doesn’t seem a stretch to think that it will not be until late March or even April before all the meters have been changed.

When the deal is finally signed, sealed and delivered, Scales says the first parking meters changed will be downtown, with workers moving outward into the neighborhoods.

This delay gives Chicago drivers a little bit of breathing room before Chicago moves into a new era of higher priced meters.

With perhaps four weeks until meters start being changed and a full eight weeks from now before all the meters have been modified, it gives drivers more time to start stockpiling quarters.

10 Responses to Parking Meter Lease Deal Still Not Finalized

  1. Price says:

    Geek,

    Will they be changing the stickers or signage before then? Or will we still be getting a break on Sundays?

  2. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    Good question Price.

    But NO! Nothing can move forward until the deal closes, effectively delaying work on ANYTHING, meter rates, days of enforcement, etc.

    So for now, Sundays are still free.

  3. Oh Really? says:

    In a rare show of city competence I think the meters on the 600 block of W Hubbard have already been re-labeled to 24 hour enforcement – at least as of 1/16. Wonder who the meter money goes to between now and when this deal “closes”? And did they sell off the new meters going into the lakefront parks this spring too?

  4. Dan says:

    Any chance this ridiculous and short-sighted deal could fall through?

  5. joe from chi says:

    Who will enforce meters owned by a private company that do not get fed?

  6. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    Dan-

    Since the city has basically already cashed the big ass $1.16 billion dollar check, I would say there’s no chance in hell this deal is going to fall through.

  7. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    Joe-

    The city will still be in charge of all parking enforcement. Nothing changes on that side of things.

  8. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    Oh Really,

    Thanks for the tip. I will look into that.

    Of course, in the meantime, the city keeps all the quarters they can stuff in their pockets until the deal is finalized.

    The lakefront meters, as far as I can tell are part of the deal as well. But something I would like to confirm.

    Damn good questions!!! Thanks!

  9. Lynn Stevens says:

    I understand from the alderman that city metered parking lots like the one by the Logan Square el have already ceased having monthly passes available. Shortly after New Year’s I noticed the I-Go cars parked there with more than one ticket on their windshields. Just one of those things that were easy to overlook in the push/rush to pass this crazy deal.

  10. [...] No official word, but it looks like the parking meter lease deal is STILL not finalized. It was supposed to close this week. Thanks goes out to all you lawyers finalizing the deal. Keep [...]

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