New Year Brings New — And Higher — Parking Rates

UPDATED 12/28/10 9:34 a.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) – Motorists are about to get a belated Christmas gift: a parking-rate increase from the company that leases Chicago parking spaces on the street.

Beginning Jan. 1, rates in the Loop go from $4.25 to $5 an hour, which the watchdog website calls the highest rate in the nation.

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Parking tops out at $3.75 per hour in Manhattan, $4 per hour in Los Angeles.

Rates outside the Loop — but still in the downtown area — go from $2.50 to $3. The affected area for these rates is bounded roughly by Division Street, Cermak Road, Halsted Street and Lake Michigan.

Meanwhile, neighborhood parking goes from $1.25 to $1.50 an hour.

This will be the third rate hike since Mayor Richard M. Daley convinced the City Council to lease city parking meters to a private firm in a controversial and abrupt deal.

Chicagoans like Matthew Alexander tell CBS 2 the hike is not unexpected, but it’s too much.

“At that time of the year, right, Christmastime, might as well jack everything up,” Alexander said.

It also won’t be the last increase. The lease deal calls for rate hikes again in 2012 and 2013.

By 2013, it will cost $6.50 per hour, or 26 quarters, to park in the Loop, $4 to park in downtown outside the Loop, and $2 to park in the neighborhoods. After that, rates will be adjusted annually by inflation.

Two years ago, the city entered a 75-year, $1.15 billion lease with Chicago Parking Meters, LLC, a firm organized by Morgan Stanley, to privatize the collection of funds at meters.

In addition to jacking up rates and replacing the old parking meters with electronic pay boxes, the privatization deal also did away with free Sunday and holiday parking.

Some areas are also subject to confusing regulations. For example, on a short, one-way westbound block of Drummond Place between Lehmann Court and Clark Street on the northern edge of the Lincoln Park neighborhood, the south side of the street requires meters to be fed until 6 p.m., seven days a week. But on the north side of the street, meters must be fed until 9 p.m., but only Monday through Saturday.

The parking meter deal has since been roundly criticized as a bad deal for the city and a bad deal for those who have to park here.

Also, about six months after the parking meter deal was approved, the city Inspector General’s office indicated the city could have reaped $1 billion more for the meters than it got in the deal.

But Mayor Daley has always defended the deal saying it prevented a tax increase and service cuts.

As for the money from the lease, it’s just about about gone.

  • eric

    Higher parking rates only means more money for the politicians to squander.
    And possibly the company that owns all of the parking meters in Chicago.
    Parking rates have skyrocketed, and this does nothing to reduce the deficit; the politicians will outspend any increase in fees, rates, taxes.
    It’s time to call a halt to unnecessary spending by the poloiticians, for once and for allo.

  • Vicky

    Make sure that all of you stupid morons vote for Emanuel so you can bend over some more

  • Rachael


  • streamwood bill

    Born and raised in Chicago, I still work in the downtown area. Now live in NW burbs, but do most commerce in Chicago. HOWEVER, when I retire, I surely will not consider living here. Not the Chicago area that I once knew and loved. Too bad Daley did this. This WILL BE HIS LEGACY more so than the failed Olympic effort. GO AWAY DALEY !!!!

  • mike johnson

    WOW! We get to hold on to our butts, while he Limo’s off into the sunsetT Gotcha and gone, Um Daley,… Gotcha and gone! My Man! RAh-Rah-Manuel, same nefarious, contumacious stuff. How in the world was he a part of “YES WE CAN”?

  • jimmy

    Look at the bright side, most places you go people are refusing to pay the rip off rate and park elsewhere. End result, I have little trouble finding a place to park on the rare occasion I am willing to pay the man.

  • Smash Crasher

    Hahahahah! You Democratic idiots in Chicago deserve everything you get. And now you’ll elect Emanuel. You have no idea why, but you’ll elect him anyway. Stupid Dems. Wallow in your own mire.

  • scoperadio

    WHOA WHOA WHOA, I believe it is a REPUBLICAN idea to want to privateize everything, daley just stole their idea, and this parking meter deal proves that the republican idea of less regulation and more privatization is bad for consumers and good for companies. I agree that people in chicago who have voted for daley for this long are morons, but demopcrats know they didn’t vote for republican ideas, and daley throughout the years has become a republican. As for the parking meter rates, wheres the outcry to overturn the deal? Why aren’t alderman up in arms about this and trying to get rid of it? Parking meters was another good reason for me to move out of state, another reason was red light cameras, glad to not be in chicago anymore.

  • Del Valle: Parking Meter Deal Is Bad For Chicago « CBS Chicago – Breaking News, Sports, Weather, Traffic, and the Best of Chicago

    […] Beginning Jan. 1, rates in the Loop go from $4.25 to $5 an hour. By contrast, parking tops out at $3… […]

  • Moseley Braun: City Got ‘Snookered’ By Parking Meter Deal « CBS Chicago – Breaking News, Sports, Weather, Traffic, and the Best of Chicago

    […] The private company now running the meters also implemented a meter rate increase on Jan. 1. […]

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