Category Archives: Parking Meter Lease Deal
Six months after the City Council passed a renegotiated parking meter lease, business leaders and aldermen in some wards say free Sunday parking has led to low meter turnover — which means fewer customers are able to park and shop in the neighborhoods.
Kevin Vaughn, owner of a handful of restaurants and bars, including Lakeview’s Mystic Celt and Vaughn’s Pub, said he was trying to find parking outside one of his businesses early Sunday morning and most of the metered spots were filled — a problem that began after free Sunday parking began.
“Eighty percent of the spots were filled at 8 a.m.,” Vaughn said. “In Lakeview, Sunday is the second busiest commercial business day of the week. Ultimately [free metered parking] is bad for business.”
The revised agreement with Chicago Parking Meters LLC made changes that the Emanuel administration said give the city more control over the meter system than the original agreement, and free Sunday parking was one major change Emanuel wanted to see in the new deal.
But that didn’t sit well with a handful of City Council members.
Read more at DNA Info.
Mara Georges was the City of Chicago’s Corporation Counsel under former Mayor Richard M. Daley back in 2008 and until he retired from office two years ago.
Corporation Counsel is just a fancy way of saying Georges was the “top lawyer” for the city or better yet, head of the city’s law department.
She was also someone who helped negotiate Mayor Daley’s infamous parking meter lease deal which sold off the city’s entire metered parking system for $1.16 billion for 75 years, caused meter rates to become the highest in the nation and cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars in extra fees that had to be paid to the new parking meter company.
It is considered by many to be the worst deal in the history of the city.
But despite the tsunami flood of evidence to support this assertion, Georges has recently gone on the record still fully supporting the meter lease fiasco.
In an interview in May with Crain’s Chicago Business, she says:
The Tall Ships return to Chicagothis weekend.
A contingent of the historical old sailing ships will be here through Sunday at Navy Pier.
While sailing is not one of the topics usually covered at The Expired Meter, we felt the print advertising for event to be quite humorous and timely.
The ad was created by local ad agency Two By Four Chicago, which takes the now iconic Chicago parking meter and uses the frustration and headaches they’ve caused local drivers to create a pretty hilarious image of a sea captain from the 1700′s paying for street parking.
A writer on a New York Times blog claims “Today, the Chicago Metered Parking System is considered one of the world’s best.”?
So says Kent Rowey in a July 15th piece extolling the benefits of public-private partnerships.
It’s hard to take exception with the thesis of his entire piece, which is that privatization is a way for cash strapped cities to find large transfusions of money from private entities.
But here’s what he says about the Chicago deal:
53rd is one of Hyde Park’s main drags and suffers much of the same traffic and parking congestion issues as it’s Northside counterparts like Clark St., Lincoln Ave., Halsted St. and Milwaukee Ave.
While several Northside aldermen are fighting to regain paid metered parking on Sundays in their ward, Alderman Will Burns (4th) who’s ward includes Hyde Park, is taking a wait and see attitude on free Sundays according to the Hyde Park Herald.
The same goes for some of the local business owners, including the owner of the well known Valois Restaurant, who seem to be on the fence whether to get rid of free parking on Sunday on 53rd St.
Before 2009, except for a few small areas of the city, Chicago drivers never had to feed a parking meter on Sundays. But that perk vanished with all other parking meter holidays when the city, under former Mayor Richard M. Daley, leased the city’s metered parking spaces for 75 years and $1.16 billion dollars in December of 2008.
But free Sundays are officially back at neighborhood parking meters starting this weekend under a revised agreement with Chicago Parking Meters, LLC — the company which now controls the city’s parking meter system.
Bringing back free Sundays was a major part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s pitch to Chicago drivers and aldermen to sell them on the revised parking meter deal his team renegotiated with CPM over the past several months.
“As one resident told me, ‘you shouldn’t have to pay to go to church’,” Emanuel said at a press conference announcing the proposed changes back in April. “Whether you go to church or not, everyone deserves a break from feeding parking meters in our neighborhoods on Sunday.”
Read more at DNA Info Chicago.
During hearings on the revised parking meter lease deal several weeks ago, Corporation Counsel Stephen Patton assured aldermen that if they wanted to keep paid parking on Sundays in their wards to control business traffic they would have the support of Emanuel.
But now, several aldermen are seeing resistance from a mayor’s office which seems to want to control the process of which wards are allowed to keep paid parking on Sundays, they say.
Two recent developments: an ordinance that would have preserved metered parking on some streets in Lakeview and Lincoln Park was not on Wednesday’s agenda for the full City Council, and a note aldermen received Tuesday night from Emanuel’s office seeking more information.
On Monday, Ald. Tunney (44th) and Ald. Smith (43rd) introduced an ordinance at the Pedestrian and Traffic Safety committee meeting that would preserve paid Sunday parking at meters on streets in the retail shopping districts located in their wards, a move they say would help business owners who need a turnover in the spots so customers can park.
Read more at DNA Info Chicago.
NBC Chicago writer Edward McClelland last week boldly predicted that due to Chicago’s horrible experience with it’s infamous and hated parking meter lease deal, no city will ever privatize their parking meters ever again.
There’s only good thing about Chicago’s parking meter deal: no other city will ever again lease its parking concession to a private company.
McClelland points to when Pittsburgh flirted with the idea before turning its back on privatizing their meters.
But humorously, just a week after his gutsy prediction, Cincinnati signed away its parking meters for 30 years and a $92 million upfront payment according to the Business Courier.
In addition, it looks like Sacramento is poised to follow the Queen City any day now.
Over the course of hearings on the remix of the parking meter lease deal, many aldermen stated they were hearing from business owners and local chamber of commerce that opposed free Sunday parking.
Retail businesses in general, and in particular retailers in congested, high traffic parts of the city (Lincoln Park, Wicker Park, Logan Square, Lakeview, etc.) depend on rapid turnover rates of metered parking spots to maximize customers and ultimately sales.
These business owners don’t want drivers leaving their cars parked all day and discouraging other paying customers from spending money.
Several alderman plan on refusing free Sunday parking in their wards or at least in some of these high congestion areas.
However, the Sun-Times reports some retail business owners are supportive of free Sunday parking because they feel it will bring more shoppers into their stores.
The changes to Chicago’s parking meter lease deal approved by the city council barely a week ago, will begin being implemented in select areas of the city starting this weekend–several weeks earlier than the original July 1st start date.
Aldermen passed Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s renegotiated parking meter lease 39-11 on June 5th. The new deal allows the city to better control the millions of dollars of non-meter revenue CPM was claiming, but also allows drivers to park for free on Sundays in most neighborhoods but extends the hours of enforcement as well.
Teams for Chicago Parking Meters, LLC will begin the job this Sunday of switching over the over 4,400 parking meter pay boxes to allow free parking on Sundays. According to Mayor Emanuel’s office, neighborhoods in Southside wards (3, 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 14, 15, 20, 22, 23, and 25) will be the first to be able to park for free on Sundays.