Early last week the City of Chicago accepted a bid for $1.15 billion to hand over the operation of its 36,000 parking meters to a private company. Chicago Parking Meters, LLC is a part of Morgan Stanley’s investment management division. The group’s offer won the 75-year job to run the city’s parking meter system and City Council approved the deal last Thursday.
What does this mean for Chicago motorists? Basically higher meter rates and fewer free days.
Beginning January 1st, you can expect both downtown and neighborhood metered spots to increase in cost. Where meters used to be $3 per hour in the Loop will jump to $3.50 an hour. And the plan is for downtown meters to top-out at $6.50 by 2013. Outside the city center, parking meters that require only a quarter for an hour may go up to $1 per hour come January, with another $1 hike by 2013.
The new regulations also state that some meters will have to be fed seven days a week, even on holidays. While the new rates are slated to go into effect for the start of 2009, it may take time to update all the meters around the city. So in the New Year be sure to read your meter’s instructions carefully – because chances are they will be different than the last time you parked there.