Chicago To Lease Parking Meters To A Company That Will Charge $6.50 An Hour?

The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that Mayor Richard M. Daley of Chicago is trying to get “quickie” approval for a proposal to privatize the city’s parking meters. Under the 75 year lease, Chicago’s 36,000 parking meters would be controlled by a partnership that includes Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners and LAZ Parking. This partnership will, naturally, raise prices. Critics of the proposal say that charging $6.50 an hour by 2013 to park downtown would hurt local businesses.

More troubling is the potential for a conflict of interest:

Ald. William Banks (36th), one of the mayor’s staunchest City Council supporters, warned that charging $6.50-an-hour to park at Loop meters and forcing drivers to feed those meters 24/7 would be a “definite deterrent to people visiting the downtown area,” hurting retailers and restaurants.

Parking enforcement could get tougher if the contractor exercises its right to “supplement” the city’s ticket-writing efforts to “protect its revenue.”

Supplement the city’s ticket writing to “protect its revenue?” Well, that seems like a conflict of interest, doesn’t it? Consumerist expects to receive a lot of email from angry motorists should this deal go through.

Motorists would pay more to park at cashless meter spaces [Sun-Times]
(Photo: mbeldyk )

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  1. mzs says:

    I’m more concerned about the ethnic restaurants and shops outside of the Loop. A lot of times people drive to these places that live nearby simply because it would take 45 minutes and two transfers to get to otherwise. Also I live in the suburbs and I drive to such places pretty often. The Loop has plenty of parking facilities, but there is only street parking outside of the the Loop, downtown, and gold coast and those places have very little to offer in terms of shopping and eating that you can find in any mall anywhere else.

    • gretch9er says:

      @mzs:

      Maybe so in terms of shopping, though not always eating. As a Gold Coast resident, I can say that this cost is beyond ridiculous. People who are visiting residents of the neighborhood already have precious few places where they can park that aren’t metered. As a non-driver, I’m not eligible to get neighborhood parking passes, and I have friends who have spent literally an hour at a time trying to find a parking spot. $6.50/hour, 24 hours a day is ridiculous.

      • Anonymous says:

        @gretch9er: You don’t have a license, then? Know anyone in the neighborhood with one who can get you parking passes? Have them stop by your alderman’s office to pick them up. As a resident of a permit area you should be able to get them.

  2. shoelace414 says:

    Private industry does nothing better than government.

    • Necoras says:

      @shoelace414: Private industry does most things better than government. However, number one on that list is, sometimes problematically, making money.

      • Corporate_guy says:

        @Necoras: The meters already make money. And look at the tow industry. Giving private industry legal authority over citizens is never a good thing.

      • happysquid says:

        @Necoras: Ho Ho Ho!
        please peruse this book by Naomi Klein before proceeding… [www.amazon.com]

        • MOFD says:

          @happysquid:

          Ho Ho yourself. Please read this review of Naomi Klein’s ill-informed screed:

          [www.reason.com]

        • Necoras says:

          @happysquid: Heh, I think you’ve made my point for me: corporations, when given governmental like powers, are better at screwing over the people :).

          Parking meters are there to make money, thus put private industry in charge and they will make more money. Likewise with the towing industry. It doesn’t mean things are fair, it means that the private companies do their jobs faster and more efficiently.

          Look at a closely related example: transportation. Given that time were the only factor, would you rather take a taxi, or public transportation? The taxi is more efficient for you personally, and it will get you there faster. It’s a better choice if time is the only factor involved. Hiring a private limo is an even better choice, ignoring cost.

          Private industry is ruthless because it answers first to its stockholders: profit is king. The company is paid based on its results. Government takes forever because the people involved are more interested in protecting their jobs than doing them: results don’t actually matter as long as the officials get their paycheck. Government is paid based on the fact that it can force you to pay.

          • ILoveVermont says:

            @Necoras: All-in-all I agree pretty much with your statements, except for the one that parking meters are there to make money. Actually, parking meters aren’t there just to make money (overall, they are a money loser for many municipalities, what with hiring meter maids and administrative hassles). Their primary purpose at most sites is to encourage turnover of parking spaces so no one ‘hogs’ a space all day, thus reducing the number of potential shoppers at that location.

