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IS CHANGE GOOD? For Chicago Parking Meter System, Now Privatized - Not Yet?


An incredible sum - $1.2 Billion, up front - with a portion going to bridge the City of Chicago budget gap right away.

But the transition of roughly 36,000 Chicago Parking Meters from municipal to private management has more than it's share of glitches.

Here are a few, from Dan Hilkevitch's story in today's Chicago Tribune -

- Many meters have the wrong fee and violation info stickers on them.  Often times, the meter coin settings don't match the money required.

- Wrong meter zone rates.  The city recently reduced the number of meter fee zones, to three, from the former seven.

- An explosion of non-operative meters - many stuffed with too many coins.  Many local business owners complain they are not being emptied of their booty quickly enough.

- Confusion over the days parking meters are enforced.  Old rules usually required meter feeding only on weekdays and some Saturdays.  New enforcement is seven days a week - including holidays!

The company who now manages the Chicago Parking Meter System, Chicago Parking Meters LLC, gets to pocket all the revenue from the meters.  The city keeps all the fines from meter violations.

Until cashless parking meters are introduced beginning in a few months, per the City of Chicago Agreement with the new management company, it will take up to 28 quarters to park for two hours at a Chicago Parking Meter.  The priciest meters - Downtown Chicago, in The Loop.

Chicago Department of Revenue Spokesperson Ed Walsh advises parkers who encounter a defective meter to call the City of Chicago to report the meter - 312-744-PARK, or the city's non-emergency 311 lineLAZ Parking, who administers the meters for Chicago Parking Meters LLC, also offers a toll-free defect line - 877-242-7901.  Reporting defective meters can be raised as a defense to contest an issued parking ticket.

Meter enforcement and ticket placement can now be conducted by the private meter management company, as well as the Chicago Police and City of Chicago Meter Enforcement Personnel - seemingly, all the more reason to feed Chicago Parking Meters, even if only stopping for a short time.

So keep those old paper coffee cups handy in your vehicle - and fill them to the brim with plenty of parking meter quarters!


Posted: Friday, March 20, 2009 6:25 AM by Dean's Team


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