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Parking Meter Rates Increase New Year's Day

By Chuck Sudo in News on Dec 28, 2010 1:30PM

Photo by ehfisher
Any discussion of Richard M. Daley's legacy in the years after he leaves office had better include the parking meter lease deal. Like a cold sore, it's the gift that keeps on giving. While the city is left with a pittance of the $1.15 billion lump payment it received in exchange for a 75-year lease handed to Chicago Parking Meters LLC, parking rates are going to see another increase on Jan. 1.

One of the poison pills in the parking meter lease was a series of steep increases in meter rates during the deal's first five years. This latest increase — the third increase, for those keeping count — will raise parking rates downtown another $0.75 to $5 an hour, making downtown Chicago parking the highest of any downtown area in the country. Parking rates in adjoining neighborhoods such as the Gold Coast, River North, Near North and parts of Lincoln Park, will increase to $3 an hour. Parking meter rates in all other neighborhoods will increase an extra $0.25 an hour to $1.25 to $1.50 an hour.

The new meter rate increases are taking business owners, who are already complaining that they're losing business because customers don't want to pay them, by surprise. Motorists who are going to have to shell out an extra quarter an hour to park in outlying neighborhoods aren't to happy about it, either.