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City Council Hits The Gas On 'Surge Pricing' Parking Near Wrigley Field

By Stephen Gossett in News on Mar 29, 2017 7:08PM

While you were salivating over 16-inch brisket grilled cheeses at Guaranteed Rate Field, the City Council delivered some baseball-related news of its own. The Council put the finishing touches on the push to instate "surge pricing" parking rates near Wrigley Field, which would double parking costs near the stadium during games and big events.

The pilot program—which has some aldermen grumbling about the possibility of its expansion—raises meter rates from $2 per hour to $4 per hour at 1,100 spaces around Wrigley Field during stadium events. The "surge" hits roughly two hours before the start of a Cubs home game or other special event and lasts for seven hours thereafter.

According to the Sun-Times and per a new change brought forth on Wednesday, that seven-hour threshold would extend even past the 10 p.m. payment cutoff, if applicable.

The affected area roughly includes the streets between Irving Park Road, Southport, Belmont and Broadway.

The program, includes necessary signage, goes into effect the evening of April 10, the same day as the defending World Series champs' home opener. The city says the pilot program will rake in $1.5 million in revenue, which will be used to counterbalance payments made by the city to Chicago Parking Meters LLC.

It's true that the Cubs are already the most expensive ticket in the majors, and the city is always looking for creative revenue streams. But transit watchers say the new rate isn't a mere cash grab, but a wise market correction.

Streetsblog Chicago wrote:

"While special consideration should be given to make sure that higher meter prices wouldn’t be an unfair burden for residents in lower-income communities, surge pricing should be considered all scenarios where parking is at a premium, including special events and retail districts during high-demand times. In addition to making it easier to find an available spot and reducing congestion and pollution, the higher parking turnaround would be good for local merchants’ bottom line"

According to mayoral representatives, some Wrigleyville businesses have welcomed the pricing structure as well, hoping it'll discourage long-dawdling parkers.