Park District Meters Installation Well Underway

This summer beach goers will need more than suntan lotion and a towel to swim at Chicago’s lakefront. This year, you’ll need to bring quarters for parking meters.

The Chicago Park District and Standard Parking have announced that new parking meters are in the midst of being installed at beachfront locations along Lake Michigan.

To regular readers of this website, this is old news as these pay and display meters had already been installed and operational at eight select locations as of last fall. This included lots located at:

  • 63rd St./Hayes & Lake Shore Dr.
  • Broadway Armory
  • South Shore Cultural Center
  • 63rd St. Beach House
  • Jackson Park Driving Range
  • Loyola Park (2 lots)
  • 31st St. Beach

While free parking at park district lots seem gone forever, meter rates are considerably less than meters on Chicago streets. From 9 AM – 9 PM, park or beach visitors will pay $1 per hour. From 9 PM – 9 AM, the meters only cost $0.25 per hour, where parks are open. Many parks close at 11 PM.

These new meters operate similarly to street meters. Park district parking meters are pay and display type machines where you pay for time and then display the meter receipt on your dashboard.

However, with these machines, you input how much time you want to pay for initially and the machine tells you how much money you need to pay.

Unlike city street meters, where you can pay for small fractions of time, a single hour is the smallest increment of time you can purchase. However, there is no time restriction like city meters where two hours is the norm. In the park district lots, you can pay for as many hours as you like.

Again, unlike street pay and display machines, you have more payment options. Not only do the machines take quarters, but nickels and dimes. It also takes paper bills and credit cards. These multiple payment options certainly is an improvement over street meters.

According to the Chicago Park District, only 1500 of the planned 4400 metered spaces are operational as of right now. Over the course of the next weeks through sometime in June, the rest of the planned lots to be metered will be completed. This includes:

  • 39th St. & Lake Shore Drive
  • 55th St. & South Shore Drive
  • Hayes Street Boat Launch
  • Hayes and Cornell
  • Museum of Science and Industry (2 lots)
  • Rainbow Beach Lots
  • Waveland & Lake Shore Dr.
  • Foster & Simonds
  • Montrose Harbor
  • Wilson & Lake Shore Dr.
  • 47th Street & Cornell

These new metered spaces are estimated to bring in an additional $1.5 million for the park district.

And don’t forget, just like metered spaces on Chicago city streets, an expired meter ticket will cost you $50.

If you need more information, you can check out the new Park District Parking website and/or you can call the 24 hour a day customer service number 877-638-3716.

Thanks to Vernon Bell for the photo from one of the the Museum of Science & Industry lots.

13 Responses to Park District Meters Installation Well Underway

  1. Harley Rider says:

    Since nobody rides motorcycles to the park I guess that peel-off and stick receipts are out of the question. I’m being sarcastic.

  2. SS says:

    I find it curious though that the city will be doing the ticketing. CPD is a separate government. How can the City of Chicago legally take on doing it’s dirty work? I see another lawsuit coming.

  3. [...] electronic meters are starting to be installed in park district parking lots. The good news is, they’re much cheaper than street [...]

  4. Me 1 says:

    What happen to the Burham Plan? We need a class action lawsuit. The Parks should be Free to the people of Chicago

  5. DoR Employee says:

    I seriously hope Management doesn’t want us to sweep the parks.

    While it would be simple for those PEA’s that are on Bike Patrol…my legs and knees have enough to deal with just walking a regular beat without having to deal with a Park District Parking lot.

    And SS….curious…where didi you get that information from that the Chicago Parks District is separate from the City of Chicago?

    I see the Police patrolling through the parks daily.

  6. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    It is my understanding PEAs would have no jurisdiction in the parks. Cops only at this point.

  7. Fast Car says:

    DoR, I’m not SS but I’ll try to answer the question.

    I don’t know how much you trust Wikipedia but in their entry regarding Chicago Park District, it states that they are formed by IL State Statutes and are a separate agency (or sister agency) of the City of Chicago.

    If you don’t trust Wiki, you can read the ILCS from the ILGA that created the Chicago Park District here:

    CPD absorbed Chicago Park District Police in 1957 so the current CPD has been “charged” with patrolling Park District property. This is similar to the CHA police absorbtion and the subsequent CPD patrolling CHA and also CTA PD being absorbed by CPD and why CPD has a CTA detail.

    if you look at NYPD, they absorbed Central Park police and that is why NYPD patrols Central Park. MTA PD is still in existance and that’s why NYPD is not charged with patrolling the NYC subways and buses. NYC also has the Port Authority PD which is charged with the waterways, bridges, tunnels, etc.

    So in conclusion, the Chicago Park District is a separate entity and not “technically” a city agency. it derives its power and existence from IL state and collects its own portion of the property tax. the City still has power over the Parks because the mayor appoints the board which oversees the Park District administration. So all in all, the state has strict rules governing what the park District can and cannot do and the city (mayor) technically can’t change anything that is laid out in the ILCS, but then again, we are talking about Mayor Daley. You asked, but I’m certain that you are probably as confused as I am now as to who the hell is the Chicago Park District. =)

  8. Fast Car says:

    the Chicago Board of Education is also separate from the City of Chicago in case you were wondering. CPD also patrols Chicago Board of Ed (all public schools) property. Once again, in NYC, there is a separate PD for the NYC public schools.

  9. SS says:

    What he said. Ha!

    Really, I just knew, mostly because it appears as a separate taxing entity on my property tax bill.

    But from Fast Car’s elaboration, it seems that Chicago police could enforce under that long ago agreement (if Chicago police were writing parking tickets any more), but not DoR employees or other city hired people.

  10. DoR Employee says:

    Well..what do you bet that Da Mayor figures a way to annex the jurisdiction so that the Police can be more “visible” in other areas?

  11. Jeff says:

    Alderman blames parking lot for riot at Montrose beach:,0,3748178.story


    Meanwhile, Ald. James Cappleman, whose 46th Ward includes Montrose Beach, praised Sunday evening’s police response but expressed concern that nearby Chicago Park District parking lots allow large crowds to gather at Montrose Beach more easily than at other lakefront beaches.

    “Look at Oak Street Beach. Do you see this many parking spots there? Look at Lincoln Park. There just aren’t this many parking spots in such a concentrated area in other parts of the city,” Cappleman said. “I want the Park District and the police department to come up with a plan to discourage that many people from driving down there and parking.”

    Yeah right. Parking is the problem here. That’s the ticket.

    Somehow I don’t think the Alderman’s memory is so reliable. Weren’t there a huge problems last summer with a violent gathering at North Avenue beach. Not a lot of parking spaces there.

  12. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    Jeff, etal,

    Our friends at Streetsblog concur with Ald. Cappleman.

    Sure, less parking spots = less violent crime.

    It’s sooooo obvious!!!! Why hasn’t law enforcement and city leaders recognized this before? If we eliminate ALL parking spots everywhere, crime would just disappear.

    Let’s do it!!!

  13. Jeff says:


    According to the Streetbloggers:

    1. Parking lots cause crime (as opposed to the criminals themselves, or the lack of police response that should have shut down an illegal music festival, with no security staff, before it predictably spun out of control);

    2. Montrose beach goers should leave their cars behind, and instead take the Red Line to Wilson, and then haul their beach gear, coolers, grills, umbrellas, vollyeball sets, and toddlers/babies some 15 blocks (a 20 minute walk) to the beach.

    And these are the numb-nuts who think they have the answer for what to do with North Lakeshore Drive.

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