            • Necoras says:

              @ILoveVermont: Everything’s there to make money. It may come from sales tax from the surrounding shops, or it may come from meter charges, or it may come from parking tickets. But it’s there to make money all the same. Government takes the tax route. Private companies can’t do that, so they’ll go for the meters and fines.

          • Skybolt says:

            @Necoras: “The company is paid based on its results.” Do you have any contact with the private sector? Rewards in the private sector have only a mild relationship to results. The ability to be cruel and dishonest is the most important job skill.

            The government is answerable to the voters. Therefore, there are always potential consequences to screwing up or doing wrong. Government workers have to treat everyone the same, and can’t give preferential treatment to people with more money, so they can seem inefficient in comparison. Also, because government workers are more likely to be unionized, they are more likely to work at a comfortable pace instead of working in constant terror of unemployment.

            The government does most important things better than the private sector. It does policing better. It does roads better. It does national defense better. It does medical care way, way, better. The idea that the private sector is in any way inherently more capable than the public sector is nothing but right-wing mythology.

            You don’t have to pay the government for anything. Just stop using the socialized roads, cops, water, environmental protection, move to an island by yourself and be a libertarian hero. Most of us don’t want to live in a world where people look out only for themselves, therefore, we willingly pay taxes and fees. It’s part of being in civilization.

            • Valhawk says:

              @Skybolt: Your clearly not a doctor, but I digress.

              The problem with your analysis is that your forget that the contractor is answerable to the contractee. If the company mismanages the meters the government will award the contract to someone else.

              • savvy9999 says:

                @Valhawk: 75 years from now? That’s hardly apropos in this situation.

                What is the redress for grievances if a company has a 3-generations-long, iron-clad contract?

    • goodpete says:

      @shoelace414: I beg to differ, I think that private industry can be much more innovative than the government on some things. But the government needs to be smart about privatization.

      In this case, I would have said, rather than privatizing just the “meters,” privatize the parking spots. Say that they need to come up with X dollars a year per spot. But also hand it out to several different companies in order to encourage competition and innovation.

      Who knows, maybe they’d come up with a way to have “sponsors” cover part of the cost through ads. Or they could have monthly subscriptions, or put in charging stations at some meters for plug-in hybrids and electric cars. They could also implement sensors and networking in order to be alerted when someone is parking without paying, greatly reducing the cost of “meter maids.” They could even offer other services such as valet parking services to offset their costs and decrease the generic “parking” cost.

      What they’re doing now is simply encouraging the company to be jerks, not to be smart. It’s no good.

    • MooseOfReason says:

      @shoelace414: Wrong. Government is inefficient at everything it does.

      Take the Post Office, the government’s monopoly on first class mail. Every year, the price of a stamp goes up. It’s like a national tradition. It doesn’t have to be. If the government legalized competition, you could have a much cheaper, more efficient way to deliver mail.

      Plus if no one parks in the spots, the company would have to entice people to park there, by lowering the prices or offering other incentives.

      Daley probably thought about raising the rate higher than that himself if he couldn’t just sell the meters.

      • Barney_The Plug_ Frank says:

        @MooseOfReason: One exception, fighting wars. US Army vs. Blackwater.

      • TVarmy says:

        @MooseOfReason: You realize that the post office is non-profit but self sufficient by design, right? When gasoline or the cost of living or both go up, so must the price of stamps. It’s not illegal to send an envelope via USPS. They can’t put it in your mailbox, but they can leave it at your door just the same. Problem is that it costs much more, and isn’t always as fast. From what I’ve heard, they price the stamps so that they make a profit one year, coast on the profit the next year, and then break even on the third year, and repeat that cycle. Seems to me that a corporation would want to take a cut for itself.

        Also, I defy you to find a more cost effective way to send books through the mail within our shores in place of USPS media mail.

