Tag Archives: Chicago parking meter lease deal
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.
During hearings on the revised parking meter lease deal several weeks ago, Corporation Counsel Stephen Patton assured aldermen that if they wanted to keep paid parking on Sundays in their wards to control business traffic they would have the support of Emanuel.
But now, several aldermen are seeing resistance from a mayor’s office which seems to want to control the process of which wards are allowed to keep paid parking on Sundays, they say.
Two recent developments: an ordinance that would have preserved metered parking on some streets in Lakeview and Lincoln Park was not on Wednesday’s agenda for the full City Council, and a note aldermen received Tuesday night from Emanuel’s office seeking more information.
On Monday, Ald. Tunney (44th) and Ald. Smith (43rd) introduced an ordinance at the Pedestrian and Traffic Safety committee meeting that would preserve paid Sunday parking at meters on streets in the retail shopping districts located in their wards, a move they say would help business owners who need a turnover in the spots so customers can park.
Read more at DNA Info Chicago.
NBC Chicago writer Edward McClelland last week boldly predicted that due to Chicago’s horrible experience with it’s infamous and hated parking meter lease deal, no city will ever privatize their parking meters ever again.
There’s only good thing about Chicago’s parking meter deal: no other city will ever again lease its parking concession to a private company.
McClelland points to when Pittsburgh flirted with the idea before turning its back on privatizing their meters.
But humorously, just a week after his gutsy prediction, Cincinnati signed away its parking meters for 30 years and a $92 million upfront payment according to the Business Courier.
In addition, it looks like Sacramento is poised to follow the Queen City any day now.
Over the course of hearings on the remix of the parking meter lease deal, many aldermen stated they were hearing from business owners and local chamber of commerce that opposed free Sunday parking.
Retail businesses in general, and in particular retailers in congested, high traffic parts of the city (Lincoln Park, Wicker Park, Logan Square, Lakeview, etc.) depend on rapid turnover rates of metered parking spots to maximize customers and ultimately sales.
These business owners don’t want drivers leaving their cars parked all day and discouraging other paying customers from spending money.
Several alderman plan on refusing free Sunday parking in their wards or at least in some of these high congestion areas.
However, the Sun-Times reports some retail business owners are supportive of free Sunday parking because they feel it will bring more shoppers into their stores.
The changes to Chicago’s parking meter lease deal approved by the city council barely a week ago, will begin being implemented in select areas of the city starting this weekend–several weeks earlier than the original July 1st start date.
Aldermen passed Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s renegotiated parking meter lease 39-11 on June 5th. The new deal allows the city to better control the millions of dollars of non-meter revenue CPM was claiming, but also allows drivers to park for free on Sundays in most neighborhoods but extends the hours of enforcement as well.
Teams for Chicago Parking Meters, LLC will begin the job this Sunday of switching over the over 4,400 parking meter pay boxes to allow free parking on Sundays. According to Mayor Emanuel’s office, neighborhoods in Southside wards (3, 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 14, 15, 20, 22, 23, and 25) will be the first to be able to park for free on Sundays.
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.
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.