Parking Downtown? Pony Up

First phase of increased parking fees kicks in Friday

Time's up. The much talked about change in Chicago's parking meter system kicks in today.

Start digging through your change for quarters, because it'll take a lot of them to park in the Loop of Friday.  That's where the higher fees will first be seen, and it'll take 14 quarters to park for an hour, according to Friday's Sun-Times.  That's $3.50 an hour, and the new terms require 24/7 feeding.

If quarters are in short supply for you, fret not.  Credit cards can be used to pay, as well.

The city of Chicago announced late Wednesday, that the $1.16 billion deal has officially closed and meters will start being changed to the new rates and new days and hours of operation on Friday.

It will take several weeks before all the meters are changed over, although the city was pushing for a sweeping change within 24 hours.  Approximately 36,000 meters have to be altered, with accompanying signage posted, as well. 

The Huffington Post Chicago presented  list of the meter rates and meter increase timetable.

*Downtown/Loop: $3.50 an hour (starts February 13)

*Near North, Near West and Near South: $2 an hour (starts February 14)

*Lincoln Park: $1 an hour (starts Feb. 18-19)

*North Side: $1 an hour (starts Feb. 20-28)

*West Side: $1 an hour (starts March 1-2)

*South Side: $1 an hour (starts March 5-9)

After a meter is changed under this new deal, they must be fed 365 days a year. No Sundays off. No parking meter holidays. In some cases, mainly downtown, parking meters will have to be fed 24 hours a day (although the rates are supposed to decrease overnight).

Make sure you check all the signs and stickers on the front of your meter or pay and display machine.

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