  3. weakdome says:

    Yet another reason I wish our public transportation system didn’t suck so bad (or cost more than driving your own vehicle, at least here in MA)

  4. Daveinva says:

    I just read Tom Vanderbilt’s fascinating book, “Traffic” this weekend (good review here: [www.city-journal.org]).

    In that book, he argues persuasively that street parking should be *more* expensive, not less expensive, and certainly not free.

    Of course, that’s not a new argument– “The High Cost of Free Parking” by Donald Shoup argues for it as well.

    [www.usatoday.com]

    • Mary says:

      @Daveinva: I actually am currently reading The High Cost of Free Parking, and the guy makes some really good arguments.

      Of course, I also believe in New Urbanism where you actually design the town in a way where cars and parking are close to unnecessary, but that’s just me.

    • ludwigk says:

      @clair: I was thinking, “those meters better have f’ing dollar slots”.

  5. quagmire0 says:

    That’s our Richie Daley!

  6. Ash78 ain't got time to bleed says:

    Maybe he could just bulldoze some giant X’s in the pavement in the middle of the night. That’ll deter ‘em good!

  7. Triborough says:

    Nothing is like good old fashioned Chicago political corruption, something we’ll all be getting lessons on come January 20th!

    • absentmindedjwc says:

      @Triborough:
      oh please, just be quiet already… he won fair and square and there is absolutely no way he could do any worse than the idiot in office now.

      Short of pushing the button, he cannot possibly screw up this country any more.

      • Cattivella says:

        @absentmindedjwc: don’t be naive, he certainly can. The country is in a pretty fragile state and depending on decisions made the country can either totter and fall off the cliff or recover. There’s a huge potential for a giant screw up and I definitely don’t envy the person having to make the big decisions right now.

      • Triborough says:

        @absentmindedjwc: Yeah, he won since people were bad consumers who got taken in by slick marketing.

        • Anonymous says:

          @Triborough:
          I guess we’d be better off with the McCain-Palin team who showed such good, informed, thoughtful decision making abilities throughout the campaign??? Get over it. You lost and you should rally behind YOUR president you UnAmerican loser.

  8. NotChoinski says:

    1. $6.50 an hour street parking will kill business but it will also encourage green practices, like not bringing a car downtown.

    2. I hope the agreement also means the leasee of the meters is respnsible for meter maintenance and replacement.

    3. Who will issue and enforce parking tickets?

    3. In Boston, where I live, parking enforcement was never about a city attempting to solve a problem like parking. Instead its meant for one thing – raise revenue through violations. Feeding a meter for more than 2 hours will get you a ticket. Parking at an out of order one for more than 1 hour will get you a ticket. (And one out of every five meters is out of ordrer).

    • weakdome says:

      @NotChoinski: My favorite one was, parking my motorcycle in between another car and a dumpster (in a space that wasn’t large enough for another car, but also wasn’t officially a parking space) landed me TWO fines: One for being parked in an illegit space, and another for parking in a residential-sticker area without a permit. FUCK Boston parking.

    • absentmindedjwc says:

      @NotChoinski:

      Wait a tick… number two just made me think of something…. does this mean that destroying the meter is no longer considered destruction of government property?? HOT DAMN, im goin’ meter bashin’!

      heh, but really… downtown is going to suck if this happens =(

    • quagmire0 says:

      @NotChoinski: Problem is that the Chicago transit system couldn’t handle such an increased load of passengers. It’s in total disarray. Also, raising prices on street parking will not discourage people who NEED to do business from coming into the city.

      Plus, if I’m not mistaken, most of the meters are in the Loop area of the city, so this doesn’t really effect most of the places in the city that people would go – and park.

    • bunt says:

      @NotChoinski: sorry, but im going to be quite frank here:

      1) who gives a flying shit about green when people are losing jobs and business. especially in todays economic crisis. plus chicago’s transit system is pretty busy already with no REAL plan to really improve the infrastructure.

      2) i read yesterday (i think the trib) that the leasee is responsible.

      3a) the city will be responsible for issuing and collecting for the lessor.

