Category Archives: Parking Meter
But an obnoxious swarm of crows is making life hard for parking enforcement officers to do their job around the Monroe County Courthouse in downtown Bloomington, Indiana according to the Associated Press.
The droppings from hundreds of crows nesting in trees near the courthouse are coating the meters and making it difficult to keep them clean.
Surprisingly, it’s not shotguns. Instead, the city is re-purposing old street signs to cover the meter heads and protect them from all the crow poop.
Here’s the full story, “Bloomington parking meters besieged with crow droppings.”
Those kooky kids from Keene, NH–they call themselves Robin Hooders–are in the news again.
And this time it involves a legal case which takes the issue of their parking meter vigilantism to the New Hampshire Supreme Court according to Fox News.
The Robin Hooders is a band of do-gooders who follow the town’s three parking attends around and plunk coins into expired meters to save drivers from being hit with outrageously expensive $5 parking tickets.
The enforcement staff doesn’t like the group’s antics and have claimed they’re being harassed while doing their jobs. In some cases, lawyers for the city claim, group members verbally attack the ticket writers saying things like “you should be ashamed of yourself” and the like.
Aurora is going to rip out its parking meters.
No more plunking quarters, dimes and nickels into meters to park in downtown Aurora, reports the Daily Herald.
But the forward thinking town is going to replace the meters with color coded parking spaces. Each color would correspond to a choice of time limits–starting at 90 minutes, but also including increments of two, three, six or 10 hours.
Blame it on Chicago.
New York City has opted not to move forward with plans to privatize the city’s more than 85,000 metered parking spaces and Chicago is at least partially responsible according to the Wall Street Journal .
New York is just the most recent of many large U.S. cities that considered privatizing their parking meters but backed off. This list also includes Pittsburgh and Los Angeles. The WSJ blamed this inability for cities to consummate these privatization deals on the failure of Chicago’s meter lease deal and subsequent public backlash.
The City of Santa Monica, California began installing the next generation of “smart” parking meters in April of this year.
These meters are “smart” because sensors in the pavement can tell if there’s a vehicle parked there and then zeros out the meter when the car leaves thus depriving the next driver of piggybacking off the time left on the meter at that space. In addition, using cellular networks and mobile phone technology, drivers can locate open spaces to park.
But now, according to the Santa Monica Daily Press, a local resident has filed a $1.7 billion lawsuit claiming the cell network the parking meters use to operate, are making her ill. Specifically, she got an ear infection back in May, just after the “smart” meters went in.
$5 Per Hour Downtown Rates Highest In Nation
No, not Christmas or New Year’s, but parking meter rate increase season.
It was three years ago this month when Mayor Daley and his cohorts in the city council pushed through the Chicago parking meter lease deal.
One of the more onerous results of the 75-year deal was an initial five years of steep meter rate price increases.
On January 1st, parking meter rates will rise for the third of the five initial years.
Downtown, meter rates will jump $0.75 from $4.25 per hour to $5.00 an hour–giving Chicago the distinction of having the highest downtown parking meter rates in the nation.
New York, and Los Angeles, while both larger than Chicago, have lower downtown rates than the Windy City. New York’s highest rate is currently $3.75 an hour, while LA tops out at $4 per hour downtown.
In areas adjacent to the Loop (River North, Gold Coast, parts of Lincoln Park, Near North) rates will go up $0.50 per hour from $2.50 to $3.00 per hour.
Meter rates in all other outlying neighborhoods will increase just $0.25 from $1.25 per hour to $1.50 per hour.
GEEK EDITOR’S NOTE: Jay Stone is one, if not the only person officially in the running in the 2011 Chicago mayoral campaign.
Stone is making the parking meter lease deal one of the main issues of his campaign and estimates Chicago has lost billions of dollars over the 75 years of the lease.
Here’s the first of a three part series.
The Parking Meter Fiasco Part 1
By Jay Stone
Chicago Lost One Billion Dollars or More in Revenue
Daley sold the rights to Chicago’s parking meters for $1.15 billion. Most American cities would consider $1.15 billion a financial bonanza, but the critics of the Chicago parking meter deal strongly disagree. Chicago’s Inspector General’s office said the Daley administration undervalued the parking asset by $1 billion.
The Reverend C. H. North, of Oklahoma’s City’s Third Pentecostal Holiness Church, drove his automobile downtown, and parked at a spot in front of one of those new-fangled devices called the Park-O-Meter the newspapers had been talking about.
Park-O-Meters, the brand name of the first parking meters were just recently invented, and the first batch of 150 had just been installed the month before creating sort of a hub-bub around town over those past few weeks.
North stepped out of his car, and wiping sweat from his forehead stepped into the hot and dusty street. He walked to the curb where the meter was planted in cement just in front of his automobile, and read the gadget.
It demanded 5 cents to park there.
The good Reverend checked his right pocket, and then his left. A few pennies, a dime, a quarter and a few silver dollars, landed in the palm of his hand. But there were no nickels.
CPM Estimates $11 Billion In Meter Revenues Over 75 Years
When different studies and analysis of the much debated Chicago parking meter lease deal were released and brought to the notice of the public over the past 18 months, all were pooh-poohed, if not belittled outright by the Daley Administration.
Each time a major study came out, Chicago’s chief financial officer, Gene Saffold was trotted out to extol the benefits and reiterate what a great deal the city got when it leased it’s 36,000 space parking meter system for $1.16 billion over 75 years.
According to a front page story in today’s Sun-Times, as of the end of 2009, only $180 million of the $1.16 billion Morgan Stanley paid for a 75 year lease to operate Chicago’s parking meter system.
When the lease deal was originally sold to the city council in December of 2008, the plan was to use approximately $300 million of the original amount to fill a deep budget hole in the 2009 budget. Of the remainder, $320 million was designated for a “rainy day” fund and $400 million was put into a long term reserve fund.
But it seems, in just one year after the lease deal was signed, $1 billion of the sale–90% of the total–has disappeared into Mayor Daley’s black hole of a budget deficit.
In retrospect, one sees the meter lease deal as the first easily understandable indicator that Mayor Daley has completely mishandled the city’s finances. During the mayor’s tenure, he had the good fortune of a robust economy and a booming housing market. With the downturn in the economy and the collapse of the housing market, revenues to the city have essentially slowed to a standstill.
But due to the Daley administration’s poor planning, only a few thousand dollars of rainy day money had been put aside for times like this. For this reason, when William Blair & Company brought this idea to the mayor with the promise of fast cash, he jumped at it. The mayor knew he had a big budget deficit looming and this was the only solution to the problem.
This is why back in December of 2008, speed was so important. The Daley administration gave the city council less than 72 hours to ponder this complex, billion dollar sale of a valuable city asset. With so little time, none of the important questions weren’t asked or were glossed over. In the city’s desperation to plug the budget hole, the lease deal got them their needed short term fix. But it was only a temporary solution to a much larger long term problem and created a slew of other issues.
With a $700 million budget deficit looming for 2011, no one expects that remaining $180 million to be around for very long.
And the meter lease deal continues to get worse and worse for Mayor Daley.