Tag Archives: Chicago parking meter lease deal
That’s the question posed in an email which included the photograph above from an observant reader.
The photo shows a meter made completely inoperable by black spray paint which covers all signage and digital readouts on the face of the pay box.
“Geek! Check out this photo I took today,” says reader Ron. “There’s also a big gold colored spray painted piece of graffiti down the side of the machine. Has there been an upswing in meter vandalism lately?”
None of the neighboring machines were touched according to Ron.
While we’ve noticed a few pay box machines with some naughty four letter words scribbled on the front of a meter or two, there doesn’t seem to be any dramatic increase in vandalism like the city saw in the spring and summer of 2009.
According to Chicago Parking Meters, LLC, a lot of disabled drivers are parking for free at metered parking spaces around the city. Millions of dollars worth.
CPM says it’s cost them $22 million in revenue in 2011 according to a story in today’s Chicago Tribune.
Per the parking meter lease agreement, approved by the vast majority of the Chicago City Council and signed by Mayor Daley in December of 2008, the meter company can bill the city when the number of drivers utilizing handicap license plates or disability parking placards exceeds a set percentage.
A week ago, CPM submitted their bill to the city for $22 million to compensate the company for disabled parkers just for 2011. The company invoiced the city $13 million for the same item in 2010.
So, when that bright orange parking ticket colored phone rang in the Geek’s underground bunker earlier in the week, we knew it’s someone important.
It was Mike Stephen, the affable host of Outside the Loop Radio.
Stephen was desperate. With NATO in town, all the potential cool, interesting and important guests he usually has on the show had fled town.
City Will Repay Meter Company Entire $1.16 Billion By Lease End
When the Chicago parking meter lease deal was being jammed through the Chicago City Council in just over 36 hours in December, 2008 The Expired Meter warned how bad the deal was.
Certain provisions within the nearly one inch thick parking meter lease contract leaped out at people who actually read the document–provisions that could and would spell trouble down the road.
Alderman Scott Waguespack (32nd) knew about this stuff too. As one of the few (if not only), city council members who actually read the lease agreement and took the time to understand it, he foresaw what would happen.
“This is right on par with what we knew would happen,” said Waguespack initially in an interview this past Friday. “Any alderman (who voted for the meter lease deal) that still says they didn’t know that this was going to happen is ignoring reality.”
But when pressed, even Ald. Waguespack admits the meter lease deal is worse than even he predicted.
“Yes,” he simply said when asked if the deal has exceeded even his expectations of failure.
City Will Give Back Entire $1.16 Billion By Lease End
The Chicago Sun-Times reports today that Chicago Parking Meters, LLC has sent the City of Chicago another bill for $14 million.
This time it’s for True-Up Revenue, a term used to describe the revenue the meter company loses when metered spaces can’t be used due to road construction or repairs, utility work, street festivals, etc.
This provision is tucked within the universally hated parking meter lease contract, which essentially sold off Chicago’s parking meter system for $1.16 billion back in 2008.
This provision allows CPM to invoice the city for lost parking revenue anytime on street metered parking spaces cannot be used.
True-Up Revenue was a paltry $6,829 back in 2009, but rose to $2.1 million for 2010 as The Expired Meter reported back in December.
Chicago Magazine’s Jeff Ruby disdains parking meter receipts.
Ruby opens his story about his loathing for these little receipts in the May issue of the magazine this way:
“Suddenly they’re everywhere. Nestled in gutters, clogging up dashboards, swirling around alleys and avenues like ticker tape after a parade. I unknowingly spent an entire day with one stuck to the bottom of my shoe. Nobody’s sure what to call them. Parking stubs? Pay box receipts? Beelzebub’s confetti? Three years ago, they didn’t exist, but today they have become as much a part of Chicago’s fabric as kielbasa and bribery.”
Hatred for the meter receipts turned those little white and green slips of paper littering Chicago’s streets into artistic inspiration for Ruby.
Taxpayers Off The Hook For Street Closures?
When the world’s top leaders come to Chicago for the big NATO and G8 summits this May, many blocks downtown will be closed to vehicular parking and traffic for three days according to the Sun-Times.
However, these street closures to insure the safety of President Obama and all the other world leaders, have a cost associated with them due to Chicago’s parking meter lease deal.
As reported here on many occasions, the meter lease contract allows Chicago Parking Meters, LLC to bill the city for lost revenue due to street closures for road construction, water main breaks, and special events like parades and of course, international summits. Most recently, CPM billed the city $2.1 million for closure in 2009 and 2010.
Chicago Retains Title For America’s Highest Meter Rates
While officially, Chicago’s increased parking meter rates kicked in at midnight New Year’s Day, meter rates will begin changing on Tuesday, January 2nd, according to the website for Chicago Parking Meters, LLC.
“The transition to the new rates will begin on January 2nd, starting with the Loop and moving outward into the neighborhoods,” explains the press release posted to the CPM website. “Weather conditions permitting, the goal is to complete the transition in January.”
Edward McClelland knows how Mayor Rahm Emanuel can break the city’s infamous parking meter lease contract.
According to the NBC website columnist, it’s as simple as just not driving and not parking on streets controlled by the city’s parking meters.
In other words, boycott the meters.
McClelland encourages his readers to bike, walk, or do anything else but use a car instead.
Parking meter revenue will decline, profits for the meter system will falter and then Chicago Parking Meters, LLC will be be forced to renegotiate the 75 year lease.
As much as we encourage drivers to avoid parking at the meters as much as possible, and with all due respect to Mr. McClelland, the chances of this ever happening are similar to one’s odds at winning a million dollars in the lottery.
CBS 2 News picks up and runs with The Expired Meter’s exclusive story on the $2.1 million bill the city received from Chicago Parking Meters, LLC for lost revenue in 2009 and 2010.
Here’s CBS 2′s full story: “Parking Meter Firm Bills City $2.1M For Lost Revenue From Street Closures.”