      3b) while im not sure if and when you were last in chicago, but there is already WAY too many tickets for anything here. parking at a broken meter guarantees a ticket, and the city loves to tow anything and everything. and good luck disputing anything, even if you were parked legit.

      4) although you had no 4, the new company will do away with holiday parking, aka, meters that currently do not charge on sundays, will with the change-over.

      thanks daley you lying scumbag. wasnt it only last year when you said you would never raise parking meter rates?

  9. logicalnoise says:

    meanwhile the public transportation in chicago is a fn joke.

  10. Corporate_guy says:

    Politicians are so stupid. If a private company is going to raise the rates, then just raise them yourself and keep ownership of the meters. It is not right to let a private company have the ability to write legally enforceable tickets. Or for the city to be writing tickets to enforce meters owned by a private company.

    And what about all the side costs? Like the cost of the maintaining the part of the road used for the metered parking? Or the court costs associated with people disputing tickets they don’t deserve. The city is still going to be paying all the expenses associated with the meters besides the meters themselves.

    • absentmindedjwc says:

      @Corporate_guy:

      sure they can, if a meter is owned by a private company, parking there without feeding the meter can be construed as trespass. They can just have a police officer write a parking ticket for the violation instead of towing the car.

      Your second paragraph brings some very good questions though. I dont see the company in question maintaining the road in front of the meter. Not to mention, I thought streets were owned by the city, I did not think anyone but the city could collect on that land. Unless, that is, they are actually selling the land to the companies. As it is public land, how can a company charge you to be there?

      • Valhawk says:

        @absentmindedjwc: I’m assuming that the company is paying the city(whether the budget will ever see it is up for debate rimshot) and that the city will still be responsible for maintaining the street.

    • Winstonian says:

      @Corporate_guy: This is Dick Daley you’re talking about – the king of “If I can make a buck off it, or make someone else miserable with it, I’ll do it!”

      I expect to see some corporation (that just happens to be in the meter-draining and towing business) making a nice multi-million dollar donation to the Daley Family Historical Museum and Vacation Mansion real soon now.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Of course, if no one is willing to pay $6.50 an hour, the company will lower the price.

    And if enough people are willing to pay $6.50 an hour that the meters are full all day, well, why shouldn’t they charge that much?

    (Note: This is completely aside from all the bigger issues of “High Cost of Free Parking”, congestion management, green practices, and the like that all could conceivably support higher parking rates)

  12. katylostherart says:

    it costs 50 cents per 15-20 minutes in my home town on the street. as a result i do avoid shopping there. if i do go into town, i park in whatever free parking i can find and usually it’s “for customers of” whatever only.

    it’s ridiculous to make it more difficult for people to spend money on the local economy. seriously, how did humans get so stupid?

  13. bagumpity says:

    Just wait. In two years, the company will be asking for grants (aka handouts) for things ranging from meter maintenance or reimbursement for not enough people using the meters. And they’ll get the money.

  14. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    Semi-serious question, If a private company issues me a ticket, what authority do they have to make me pay it?

    • Scuba Steve says:

      @Franklin Comes Alive!: They have the right to send you to collections, and the expense is usually a valid one.

      • Mary says:

        @Scuba Steve: Correct here. I actually work in parking enforcement (I know, I’m evil) for a private company and that’s our recourse for when people don’t pay tickets.

        A ding on your credit isn’t anything to laugh about. And yet every day people say, “I have nothing to do with you people so I just chucked the ticket. You can’t make me pay.”

      • absentmindedjwc says:

        @Scuba Steve:
        but what if they do not own the land that they wrote you a ticket for? Since the land is public land, how can there be a case for them there?

  15. plethera of ideas says:

    more importantly, who has $6.50 in quarters?

    • jenl1625 says:

      @clair: The article title refers to cashless meters, so presumably you have no choice but to give it some form of plastic.

      Then you get to hope you’re not getting dinged a couple MORE bucks by your bank due to the form of the charge going through.

