New Rules for Chicago Parking Meters

Mayor Rahm Emanuel negotiates big changes to the controversial parking meter deal. But will it save taxpayers any money? According to a press release from the mayor's office, the following changes will occur:

Taxpayers Will See $1 Billion Less in Charges

CPM would release more than $1 billion in estimated future charges to the City. The City received invoices totaling $49 million for the two-year period ending March 31, 2013. As part of the settlement, the City would pay $8.9 million for those two years, in line with its accounting of the amounts due to CPM under the original contract. These amounts were contemplated by the original transaction to compensate either the City or CPM for the City closing or adding parking spaces or changing periods of stay, hours of operation or parking rates. The $40 million difference between what was invoiced and what would be paid under this agreement represents over $1 billion in estimated future charges in today’s dollars to the City over the life of the contract that will no longer be payable.

Free Sundays

Metered parking spaces in Chicago neighborhoods will now be free on Sundays. This will provide a much-needed benefit to people attending religious services and to those enjoying all that our neighborhoods have to offer on Sundays. Neighborhoods affected are those south of Roosevelt, west of Halsted and north of North Avenue. Free Sundays are expected to go into effect by the end of summer 2013.

Convenient Pay-By-Cell Option

CPM will introduce a new pay-by-cell convenience option. This new feature will eliminate the need for parkers to visit the pay box, print a parking receipt and then place the receipt in their windshields. Instead, parkers will be able to simply enter a pay box number visibly posted on street signage into a cellular phone application without the need for a receipt. Parkers choosing to pay-by-cell will see a convenience charge of .35 cents applied to purchases of less than two hours at one time. Their phones will operate as their payment method and individuals can create an account with an initial balance of $20. The pay-by-cell option will be available by the summer of 2014.

Parking Hour Extensions

In connection with the agreement, the City has agreed to extend metered parking by one hour for all blocks where metered parking currently ends at 9:00pm (from 9:00pm to 10:00pm). The area bordered by the Chicago River to the South, the lake to the East, Division Street to the North and the Chicago River to the West will extend meter times by three hours (from 9:00pm to Midnight.)  Residential streets where meters currently run until 6:00pm will not see their hours of operation extended.

Some aldermen are doubtful about the proposed changes. Will taxpayers really save any money? Paris Schutz has the latest on Chicago Tonight at 7:00 pm. Read the full press release in the PDF below. What are your thoughts about the changes? Share your comments below or sound off on our discussion board.