Parking Meter Lease Remix Inspires Many Opinions

As Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposed renegotiated and remixed version of Chicago’s infamous parking meter lease deal comes closer to a vote in the city council, many voices are weighing in with their opinions.

Here’s a roundup of some of the more unique points of view on the subject.

Tribune Editorial Board Asks Aldermen To Vote No

The Chicago Tribune’s editorial board has a fair and balanced view of the Mayor’s proposed meter lease changes.

Like many aldermen, the newspaper is impressed and happy about the millions of dollars in concessions the Mayor’s team extracted from Chicago Parking Meters, LLC in the months of negotiations.

But the board, again, like many alderman, strongly dislike and the concept of “free” metered parking on Sundays, but extended meter hours during the week and elongating hours until midnight in River North.

In fact, like many aldermen, the paper is suspicious the extended hours idea is a trick to allow CPM to benefit once again at the expense of drivers and taxpayers.

The editorial encourages aldermen to reject the proposal and force the Mayor to go back to the negotiating table to take out the aspects of the deal they find unpalatable.

Here’s the Tribune editorial, “Editorial: Chicago parking meter deals needs changes.”

Reader’s Dumke Slams Emanuel Over Meter Proposal

Mick Dumke stopped by City Hall to take in some of the Finance Committee Hearings this past Tuesday to get a taste of what aldermen were thinking about the revised meter deal.

He’s one of the few reporters, in fact one of the very few people who has actually read the sleep inducing hundreds of pages of the original parking meter lease in his Herculean reporting with Ben Jorvasky on the deal’s malevolent details.

His more recent reporting on this issue had to do with the Emanuel administration’s refusal to join a class action lawsuit against the meter lease that contends it is at odds with the Illinois state constitution.

Dumke felt it was hypocritical of Emanuel to so strongly and publicly deride the deal while actually instructing city lawyers to actually defend the legality of it in court.

So Dumke comes out guns blazing this past week to remind people of the Mayor’s alleged hypocrisy while dismantling several of the administration’s claims about the benefits of this renegotiated version of the meter lease.

Here’s Dumke’s Chicago Reader piece, “Two parking meter deals are worse than one.”

Revised Parking Meter Deal Bad For The Arts?

Here’s some criticism of the revised meter lease deal that comes from a unique place–a theater critic.

Chris Jones, the Chicago Tribune’s theater critic believes the meter lease deal as it exists now is hard on patrons of the arts. This is a common gripe by theater goers who utilize metered parking when attending shows. Many meters near theater venues have two hour minimums which force some patrons to slip out during a performance to plunk quarters into meter pay boxes.

But Jones feels extending meter enforcement hours until 10 PM will make the problem even worse for this high brow set.

Read Jones’ commentary, “A moment to talk arts parking.”

Meter Deal Lawsuit Author Warns Against Revisions

Speaking of the class action lawsuit against Chicago’s parking meter lease, the attorney for the IVI-IPO who filed the pending lawsuit is warning against accepting the Mayor’s proposed deal with CPM.

The Chicago Tribune reports Krislov believes embracing this deal will make it much harder to potentially legally overturn the meter lease in court.

Here’s that story, “Meter lease foe warns against amending agreement.”

Krislov tried to testify at the Finance Committee hearings on the subject both Tuesday and Friday last week, but didn’t get a chance both days.

Lipstick On A Pig

Andy Shaw, head of the Better Government Association, is pretty much where most everyone else is on this deal–likes the millions in concessions, dislikes the free Sundays/extending hours.

He says it’s like putting “lipstick on a pig,” essentially doesn’t do much of anything to relive the pain of the original meter deal.

Here’s Shaw’s column, “No feeling the love on parking meters.”

A Bike Rider’s View Of Meter Deal Remix

Streetsblog Chicago writer John Greenfield has some thoughts on the Mayor’s plan.

But as an avid bicyclist and proponent of alternative transportation, Greenfield thinks free Sundays is a bad idea. He believes free metered parking will lead to more traffic congestion on Sundays because drivers won’t have any incentive to give up their parking spaces because they won’t have to pay to park.

Read what Greenfield has to say, “Renegotiated Parking Meter Deal Is a Mixed Blessing.”

4 Responses to Parking Meter Lease Remix Inspires Many Opinions

  1. Jeff says:


    As usual, you are doing a fantastic job of keeping the heat on this issue. I hope that the City Council grows some balls this time and says no to this shit-sandwich of a deal.

    It’s kind of like the plot of “Music Man” where a stranger breezes into town and bamboozles the local rubes with a lot of double-talk and big promises. Maybe they can make a musical out of Rahm’s latest flim-flam idea. How about “The Lying King”??

  2. nonya says:

    Tribune – wake up, the concessions are directly tied to the time extensions. rahm shifted money to CPM from the city to the people paying the parking meters. STOP TREATING IT LIKE TWO DIFFERENT THINGS

    Chris Jones – take this one up with the alderman. the two hour limit is specifically extended in areas near theaters. there are longer meters on Southport in front of Music Box and Mercury and on Lincoln by the Apollo.

  3. The Parking Ticket Geek says:


    Thanks for the kind words. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. You seriously, made my day.

  4. brenda zwadlo says:

    i have a large group of illnesses including parkinsons, heart vsd, scarred lungs, asthma and rods in my back. i have never driven and don’t have a driver’s license. but depend on my husband .i can take my permanent parking pass from illinois to any other state and get free parking in city lots or on the street. BUT NOT IN THE STATE THAT ISSUED THE PASS!!!!!!! OBVIOUSLY and i mean OBVIOUSLY something is wrong with the I Q OF OUR POLITICIANS. now if i didn’t co-sign my name as owner of our van i might have qualified for free parking.since i am seen as owning a motor vehicle but have no insurance or ever driven. but i would have to go thru legal mumbo-jumbo if i was ever in a position that i had to sell the vehicle.

    so what happens in rainy weather or winter when the sidewalks are hard to maneuver to people like me who have to feed the parking box?

    if a class action suit gets off the ground count me in as a groupie. brenda from uptown

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