  16. facted says:

    I’m not sure abut $6.50 an hour, but higher parking prices have actually be shown in some areas of California to actually increase business for retailers (it encourages higher car turnover in front of stores). Not to mention you can actually find a parking spot when you really need it :)

    As someone pointed out, Donald Shoup has written a great book about this topic (and street allocation for cars vs. people) and I wish his ideas were incorporated into cities across the US.

  17. BloggyMcBlogBlog says:

    If you’ve ever been to Chicago, you know that half of the police force is for writing tickets.

    • absentmindedjwc says:

      @BloggyMcBlogBlog:

      and the other half is for adding to the national police corruption statistics……. ugh.. I hate this town =(

    • westvillagegirl (exiled in chicago) says:

      @BloggyMcBlogBlog: I get to go to the Police Station tonight to file a police report for an accident I was in on last Wednesday night. Because, after an hour waiting for the cops to show (the dispatcher said I must wait) an IDOT guy finally came along and said to just file the report over the phone. When I called they told me I had to appear in person. I hope they don’t arrest me!

    • jcargill says:

      @BloggyMcBlogBlog: The great thing about Chicago is that you don’t even have to let your meter run out before you get a ticket: the meter maid picks a block, hands out a ticket to everyone parked on that street, violator or not, until hr daily quota is filled, then heads to a tavern for the remainder of the shift.

      I love Chicago!!!

  18. jtheletter says:

    Cue 2010 budget meeting where taxes are raised to supplement the lost revenue. The only way this makes sense is if the deal includes a percentage of profits given to the city annually for the life of the contract, even then I would expect the city to receive less revenue than if they kept ownership.

  19. CardedForDissent says:

    If cities transitioned meters into ones that would accept dollar bills or even debit/credit cards, this wouldn’t be such a major issue. People would certainly more readily swipe their cards for an hour of parking than have to go through the hassle of digging for 26 quarters. The quarters are definitely part of the issue.

    • DanteDiablo says:

      @CardedForDissent: The new meters do just that. It’s a single box that covers a stretch of street. You pay at the central machine which prints a ticket that you place in your front window.
      Dollar bills and credit cards are a-okay.

    • TVarmy says:

      @CardedForDissent: No. I’m a college student in New Jersey, and sometimes I like to visit Princeton on weekends for some fun. I make $8 an hour and I can only work over the summer. If I have to pay $6.50 just for the privilege of parking my car, there’s no way I’ll do that any more. And it’s a shame, too, because many of the businesses there cater to college students and are otherwise pretty reasonable, in contrast to the upscale shops.

  20. Courteous_Gentleman says:

    Can’t they just raise the rates by a dollar, and baseball bat my nuts instead?

  21. mbz32190 says:

    Don’t worry, at the rate the economy is going, there will be no small businesses left in a downtown by 2013 and no reason to park there.

  22. GrantGannon says:

    Article I read this morning in the red eye states that the meters will eventually have to be outfitted with a call-to-pay or debit/credit card functionality.

    Regardless, I’ve lived here for six weeks (Evanston to be exact) and the concept of driving and parking downtown is still very foreign to me. The CTA system may be unreliable but a 30-minute train ride into downtown and $15 for cab fare anywhere in the loop sure beats the prospect of navigating the loop and finding/paying for parking.

    • SisterHavana says:

      @GrantGannon: I live in the SW suburbs and drive to Midway, park there and take the Orange Line when I need to get downtown.

      *grumbles about CTA rate hike*

    • westvillagegirl (exiled in chicago) says:

      @GrantGannon: Half an hour? You’re joking, right? Or are you talking about the Evanston “Express”? Which only runs during rush hour… Talk about a misnomer.

      I spent many a drunken night freezing my ass off waiting for that purple train at Howard. But that was when people still smoked on the platforms, so at least THEN there were mitigating factors.

    • Brunette Bookworm says:

      @GrantGannon: But, there are those of us who live in NW Indiana who end up driving to downtown Chicago. At least $6.50 an hour is better than those parkign garages that charge $25 for the first hour…

  23. DanteDiablo says:

    Street parking is a scarce resource. Street parking in the loop is even scarcer. Private parking lots will charge as much as $20 an hour. Even at $6.25, this is still a steal.

