Tag Archives: LLC

Parking Meter Company A ‘Parasitic Business’?


That’s what  NBC 5′s Ward Room columnist, Edward McClelland, calls Chicago Parking Meters, LLC,  the company which controls the city’s 30,000 metered parking spaces.

In a recent column, McClelland calls CPM a “parasitic business.”

McClelland, references a recent Salon piece by political commentator Michael Lind:

Lind was criticizing what he called the Rentier class — financiers who make money not by selling goods and services, but by “their natural or artificial monopoly power to extract excessive tolls, fees and other recurrent payments from the rest of society, including productive businesses.”

The typical rich American, Lind argued, “should be an innovative industrialist or technologist, not a Wall Street financier or a guy with a parking-meter monopoly.”

McClelland wholeheartedly agrees with Lind saying the 75-year lease for $1.16 billion is essentially a monopoly which CPM will exploit to the tune of billions of dollars over the term of the agreement.

While some of what Lind and McClelland say is undoubtedly true, their blame is completely misplaced.

Companies exist to maximize profit for their owners or investors. For the two writers to be surprised when a company like CPM behave in this way is naive and nonsensical.

Their ire should be directed at former Mayor Richard Daley, his administration and the alderman who voted for the crappy parking meter lease deal in the first place–not CPM for finding and executing a lucrative business deal.

Here’s McClelland’s full piece, “Chicago Parking Meters LLC, Parasitic “Business”.

Some Parking Lots Closed For Maintenance

This past week a handful of  metered surface parking lots around the city have been closed or partially closed for maintenance–more specifically resurfacing and seal coating according to the Chicago Parking Meters website.

This includes lots located at 4519 N. Lincoln (Lincoln Square), 1938 W. Monterey, 417 E.75th and 1130 W. Lawrence (Uptown).

The parking lots began being worked on Monday, August 22nd and will re-open between Thursday and next Tuesday, August 30th.

For more information, check the Chicago Meters website for all the details and specific schedules.

The World’s Loneliest Parking Meters

Over $400,000 Invested In Meters Where No Cars Park

One of 72 newly installed multi-space parking meter stands lonely and unused in a desolate area of the South Side

Nostalgic types might consider it a sad day when the last of Chicago’s old fashioned single head parking meters got replaced in late spring in a desolate section of the near South Side.

Chicago Parking Meters, LLC recently installed over 70 pay and display machines in June, after removing the city’s last remaining single head meters a few weeks previous. But the area, roughly bounded by Ashland & Damen, between 15th and 13th has plenty of spaces to park, but with no one actually parking there.

But perhaps what is most interesting is that CPM was forced to spend over $400,000 to install expensive, cutting edge parking meter pay boxes for several thousand metered spaces, in an area that will never generate enough revenue for CPM to ever see a return on their investment there.

Parking Meter Pay Box Failure In Chicago Resurfaces In Oklahoma City

Remember the “Massive Meter Meltdown” back in spring of 2009?

The late May weather in Chicago was beautiful when LAZ Parking, on behalf of Chicago Parking Meters, LLC was finishing installing hundreds of electronic, multi-space pay and display units downtown Chicago.

But just days after installing the units about 250 of the pay boxes just stopped working. Panicked drivers didn’t know what to do. Parking Enforcement Aides and other ticket writers were instructed to cease ticketing. The city lost thousands of dollars in ticket revenue that day and the Daley Administration, CPM and LAZ were all deservedly red-faced.

Incredibly, this story has come back to haunt Cale Parking USA, the manufacturer of Chicago’s pay and display parking meter machines in a bid for a contract in Oklahoma City, OK according to a story by The Oklahoman newspaper.

ParkMagic Chicago In-Car Meter Program Ends

Innovative Pay-By-Cell Phone Option Quietly Dies

ParkMagic's in-car parking meter

Just over four years after Chicago’s Department of Revenue announced its ground breaking pay-by-phone,  in-car parking meter program to great fanfare, glowing reviews and overwhelming positive user response, the plug was finally pulled on the ParkMagic Chicago pilot program just over two weeks ago.

An e-mail from ParkMagic to its remaining users from the pilot program went out July 8th saying in part, “As you know the ParkMagic Pay by Cell parking system has been in pilot phase with the City of Chicago over the past two years and this phase is now complete.”

It was back in June of 2007, when the DOR debuted the blue and silver in-car meters in a pilot program limited to 1000 initial users. The first units were snapped up in less than a week, and after the first year the program was considered a success by an independent research study showing  a 97.6% positive feedback from the initial 1000 users.

ParkMagic was essentially the parking meter equivalent of the Tollway’s I-Pass unit.

Moreno Pushes Bike Racks, Drops F-Bomb On LAZ

You know the parking meter lease deal is unpopular when even bicycle riders hate it.

This revelation came back in March, when Ald. Joe Moreno (1st) was meeting with bike riders to discuss different pro-cycling initiatives after Moreno uttered a naughty word toward LAZ Parking the on the street face of Chicago Parking Meters, LLC, according to Chicago’s bicycle news correspondent John Greenfield in TimeOut Chicago.

Asked how meter lessee LAZ Parking would react to the loss of revenue if car spaces were removed, Moreno responded, “Fuck ’em.” The crowd of cyclists went wild.

Parking Meter Rate Changeover Begins Sunday

Meter Company Challenges ‘Highest Rate In Nation’ Fact

Break out the quarters, meter rates are going up

While officially, Chicago’s increased parking meter rates kicked in at midnight New Year’s Day, it could take four or more weeks for all of Chicago’s 36,000 parking meters to be converted to the new, higher rates according to a spokesperson 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 CPM spokesperson Avis LaVelle via e-mail. “Weather conditions permitting, the goal is to complete the transition in January.”

Because of the relatively small number of high priced meters in the Loop, most likely all these pay boxes will be switched over to the new rates just in time for motorists to pay the higher hourly rate Monday morning.

Mayor Daley Wants You!

Private Enforcement Firm Hiring Parking Ticket Writers

Do you enjoy spreading pain and misery to your fellow Chicagoans?

Is orange your favorite color?

Than we have a job for you!

Private Parking Enforcement Officer.

That’s right, a job patrolling the mean streets of Chicago writing Chicago parking tickets.

SERCO, a private firm with a multi-million dollar city contract, has been supplementing the Chicago’s already substantial parking enforcement force with non-union parking enforcement personnel for several years.

Often SERCO people work later evening hours the Department of Revenue doesn’t typically staff.

SERCO also has enforcement contracts with the City Clerk’s office to write city sticker violations and more recently became the official enforcement arm of Chicago Parking Meters, LLC.

Other Cities Learn From Chicago’s Meter Mistakes

My three year old stood at the top of the tall, inflatable slide.

He and a group of his buddies coalesced at the top, looking down at the bottom so far away, trying to screw up the courage to be the first to try it.

“You go first,” my son’s friend said.

That’s what little children say to each other when there’s something new to try or experience.

If the first kid survives that new challenge, the rest will follow. If something bad happens, the others adjust their behavior.

Chicago was the first city to take that leap of faith in privatizing it’s parking meter system.

Parking Enforcement Vehicle Involved In Collision

A few less parking tickets got issued in Chicago Wednesday.

A vehicle operated by LAZ Parking and marked with “Parking Enforcement”,  was involved in a fender bender accident in the 3600 block of north Western Avenue late Wednesday afternoon.