Chicago's Privatized Parking Meters Are An Epic Failure

The City of Chicago has gone ahead with a deal to lease the city’s parking meters to a company that raised the rates — and the results are reportedly tragic. It now costs 28 quarters to park for two hours in the Loop, which some say is causing the meters to fill up with quarters and break.

…But hardware store owner Dan O’Donnell said broken parking meters could be found along Armitage Avenue, and for two weeks no one from the city or the parking concessionaire showed up to do anything. The higher meter rates required drivers to put in many more quarters, which caused the meters to fill up and break down if they were not emptied, O’Donnell said.

“The meters filled up with quarters in only about a day, and no one is coming by to empty them out,” O’Donnell said Tuesday. The quadrupling of parking rates this year has harmed his business, Armitage Hardware and Building Supply, 925 W. Armitage, he said.

“Why come to the hardware store for a 25-cent screw when it costs $1 or $2 to park while you’re shopping? People are afraid to come in and get change for the meter because they’ll go back to their car and find a ticket,” O’Donnell said.

Also, some parking meters erroneously display stickers that say the meters only need to be fed on weekdays or during certain hours. Not anymore.

Outdated information on some meter stickers makes drivers vulnerable to receiving tickets. The old stickers still in place erroneously say that meters must be fed only on weekdays; the new policy is that meter rates apply seven days a week and for more hours each day.

The parking-meter companies last weekend exercised an option in the contract that allows them to ticket vehicles parked at expired meters, Walsh said. Chicago police officers and parking enforcement aides also continue to write tickets, and the city will keep all fines collected.

As if parking in Chicago wasn’t already the most consistently evil experience known to man.

Chicago parking meters: Changes leave drivers angry, confused [Chicago Tribune]
(Photo:gb775)