    Besides, if anybody is driving to downtown Chicago and counting on street parking to be available when they get there, they might as well just stay home.

    • jcargill says:

      @DanteDiablo: Nonsense, they are going to hit the other neighborhoods with this too. Why would they not? The areas just north, like Gold Coast, and just south, like around Columbia College, are inexpensive and accessable places to park for a quick visit. We can kiss them goodbye.

  24. Trai_Dep says:

    They made public/private “partnerships” here in CA for those red light cameras, with Boeing splitting the revenues from municipalities.
    Since Boeing has an incentive to err on the side of charging violators (yup, it’s the private company that decides), there are a blizzard of tickets send, in plain envelopes, to innocents. Thousands were sent to drivers making legal right-hand turns on a red, alone.
    Nice thing is that the original ticket looks like junk mail, is discarded, followed by one with the city seal on it, demanding payment, with no chance to fight the charge since the time has expired. Argued my way out of two of them, both times totally innocent.

    It’s a racket. Run, Chicago, RUN!

    Not that I’m a bitter, red-light running, leadfoot scofflaw or anything. Err, when mostly sober.

  25. GreatWhiteNorth says:

    so much for visiting Chicago… at least with a vehicle…

  26. mrmysterious says:

    It would be cheaper to higher a day laborer to drive your car around the block continuously than to park for an hour.

  27. Mary says:

    Okay, I know this makes me the devil, but I work in parking enforcement and the fact that most people don’t realize, as put forward very well in the book The High Cost of Free Parking, is that parking costs money and free parking just costs the consumer or the taxpayer if you use it or not.

    So while I think $6.50 is too much, at the same time, I’d have to sit down and look at their budget to see why. People are constantly telling me that we charge too much for parking (I guess they don’t realize I pay the same rate they do) and once I got someone to explain it to me, there are fees people don’t even dream of associated with parking that make the rates for the spaces so high.

  28. kepler11 says:

    several observations:

    1. Chicago has already sold off one of its tollways, to make a quick buck, raise revenue, and not have to raise taxes. This is always a mistake, because private companies wouldn’t be buying infrastructure if the profit potential wasn’t good — so why should a community sell off something that benefits it to own. Public things like this are run at a loss, almost always, because it benefits people more than they know, or are prepared to pay for out of pocket, per use.

    2. The root cause of this is that taxpayers have become averse to paying their share of what it costs to live in a civil society, and want the benefits, but without the maintenance. (also part is that govt gets inefficient). But as a result, things that used to benefit all at a low cost, are increasingly charged per use, at full price, and the rich are the ones who can afford it.

    3. Finally, if a private company is willing to pay that much to take over a public concession/infrastructure, whether parking meters, freeways, etc. — there must be a profit in it somewhere. Why should govt sell it off? It is always a losing proposition in the long run, that doesn’t benefit taxpayers — in the long run. Maybe they will get a quick cash infusion — but it’s like taking out a temporary loan — someone will have to pay for it later (or not get the profits/benefits that they could’ve gotten) compared to if they had held on to it and run it responsibly.

    4. Chicago and Daly have the stench of just about the most corrupt city in America.

    • Jabes says:

      @kepler11: Numbers 2 and 4 cancel each other out. This place (city and county governments alike) is so corrupt that all the massive taxes we’re paying aren’t giving us anything in return. It’s not a matter of wanting the benefits without paying for the maintenance. It’s wanting the benefits we’re already paying for and not getting.

  29. 108Reliant says:

    I will always fail to understand the so called “corporate” thinking of these stupid politicians. You are going to spend all that money on paying an outside company to install these new worthless meters. Honestly, who is going to pay such a ridiculous amount to park? You’ve got a lot of mom and pop shops who are going to lose a lot of money, all because of this expensive, lame attempt by the city to gain riches.

  30. Wireless Joe says:

    Thank god for disabled plates.

