Chicago Clinches Title For Nation’s Highest Parking Meter Rates
Downtown Meter Rates Hit $6.50 Per Hour January 1st
Another year, another parking meter price hike.
Chicago motorists will celebrate the start of 2013 by ringing a fifth consecutive year of parking meter rate increases, further insuring the Windy City retains its title for the nation’s most expensive parking meters.
Back in December, 2008 the city council approved a privatization deal put together by then Mayor Richard Daley, which leased the city’s metered parking spaces to a private firm for $1.16 billion dollar. But as part of that 75-year agreement, the city agreed to allow meter rates to rise annually for the contract’s initial five years, ultimately making Chicago’s downtown rates the highest in nation.
“Five years later, I still talk to people and businesses that still get upset about it,” said Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd), who led the fight against the meter privatization five years ago. “When they see rates go up, it reminds them how bad the deal is in perpetuity.”
Just four years ago, most parking meters were just a paltry 25 cents per hour. In just over a week though, rates will rise 25 cents an hour in most neighborhoods from the current $1.75 to $2.00, while second tier pricing in what’s considered the Central Business District (neighborhoods adjacent to the Loop like River North, Gold Coast, South Loop), prices will go up 50 cents per hour from $3.50 to $4.00 . Downtown parking meters will see the largest increase, jumping up 75 cents an hour and moving from the current $5.75 per hour to a whopping $6.50 per hour.
Some Chicago drivers were surprised rates were going up again in 2013.
“I didn’t know it was being raised,” said a woman who only gave her name as Angela, feeding a parking meter paybox on Lincoln Avenue in the Lakeview neighborhod. “I think it’s really frustrating.”
Despite 2013 being the last of the five years of initial price increases, parking meter rates can still rise annually. According to the contract future rate increases would be tied to the rate of inflation.
“I don’t like it, I’m not a fan,” said Jordan Williams who lives in the Old Irving neighborhood. “I think the money should to to paving streets and not LAZ Parking (the company which manages the operations for Chicago Parking Meters, LLC).”
“It seems like rates on about everything are going up,” said Lanie Shiller of Lakeview. “It’s ridiculous.”
While Chicago’s 2012 meter rates ranked highest in the U.S., according to an annual report issued by San Francisco’s SFPark, within the first few days of 2013, Chicago will overtake Vancouver, BC (where the maximum rate is now $6.00 per hour) for the title of having the costliest parking meters in all of North America.
Since SFMTA’s report came out in early 2012, the rates in some cities have risen. In the U.S., the Windy City’s ranking as number one is followed by San Francisco ($5.50/hr) New York ($5/hr), Los Angeles ($5/hr), and Seattle ($4/hr) based on research by The Expired Meter.
Read more at DNA Info Chicago.