Tag Archives: Chicago parking meters
But today, in modern Chicago, you can add parking meters to Franklin’s adage.
Surprisingly, parking meters and taxes have combined in a particularly galling fashion.
Tribune columnist Eric Zorn tipped off The Expired Meter to this toxic combination on Tuesday when he pointed to a relatively new policy from Chicago Parking Meters, LLC to begin charging city and county parking taxes at the handful of metered parking lots across the city.
According to the Chicago Parking Meters website, the company had not been charging drivers the taxes (but paid them anyways) until they changed that policy this February and began passing on the taxes to drivers.
City of Chicago officials are telling the Chicago Tribune that they estimate the bill for the loss of parking meter revenue due to the recent NATO Summit to be around $65,000.
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.
New York City seems to be taking tentative steps toward embracing privatizing their parking meter system, according to the Wall Street Journal.
After putting the initial idea on hold for several months, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has restarted the process exploring the idea of a private firm operating the city’s 39,000 parking meters.
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.
Now they’re for it.
Getting rid of the privilege of parking for free at parking meters for most disabled drivers that is.
Originally, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel were against a bill proposed by Illinois State Rep. Karen May (D-Highland Park), which would end free parking for most disabled drivers. For whatever reason White and Emanuel have had a change of heart according to the Sun-Times.
Perhaps for Emanuel at least, it was the $13 million bill that Chicago Parking Meters, LLC had sent City Hall due to the inordinate amount of people using handicap plates and disabled parking placards parking for free all day long at metered parking places.
Jesse White is not fooling around.
Especially when it comes to handicap parking abuse.
The Illinois Secretary of State announced his wish to see harsher penalties for drivers who abuse disabled parking placards or handicap license plates to park for free at metered parking spaces or in designated handicap parking spots before convening his Advisory Committee on Traffic Safety Thursday morning at the State of Illinois building.
White is asking to create a new offense for the general misuse of a plate or placard a Class A Misdemeanor which would carry a minimum one-year suspension of the offender’s driver’s license and a $2500 fine. This offense and penalty would be in addition to even harsher penalties for general misuse of a disability placard or license plate.