  31. JohnDeere says:

    who the hell carries 6.50 in quarters with them all the time?

  32. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    Looks like they’re trying the London model.

  33. quagmire0 says:

    Is it me, or are the members of the political party that is supposed to be looking out for the common man looking for new and inventive ways of sticking it to the common man? :D

  34. Swearengen says:

    Chicago will end up throwing the windfall away and then have to raise taxes to make up for the lost revenue stream from the parking meters. Chicago is like a the lottery winner who won $300 million and then buys 15 bentleys and goes to the strip club. They don’t know what to do with the money when they get it, so they spend it stupidly, and then when the money is gone, they hit other people up for some cash.

  35. Marshfield says:

    we have the credit card meters in Seattle and I really like them. Parking is like $2-3.00/hr depending on location. They are very convenient, I never have change for a meter but always have a debit card handy.

  36. IrvCrapper says:

    This is the privatization racket. It is evil. I’m never happy when I get a ticket from a state/city-paid meter person, but imagine if I get ticketed or towed by Morgan Stanley.

    In the first scenario, I know that I’ve screwed the state by taking OUR spot longer than I’d paid for. In which case, I’m clearly in the wrong.

    In the second scenario, I resent the private company from effecting businesses that is in the state/cities interest – spending money, doing public business, etc.

    But this is what happens when the pension and health liabilities become difficult for a city to bear. This is mostly the blame of health providers and insurers fucking people with their outrageous fees and 10%+ annual rate increases.

    This isn’t the mayor’s fault. This is private business strangling the public’s ability to fund essential services.

    SOCIALISM!

  37. DeleteThisAccount says:

    So is this how Daley plans on paying for the Olympics?…

    Seriously, this is the dumbest thing I have seen my beloved Chicago consider in a while (and that is really saying something given the constant assclownerie of Todd Stroger)

  38. ZombieFlanders says:

    Chicago nickel and dimes you to death. I really want to move out of the city to say ‘fuck you’ to the ridiculous practices they have in place(in my neighborhood every morning they have vans w/cameras drive all around to check all the vehicles for any type of infraction, and they also have uniformed people walking up and down the roads issuing tickets). Yet, the CTA can’t make a train go between two stops without the annoying ‘beep beep beep, we are experiencing a delay’. Fuck that. Going anywhere in this burg is an exercise in not moving. As I’m getting older, going out and boozing is less and less of a priority, and keeping the money I earn is moving up the importance ladder.

  39. katiat325 says:

    Not knowing much about parking in Chicago, I can only assume that there are also parking garages that are available. But now I also know that San Francisco isn’t the only wacky. Our gov’t wants to make people pay for driving in congested areas — $3 proposed fine each time. Those congested areas are near bridge entrances, so not only do people have to pay bridge fair to ENTER the city, they will soon have to pay a congested area fine for LEAVING the city. And yes, our public transportation is pretty bad, especially the busses that bums get on in the back and urinate themselves.

  40. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Then, everyone will stop parking downtown..and stop patronizing downtown restaurants and businesses. Sounds like a great plan to me! (NOT!)

  41. johnnya2 says:

    The streets are paid for by the taxpayers. If a private industry wants to pay for the upkeep and maintenance of those streets that is fine, then build them and charge what you want, but until that day, the PUBLIC owns the right to them. When their parking meter fails and they decide to tow or ticket a car the person will need to spend their time and money against a private corporation to try and get their money back. Good luck on that.

  42. synergy says:

    This is a good way to keep people from driving so many cars and using mass transportation into a place not built for so many individual cars.

  43. crashfrog says:

    @MooseOfReason: If the government legalized competition, you could have a much cheaper, more efficient way to deliver mail.

    FedEx, UPS, DHL. Each of which costs about five times more to deliver the same materials more slowly and don’t usually deliver on Saturday or to your home.

    The USPS, incidentally, almost always turns a profit.

    • jstonemo says:

      @crashfrog: I sincerely hope you are joking! The USPS has operated in the red for most recent years. For 2008, the USPS is $2.8 BILLION in the hole!

