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Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White recently announced his department’s police force issued 166 citations in its annual statewide crackdown on disability parking abuse. Each year, beginning on Black Friday, November 23rd More »
The city has transformed a dirty median on State Street into an oasis for Downtown workers.
Friday morning, Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein, Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) and Chicago Loop Alliance Executive Director Michael Edwards officially unveiled the new “People Plaza” that extends from Lake Street to Wacker Drive.
The refurbished median which often was a hangout for the homeless or vagrants, now sports new metal picnic tables, benches, chairs and planters filled with flowers.
“This was a space that was underutilized,” said Klein. “As soon as we finished it was filled with people.”
Edgewater resident Kara Riggio sat enjoying the sunshine and having a bite to eat late Friday morning on one of the bright orange tables.
Read more at DNA Info Chicago.
Our friends over at Streetsblog Chicago are reporting the redesign of the intersection of Fullerton and Lake Shore Drive is causing confusion between motorists, pedestrians and bike riders there.
At Wednesday’s City Council meeting, 11 aldermen voted against Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s remix of the parking meter lease remix.
Emanuel’s renegotiated meter lease which better controls non-meter revenue from changes to the meter system value or street closures and gives free Sunday parking in neighborhoods in exchange for extending meter payment hours passed with strong support 39-11.
Despite the foregone conclusion of the vote’s outcome, before the meeting began at 10 AM, some low level shenanigans were taking place according to several sources on the city council floor.
Apparently, opposition aldermen had tried to distribute copies of the Tribune editorial critical of the proposed changes to the meter lease to fellow council members. But the copies were temporarily confiscated by someone in the administration for a short time until more reasonable heads prevailed in allow the editorial’s distribution.
The Mayor’s people were also twisting arms of no votes until the last minute, threatening political retribution in the future.
Council members took about an hour to debate the merits of the changes to the remaining 71 years of the agreement effecting the city’s 36,000 metered parking spaces.
Despite the best efforts of the Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd), Ald. John Arena (45th) and other members of the Chicago Progress Reform Coalition, as well as Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) to convince other council members the renegotiated deal is a bad one, the votes are just not there to derail it.
Even up until Wednesday morning’s meeting, sources say the Mayor’s minions were working to pick off any votes they could from fence sitting aldermen with the threat of political retribution.
Based on questions during four days of hearings on the revised meter deal, most aldermen were torn between the financial savings on one hand and free Sundays and extended hours on the other.
Passes In Finance Committee, Full Voted Slated For Wednesday
After four long days of hearings on proposed changes to the city’s reviled parking meter lease agreement, the renegotiated deal made it over its first hurdle as it passed out of the Finance Committee Monday on a vote of 15 to 6.
Ald. Scott Waguespack, immediately after the vote Monday afternoon warned there will probably be unforeseen circumstances if it passes the city council.
“There’s a potential of a repeat of the original deal in 2008–people should be wary of that.” said Waguespack who accurately predicted problems from the original lease agreement.
The hearings began with testimony by Clint Krislov, the lead attorney on a lawsuit challenging the legality of the original parking meter lease. Krislov is opposed to the renegotiated deal as he believes it will weaken the city and public’s ability to fight the legal basis for the original agreement.
“Voting for this amendment will have you viewed as voting for the parking agreement,” said Krislov to the aldermen sitting in council chambers. “Like a circus passing through town every few years, these deals are Wall Street’s way of regaling with money acts that astound the crowd, while looting the spectators’ money.”
Traffic on the I-190 extension to O’Hare Airport Sunday morning, some people got out and started walking to the airport according to CBS Chicago.
Congestion due to road construction was so bad between approximately 6-7 AM that 70 people began walking along the shoulder of the expressway to make sure they made their flights.
Chicago Police and Illinois State Police were called out and assisted the expressway pedestrians reach O’Hare safely.
Here’s the full report from Newsradio 780 AM, “Frustrated By Traffic, People Leave Cars And Walk On Expressway To O’Hare.”
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.
It was a short meeting, beginning at 10 AM and gaveled adjourned just after noon.
But a litany of questions from aldermen aimed at the city’s Chief Executive Office Lois Scott and Corporation Counsel Steve Patton, the city’s top lawyer, continued for this third day of hearings.
“Parking Wars” Over Divided Free Sundays Looms Says Aldermen
Perhaps the major concern about the free Sundays proposal is that adjacent wards may have different policies on free Sunday parking.
“I’m interested to see how it works,” said Karl Johnson, who was walking Downtown Friday morning. “I hear they use this in Japan. Once we get used to it, it should be cool.”
This pilot program is expected to continue for “at least a few months,” according to city spokesman Bill McCaffrey.
“This new all-way crossing will improve the pedestrian environment and vehicular timing at this very busy downtown intersection,” said Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klien. “Chicagoans and visitors will be able to cross on foot more quickly and safely while vehicular traffic is stopped.”
This intersection was chosen due to the large number of pedestrians that use it. It’s right near DePaul university’s downtown campus, the John Marshall Law School as well as many CTA stops. The city says 41,600 pedestrians cross the intersection every day versus 20,500 cars or trucks.
Read more at DNA Info Chicago.
The draft report by the City Council’s nine-member Chicago Progressive Reform Coalition claims that contrary to estimates from Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration, the deal could wind up resulting in as much as $9 million a year in extra revenue for Chicago Parking Meters, the private company that runs the meters.
The City Council Finance Committee will continue to debate the measure Friday.
This would result in additional revenue of as much as $360 million for Chicago Parking Meters over the remaining 71 years of the agreement privatizing the city’s meters than what is being touted by the mayor’s office. Even the report’s most conservative estimates find the company would make millions of dollars more than the city projects.
The bulk of that money could come from a provision extending parking meter hours in River North by three hours and in other areas by one hour. That comes in exchange for providing free parking on Sundays, although drivers would still have to pay meters in an area bordered by North Avenue, Halsted Street, Roosevelt Road and the lakefront.
Read more at DNA Info Chicago.