Ask Chicagoist: Parking Meter Zones?

By Thales Exoo in Miscellaneous on Aug 31, 2007 5:51PM

2007_08_askparking.jpgThis week (August 27), I noticed bright stickers appear on parking meters in the Streeterville neighborhood (specifically on Ohio and Grand, east of Fairbanks) with "Zone 3" printed on them. Do you know what this means and if and how it will affect parking in this area?

Thanks.

Ferdy

Hey there, Ferdy.

Chicago splits up the different rates for parking meters into zones. Every meter is assigned a zone, and that determines the fees for that meter. Each meter takes quarters only, so the zone dictates how much time you get for your 25¢. For Zone 1 you get five minutes; Zone 2 it's ten; Zone 3, 15; Zone 4, 20; Zone 5, 30; and finally for Zone 6 you get one hour for your quarter.

The majority of the area around Ohio, Grand and Fairbanks (and, in fact, most of Streeterville) is Zone 3. So you get fifteen minutes per 25¢. However, on Ohio there are also some Zone 5s (30 minutes) interspersed with the Zone 3 meters. We don't think that's related to your question, as those aren't the meters with the stickers, but we thought it was interesting that sometimes the meters change rates mere feet from each other.

Best way to see the different meters and their rates? Check out this cool map of Chicago's parking meters. We were geeking out with it for much longer than we care to admit. It includes rates, locations, and hours each meter is in service. It's also a handy way to determine the number of a parking meter if you want to report a broken one. And we're sure your sense of civic duty is strong enough to go around reporting broken parking meters. The City of Chicago website has a few other nifty interactive maps to check out as well.

As for the stickers on these meters, we contacted 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly's office to see if there are any meter changes coming up. City Council's Committee on Traffic Control and Safety brings up all sorts of meter zone changes and meter additions and removals at each City Council meeting (you can read about all the changes in each meeting's Journal of Proceedings, so there's always the chance something is changing on any given street near you. But, nothing is going on in Streeterville. They told us that no parking changes are planned for the area, and that the stickers were likely just there to indicate each meter's zone, possibly for some planned maintenance.

Image via papalars.

Time to feed the meter? Need some advice? Email ask(at)chicagoist(dot)com.