Tag Archives: Chicago parking meters
Six months after the City Council passed a renegotiated parking meter lease, business leaders and aldermen in some wards say free Sunday parking has led to low meter turnover — which means fewer customers are able to park and shop in the neighborhoods.
Kevin Vaughn, owner of a handful of restaurants and bars, including Lakeview’s Mystic Celt and Vaughn’s Pub, said he was trying to find parking outside one of his businesses early Sunday morning and most of the metered spots were filled — a problem that began after free Sunday parking began.
“Eighty percent of the spots were filled at 8 a.m.,” Vaughn said. “In Lakeview, Sunday is the second busiest commercial business day of the week. Ultimately [free metered parking] is bad for business.”
The revised agreement with Chicago Parking Meters LLC made changes that the Emanuel administration said give the city more control over the meter system than the original agreement, and free Sunday parking was one major change Emanuel wanted to see in the new deal.
But that didn’t sit well with a handful of City Council members.
Read more at DNA Info.
Mayor Emanuel says he pulled the plug because, due to the restrictions the city has put on future privatization deals, the original parties interested in Midway dropped from 16 to just one. Without enough interested buyers, Emanuel says he couldn’t negotiate a good deal.
But the Washington Post says it was Chicago’s infamous 2008 parking meter lease deal.
The Post story rehashes the history of Chicago’s meter privatization drama–a history most drivers are painfully familiar with.
They make a compelling case.
Here’s the full story, “How parking meters killed privatization of Midway Airport.”
Mara Georges was the City of Chicago’s Corporation Counsel under former Mayor Richard M. Daley back in 2008 and until he retired from office two years ago.
Corporation Counsel is just a fancy way of saying Georges was the “top lawyer” for the city or better yet, head of the city’s law department.
She was also someone who helped negotiate Mayor Daley’s infamous parking meter lease deal which sold off the city’s entire metered parking system for $1.16 billion for 75 years, caused meter rates to become the highest in the nation and cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars in extra fees that had to be paid to the new parking meter company.
It is considered by many to be the worst deal in the history of the city.
But despite the tsunami flood of evidence to support this assertion, Georges has recently gone on the record still fully supporting the meter lease fiasco.
In an interview in May with Crain’s Chicago Business, she says:
On January 1st, most “handicapped” or “disabled” drivers will lose the ability to park for free at Chicago’s parking meters.
Illinois state law changed in 2012. Now, only severely handicapped person who cannot operate or access a parking meter due to their disability will qualify for the new state placards.
The impetus for the change resulted, ironically, from the city’s 2008 parking meter lease deal which dramatically increased the cost to park at metered spaces around the city. Prices quadrupled in the first year and now, Chicago’s downtown meter rates are the most expensive in North America.
Some drivers who had access to disability parking placards used them to park for free all across the city, especially in the Loop where rates are the most expensive. The problem for the city was that the parking meter lease contract allowed Chicago Parking Meters, LLC the private company which paid the city $1.16 billion in 2008 in exchange for control of the parking meters and it’s lucrative revenue stream, to bill Chicago for lost revenue from all the people using their placards to park for free.
Those bills came to a shocking $55 million, an amount that most assuredly played a big part in moving the new law through the Illinois General Assembly.
The Tall Ships return to Chicagothis weekend.
A contingent of the historical old sailing ships will be here through Sunday at Navy Pier.
While sailing is not one of the topics usually covered at The Expired Meter, we felt the print advertising for event to be quite humorous and timely.
The ad was created by local ad agency Two By Four Chicago, which takes the now iconic Chicago parking meter and uses the frustration and headaches they’ve caused local drivers to create a pretty hilarious image of a sea captain from the 1700′s paying for street parking.
37 of the new 117 Divvy bike stations have been installed on streets where parking for motor vehicles used to be according to DNA Info.
Most of the bike rental stations for the recently launched city bike share program are on sidewalks. But approximately 30% have eaten up precious parking spots. Some of the parking spots were free, while others were loading zones and metered parking. Each of the 37 Divvy stations take up two parking spots, or approximately 74 parking spaces according to Chicago Department of Transportation spokesperson Scott Kubly.
According to the DNA story, Kubly also says the metered spots taken up by Divvy stations are replaced by other metered spots somewhere else.
Historically, anyone with the correct placard or license plate were allowed to park for free at meters. But the explosion of disability placards issued to Illinois drivers, combined with abuse of free parking privileges at Chicago’s very expensive parking meters motivated the Illinois General Assembly to change the law in 2012. There are nearly 800,000 people in Illinois with either a disability parking placard or handicap license plates.
Starting January 1st, drivers with the traditional blue placard will have to pay the parking meters like everyone else. However, the law allows for people who are severely physically disabled that they cannot operate a meter or are in a wheel chair will be issued a special placard that allows them to still park for free.
But now as the current crop of disability placards get ready to expire at the end of 2013, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, the Secretary of State is seeing relatively few applications for the new type of placard and just a fraction of those are being approved.
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:
As you dig through your pockets for quarters to pay for your parking spot today, you have an additional reason to curse your parking meter.
Today, for urban motorists everywhere, this day could be labeled an anniversary of evil.
Because this day in 1935, the very first parking meter was installed at the corner of First Street and Robinson Avenue, in downtown Oklahoma City, OK.
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.