Parking Meter Rates Jump Saturday

Chicago's downtown rates will be highest in the entire country

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    It's like you don't even have time to get used to it and the pain increases.

    It's like you don't even have time to get used to it and the pain increases.

    Effective Saturday, it'll cost even more to park your car at a meter in the city of Chicago.  It's the third consecutive year of the increases.

    In the Loop and the Central Business District, you'll pay a full $2 more than you did three years ago.  Meters in the Loop will cost $5 per hour.  In the CBD, they'll be $3 per hour.

    That means -- Congratulations, Chicago! -- you've got the most expensive downtown parking meters in the entire country.

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    In Chicago's neighborhoods, the meters will jump another quarter, to $1.50 per hour.

    The scheduled increases continue for another two years, and after 2013 increases will be tied to the rate of inflation, according to the deal on the 36,000 metered parking spaces.

    "Seventy-plus years of rate increases, that's what's on my mind," said Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd), who was one of only five aldermen who voted against the deal.

    He said that because street parking revenues don't go to the city, taxpayers will likely be the ones making up for that lost revenue to pay for things like police officers and the pensions for the city's retiring first responders.

    "You can't single it out and say, 'Oh, it's just a few cents on the dollar that we're raising it.'  You have to include all those other aspects of the city finances," he said.

    The City Council approved the 75-year, $1.15 billion privatization plan in December 2008.