      Most of the comments on this topic have been woefully ignorant of economics and history. Government does NOT do anything more efficient than government. Government’s only job was to be to defend the citizens from foreign and domestic threats and maybe build infrastructure or at least oversee it.

      Government has gotten so big and bloated because we the people are too self-absorbed to help out our fellow man, so we let the government take over that role. As long as we don’t have to think about the people who are really in need of help, that’s all that matters. We just say “I pay my taxes, if you need help, ask Uncle Sam”. Then the human nature of greed takes hold when we are all asking “where’s my share?” First the people, now the corporations. Stick a fork in it, it’s done. Welcome to the coming serfdom/slavery.

      • jstonemo says:

        @jstonemo: Let me rephrase part of my statement. Government does NOT do anything more efficient than private industry.

      • crashfrog says:

        @jstonemo: How does shipping not constitute an infrastructure?

        I sincerely hope you are joking! The USPS has operated in the red for most recent years.

        No joke. The USPS has turned a $1 billion dollar profit, on average, for the last five years. Their goal this year is to come out $100 million ahead, and with gas prices in the hole (but people still not travelling, and therefore needing to ship presents for Christmas) they’re liable to do just that.

        Plus the guys down at the local office are always super-helpful and friendly, unlike the surly minimum wage kids at the local UPS and FedEx. Search around here on Consumerist for some of the UPS horror stories.

        The truth is that the US Post Office beats the pants off any of its private sector competitors, and you could see that if your glibertarian ideology wasn’t getting in the way. Shrug off Atlas Shrugged and start seeing the way things work in the real world.

  44. ageshin says:

    When I was a collage student in Chicago in the 60′s I used to be in the Loop (down town Chicago) five times a week. I went to Roosevelt University which is in the Loop,and I shopped there all the time. Today I don’t go there at all, as parking is so expensive. If I need to go to the Loop I take public transportation which is quite good. What I worry about is the rest of Chicago. If this goes through, it will be the small local shops that will suffer the most. Daily is selling the public commens for short term gain. He is trying to avoid the really hard choices he needs to make during the coming economic downturn at the public’s expence. What next, I wonder. Anyone interested in Lake Michigan?

  45. jstonemo says:

    The contracts have to be 1 year in length with a minimum of 3 companies bidding for the contract. If that doesn’t happen, take out the meters.

  46. jcargill says:

    Daley’s plan for chi is to basically make it so expensive that only rich white people want to live or even visit. It’s been a slow, but very effective process. He can take his time: he’s mayorissimo for life.

  47. cordeliapotter says:

    It’s better for the walkability of the city to discourage driving. So I’m all for high parking meter prices.

    • bunt says:

      @cordeliapotter: unfortunately a large chunk of the inflow of cash comes from either the burbs or from near-by states. discouraging driving only will hurt the businesses, which in turn hurt the city, which in turn hurts its residents.

      i mean my god, thanks to stroger the sales tax is 10.5%! why discourage business sales!? isnt this counter-intuitive?

      i dont have a car in the city myself, but i know a damned lot of people who drive into the city for this or that. and they will NOT take public transit or walk if the (un)convenience of it doesnt outweigh the need.

  48. Anonymous says:

    This is exactly what happened in fascist Italy… look into the history of Public Private Partnershps. Money like this is supposed to go directly to the city, as a tax to pay for infrastructure, and repairs to the city. Banks, and corporations have no buisness bidding on these kind of government matters. Im not being radical, well maybe I am, but a radical is one who wants to get to the bottom of things, all you have to do is look up the history of PPP’s, and corporativsm, as Mussolini said that’s what fascism really is. Also look into Mayor Bloomberg of NY, and Governor Schwarzenegger did, touring the country and talking about building the nations infrastructure through PPP’s, under the guise of major banks and corporations, as opposed to the government serving its function, and having it cost us all a lot more… and if you can’t afford it… well they obviously don’t care about the foreclosures going on around this country as they have risen almost 80%, and we just missed 1 million this year, and are expected to see a million this coming year.