DEVELOPING: Parking Meter Wasteland
Something doesn’t seem right in the 2nd Ward.
Let me explain.
Back in late October, the city installed 1250 meters in what can only be called a parking dead zone, near the Illinois Medical District.
Allegedly, it had something to do with keeping people from abandoning vehicles or parking for extended periods of time in that area. But, in reality, there’s a school and a church, a few apartment buildings, but no retail businesses around there. In other words, there’s no reason to go there and park your car.
But now, even more meters are being installed in that general area. Hundreds and hundreds of them.
LAZ Parking employees were on the street inserting timing devices into the meter heads when I was there and hoped the meter installation would there by yesterday or today.
The story was brought to my attention by Carol Marin who is doing a story on this and other meter related issues for NBC 5 at 10:00 PM. Parking meters as far as the eye could see, and no cars there to park there. I tried to count them but I lost track after a while.
The city nor representatives from 2nd Ward Alderman Robert Fioretti’s office knew how many meters were being installed.
“You should have seen it before,” says Andy Pierce, a spokesman for Ald. Fioretti’s office. “When the meters went up, the cars stopped parking.”
But when I asked Pierce, why an expensive traffic congestion tool like parking meters, were being installed in large quantities to control a situation that could have been handled less expensively with signs and/or increased police patrols, he said, “Let me say it again, before meters, the area was jammed with cars. Meters changed the commuters behavior.”
The area in question is essentially between Ashland and Wood, and 13th and 15th streets. Generally blocks and blocks of parking meters for a wasteland of vacant lots.
Based on a cost of approximately $500 to install each meter, you’re looking at around a $1 million in hardware and no one to park there and feed the meters.
What kind of return on investment is that?
If the city is footing the bill for this when we already have a multi-million dollar budget hole this is an absolutely irresponsible expense.
If LAZ Parking is footing the bill, aren’t they going to be furious that they have to pay to install hundreds of meters that will NEVER generate income?
Well, maybe in 75 years.