Category Archives: Parking Meter Lease Deal
The LAZ Parking executive being investigated by the FBI for allegedly accepting $90,000 in kick backs to steer a multi-million dollar contract for parking meter pay boxes to his employer has been fired.
The Sun-Times reports LAZ Parking took the action Saturday after confirming the probe which began in February. The investigation was most likely triggered by a similar bribery situation in Portland, OR when the city employee in charge of city parking was found to have accepted bribes from George Levey, the head of Cale Parking System, to have the city purchase his company’s pay boxes.
LAZ Parking, the contractor in charge of street operations for Chicago Parking Meters, LLC, the company which controls this city’s metered parking system, purchased $22 million in Cale’s parking meter pay boxes for Chicago.
In an awesome job of re-reporting a story reported by The Expired Meter two months ago, the Chicago Tribune recently published a piece breaking down numbers which shows the city is paying less to Chicago Parking Meters, LLC than it had previously.
Again, as originally reported back in May, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration renegotiated the much criticized parking meter lease deal signed by Mayor Richard Daley in 2008. Under the revised deal, numbers seem to indicate that payments made to CPM for temporary meter closures, metered spaces taken out of service and other events reducing the value of the metered parking system have been drastically reduced.
Bills which topped $53 million in one year, are now just over $6 million a year.
After fighting a five-year uphill legal battle, a state appellate court has upheld the legality of Chicago’s infamous parking meter lease deal according to the Chicago Reader.
The lawsuit, filed by attorney Clint Krislov on behalf of the IVI-IPO, challenged the state constitutionality of the 2008 deal.
Krislov main argument was that the “True-up” payments the city has to pay Chicago Parking Meters, LLC, any time the city has to make changes to the public way that affects meter revenue is a de facto surrender of the city’s police powers.
But, despite the judge’s sympathy with Krislov on how bad the deal is for the city, they say that’s not enough to reverse the deal.
The Reader quotes the June 20th decision which says:
It’s hard to believe the infamous 2008 parking meter lease deal could continue to become an even larger failure than it already is. However, according to a local academic the meter deal continues to surpass everyone’s expectations of what’s already considered a fiasco.
Roosevelt University professor of sociology Stephanie Farmer was curious to know how the meter lease deal affected what she termed “street-level planning”, so she interviewed local transportation planners.
Farmer recently published some of her findings at Next City and what her research indicates is that the meter lease deal is making it difficult and potentially very expensive for Chicago to make significant changes and/or improvements to city streets.
Meanwhile, a change in state law that greatly limited which disabled drivers can park for free at the meters could also save the city a bundle, city officials say.
According to data based on audited financial statements filed by Chicago Parking Meters late last week, the amount of money the city must pay the meter operator when meters are taken out of commission — known as “true up” payments — has dropped dramatically since the revised deal went into effect last June.
Since that time, the city paid CPM $6.6 million in “true up” payments, or an average of $1.65 million per quarter.
In the five quarters preceding the revised deal, the payments averaged $10.2 million per quarter.
Read more at DNA Info Chicago.
With a handful of aldermen finally getting their wish to bring back paid metered parking on Sundays to retail districts in their wards, Gapers Block has an op-ed piece strongly critical of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s remix of the parking meter lease deal.
Writer Rachel Anspach goes after all the usual suspects of unpopular changes in last year’s revision of the much hated deal including the extended enforcement hours and free Sunday parking.
But she also hectors the mayor about his reluctance to join either of the two lawsuits filed against the meter lease deal which are slowly winding their way through the courts.
But Alderman Michele Smith Changes Position To Keep Free Sundays Meters In Most Of Lincoln Park.
Nearly a year after Mayor Rahm Emanuel promised some neighborhoods could keep paid Sunday parking meters, he introduced an ordinance at Wednesday’s City Council meeting that would do just that.
Portions of neighborhoods like Bucktown, Lakeview, Wrigleyville, and Jefferson Park will be seeing a switch back to paid Sunday metered parking perhaps as soon as May. The proposed ordinance needs to make it out of the Committee on Pedestrian and Traffic Safety and into the full council for a vote.
There are a few minor changes to times of metered parking on Sundays which would have meters operating from 10 AM until 8 PM. In addition, metered areas which wraparound from a commercial street onto a residential street will still remain free.
But the ordinance seems a long time coming. This time last year, Emanuel was pressing City Council members to accept his renegotiated parking meter lease deal to give the city the ability to control costs from streets closures and other issues which allowed Chicago Parking Meters, LLC to bill the city millions of dollars for lost revenue.
Ald. Waguespack Slams Report As ‘Flawed & Misleading’
But Alderman Scott Waguespack (32nd), the meter lease deal’s most vocal critic, says Mayor Emanuel’s analysis is “flawed and misleading”.
The Mayor’s press release touts a study which says drivers saved $8.7 million from parking for free at parking meters on Sundays while revenues from extended evening hours at meters have resulted in just $6.6 million–about $800,000 less than expected.
This translates into a net savings for drivers of $2.1 million according to the Mayor’s Office.
“This is a bad deal that we couldn’t make go away, but we did make it a little less bad for the next 70 years while adding some breaks for Chicagoans along the way,” Mayor Emanuel said in a press release issued Wednesday morning.
How can you pay to park in a metered parking spot if you can’t get to the pay box due to the snow?
The team actually works for Chicago Parking Meters LLC, the private company that took over control of the city’s 36,000 metered-parking spaces in the infamous 75-year deal that jacked up parking rates and lengthened the hours of enforcement all over the city.
But part of the deal the company made with the city gave it the right to help enforce the meters — by writing more tickets than the cash-strapped city’s own parking enforcers could do otherwise.
In fact, the company has very quietly issued hundreds of thousands of tickets for expired meter violations since 2010, city parking data obtained through a Freedom of Information request shows.
Meter teams working for Chicago Parking Meters now write nearly one-third of all tickets issued citywide for expired meter violations, the data shows.
Read more at DNA Info Chicago.