Category Archives: Parking Meter Lease Deal
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.
But as part of the deal, the Mayor wanted to extend meter enforcement an extra hour Monday through Saturday until 10 PM (until midnight in River North) in return for letting vehicle owners park free on Sundays at metered parking spots.
However, some aldermen were concerned that free metered parking on Sundays would hurt business in neighborhoods with heavily congested retail areas like Lincoln Park, Lakeview, Wrigleyville, Wicker Park and Bucktown.
Alderman like Tom Tunney (44th), Scott Waguespack (32nd) and Michele Smith (43rd) whose wards encompass those congested neighborhoods, were adamantly opposed at the time to free Sundays. But the city’s top lawyer Stephen Patton promised aldermen it would be no problem for their wards to opt out of free Sundays.
After months of delays and some active lobbying in the media by the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce, the Mayor finally relented.
But most surprising is Lincoln Park, perhaps the city’s most vibrant retail shopping district outside downtown, will only be getting paid meters restored in just a few corners of that neighborhood.
That’s because Smith has done a complete 180 on the issue and now says she supports free metered parking on Sundays in her ward which encompasses most, but not all of Lincoln Park. Portions of this North Side neighborhood are in Waguespack’s 32nd Ward and Bob Fioretti’s 2nd–both of them heard from business owners who wanted paid meters returned on Sunday.
Curiously, last summer Smith, who felt so strongly that free meters would hurt businesses in her ward she tried to rush through an ordinance (along with Tunney) which would have kept paid parking in Lincoln Park before the switchover of meters occurred.
But Smith’s change of heart seemed apparent several weeks ago when her stance seemed to have changed in a conversation with The Expired Meter. When asked about what seemed to be a reversal from her original position, she declined to answer.
And now, Smith tells DNA Info that the business owners she spoke to enjoyed the goodwill free meters generated.
“The feedback we got overwhelmingly was let’s leave it for now and revisit it later,” said Smith.
Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce spokesperson Padraic Swanton seemed surprised by Smith’s statement and says the member businesses his organization represents gave him a mandate to actively push to restore paid Sunday meters in that neighborhood.
“I haven’t heard from anyone with that position,” said Swanton. “If there are business owners who feel that way I’d like to hear from them. It would appear she (Smith) doesn’t see it as a need at this time.”
Ald. Waguespack, although he’s glad to see the Mayor responding to the needs of business, feels there’s going to be some confused motorists on Sundays trying to figure out if they have to feed the meters or not.
“I would say it’s good to see they’re (the Mayor’s office) is listening to small business that has been asking us for some time to restore the Sunday meters,” says Waguespack. “But I think it will be confusing.”
Waguespack, who fought against both the original parking meter lease deal in 2008 and last year’s meter deal remix, believes Emanuel has succeeded in making things worse.
“The second deal the Mayor pushed through did more to make the original deal even worse,” he said.
For this part, Swanton is disappointed that not all of Lincoln Park is having paid metered parking restored on Sundays, but he doesn’t feel the fight is over.
“This is just a start but we’d like to see the entire neighborhood covered,” Swanton said. “We’re happy to see the ordinance introduced by the Mayor but not seeing key streets like Armitage, Halsted, Lincoln and Clark covered–that’s disappointing. I don’t think we’ve seen the end of this discussion.”
Here’s the proposed list of streets which may see a restoration of paid meters on Sundays:
• North Broadway from Diversey Parkway to Cuyler Avenue
• North Halsted Street from Barry Avenue to Dakin Street
• North Clark Street from Diversey to Byron Street
• North Sheffield Avenue from Belmont Avenue to Clark
• West Roscoe Street from Kenmore Avenue to Wilton Avenue
• North Southport Avenue from Belmont to Byron
• West Addison Street from Wilton to Sheffield
• West Waveland Avenue from Clifton Avenue to Seminary Avenue
• West Irving Park Road from Clarendon Avenue to Kenmore
• North Sheridan Road from Byron to Cuyler
• West Belmont from Racine Avenue to Broadway
• North Milwaukee Avenue from Addison to Farragut Avenue
• North Cicero Avenue from Berenice Avenue to Berteau Avenue
• West Ainslie Street from Milwaukee to Lipps Avenue
• West Irving Park from Cicero to Lavergne Avenue
• North LaPorte Avenue from Irving Park to Belle Plaine Avenue
• West Belle Plaine from LaPorte to Cicero
• West Pensacola Avenue from LeClaire Avenue to Milwaukee
• North Lamon Avenue from Irving Park to Dakin
• West Montrose Street from Laramie Avenue to Lavergne
• West Agatite Avenue from LeClaire to Lavergne
• West Giddings Street from Milwaukee to London Avenue
• North London from Giddings to Lawrence Avenue
• North Lipps Avenue from Lawrence to Ainslie Street
• North Long Avenue from Higgins Avenue to Lawrence
• West Higgins from Milwaukee to Linder Avenue
• West Gale Street from Higgins to Milwaukee
• West Veterans Place from Long to Lockwood Avenue
• West Wellington Avenue from Southport to Greenview Avenue
• North Clybourn Avenue from Lakewood Avenue to Webster Avenue
• West Fullerton Avenue from Southport to Lakewood
• West North Avenue from Ashland Avenue to Winchester Avenue
• North Damen Avenue from North to Bloomingdale Avenue
• North Winchester from North to Wabansia Avenue
• North Wolcott Avenue from North to Wabansia
• North Milwaukee from North to Western Avenue
• West Division Street from Hoyne Avenue to Leavitt Street
• North Clybourn from North to Willow Street
• North Clybourn from Webster to Dickens Avenue
• North Lincoln Avenue from Diversey to Belmont
• North Greenview from Barry to Belmont
• North Ashland from Nelson Street to Belmont
• North Southport from Wellington to Nelson
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.
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.