Tag Archives: Parking Meter Lease Deal
Ald. Waguespack Slams Report As ‘Flawed & Misleading’
But Alderman Scott Waguespack (32nd), the meter lease deal’s most vocal critic, says Mayor Emanuel’s analysis is “flawed and misleading”.
The Mayor’s press release touts a study which says drivers saved $8.7 million from parking for free at parking meters on Sundays while revenues from extended evening hours at meters have resulted in just $6.6 million–about $800,000 less than expected.
This translates into a net savings for drivers of $2.1 million according to the Mayor’s Office.
“This is a bad deal that we couldn’t make go away, but we did make it a little less bad for the next 70 years while adding some breaks for Chicagoans along the way,” Mayor Emanuel said in a press release issued Wednesday morning.
A report by WGN TV News spotlights one of the problems with Mayor Emanual’s free parking at meters on Sundays.
Business owners on the North Side are saying the free Sunday meters is affecting their bottom line due to the lack of turnover in the metered spaces. Some say business is down 10-20% on Sundays.
The owners argue some motorists park their car in a spot Saturday night and don’t move it until Monday morning–making it impossible for potential customers to shop in high density retail areas in Lincoln Park, Lakeview, Wicker Park and others.
The Mayor’s office told WGN TV that decisions will be made in the next few weeks.
Here’s WGN TV’s full story, “Free Sunday Parking: Good for drivers, Bad for business.”
On the coldest day of the winter, this parking meter pay box in the 1600 block of W. North Avenue seems to be bundle up for protection from the arctic temperatures early this week.
In reality, construction work was being done on a new school and this section of metered parking spaces were temporarily closed to allow large trucks to park and perform some work.
Local news and entertainment website Chicagoist considers the story one of it’s top news stories of 2013.
But Chicagoist editor Chuck Sudo feels, much like the Expired Meter, Emanuel actually may have made the hated lease deal even worse.
Essentially, while Emanuel asked for and got free parking at most meters on Sundays (downtown and any meters within the Central Business District still have to be paid), drivers had to pay for this free parking with an additional hour of enforcement in most places and pay the meters until midnight in River North.
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.”
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.
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.
Passes In Finance Committee, Full Voted Slated For Wednesday
After four long days of hearings on proposed changes to the city’s reviled parking meter lease agreement, the renegotiated deal made it over its first hurdle as it passed out of the Finance Committee Monday on a vote of 15 to 6.
Ald. Scott Waguespack, immediately after the vote Monday afternoon warned there will probably be unforeseen circumstances if it passes the city council.
“There’s a potential of a repeat of the original deal in 2008–people should be wary of that.” said Waguespack who accurately predicted problems from the original lease agreement.
The hearings began with testimony by Clint Krislov, the lead attorney on a lawsuit challenging the legality of the original parking meter lease. Krislov is opposed to the renegotiated deal as he believes it will weaken the city and public’s ability to fight the legal basis for the original agreement.
“Voting for this amendment will have you viewed as voting for the parking agreement,” said Krislov to the aldermen sitting in council chambers. “Like a circus passing through town every few years, these deals are Wall Street’s way of regaling with money acts that astound the crowd, while looting the spectators’ money.”
The draft report by the City Council’s nine-member Chicago Progressive Reform Coalition claims that contrary to estimates from Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration, the deal could wind up resulting in as much as $9 million a year in extra revenue for Chicago Parking Meters, the private company that runs the meters.
The City Council Finance Committee will continue to debate the measure Friday.
This would result in additional revenue of as much as $360 million for Chicago Parking Meters over the remaining 71 years of the agreement privatizing the city’s meters than what is being touted by the mayor’s office. Even the report’s most conservative estimates find the company would make millions of dollars more than the city projects.
The bulk of that money could come from a provision extending parking meter hours in River North by three hours and in other areas by one hour. That comes in exchange for providing free parking on Sundays, although drivers would still have to pay meters in an area bordered by North Avenue, Halsted Street, Roosevelt Road and the lakefront.
Read more at DNA Info Chicago.
Monday morning, 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly began receiving strange emails asking him what he knew about the city extending the hours for parking meters in River North.
That’s how Reilly found out about Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposal to make drivers parking in the 42nd Ward feed the meter until midnight–an additional three hours from the current 9 PM.
The Mayor’s office didn’t give Reilly any warning according to DNA Info Chicago.