Talk about change you can believe in.
Chicago’s parking meter rates go up today.
That means drivers .75 cents more to park in the Loop, where rates will hit $4.25 an hour; and a quarter more at neighborhood meters.
Chicago Parking Meters LLC will begin implementing the rate hikes at all of its 4,100 electronic pay boxes around the city today. They expect to have the entire fleet updated by the end of January.
But high prices aren’t the only thing coming to the updated boxes, which were sold to LAZ parking by the city in a controversial $1.15 billion deal last year.
Among the changes:
Portable Time: If you still have hours or minutes left on your receipt, you can move your vehicle to a new location in the same zone, or a less expensive one, and not have to buy more time.
Extended Time: More time will be available on machines near theaters, universities and hospitals to accommodate events that run long.
Automatic Ticket Dismissal: Information on malfunctioning meters will be shared with the city to aid in the dismissal of illegitimate tickets. Ninety-two tickets have been dismissed since the summer because of inoperable meters, the company said in a release.
Discounted Monthly Passes: A pilot program will be launched at 11 commuter lots to give motorists the option of buying monthly passes at a discount.
Pre-Payment: Pay boxes are programmed to offer pre-payment whenever possible. Motorists parking at 24-hour meters can generally pre-pay until 10:00am unless rush hour restrictions are in place. At most other meters, motorists can pre- pay as early as 5:00am until 10:00am or later.
All 36,000 parking meters in the city earlier this year were privatized in a $1.15 billion, 75-year deal.
"We had to use it, first of all, to balance the budget, which we could not do, and also for extended human services, people dealing with foreclosure, dealing with hunger, dealing with homelessness, ex-offenders, a lot of issues out there. I believe if government has to have a heart in times of economy, you have to use the money as quickly as possible, to shore up what is happening," said Mayor Richard Daley.