Are Chicagoans Rebelling Against The New Parking Meter Regime?

The evidence is purely anecdotal, but it seems that some unrest might be brewing in the City of Chicago. Now that the Mayor has leased the city’s parking meters to a company that jacked up the rates, people might be staying home rather than feed the meters — which now take as many as 28 quarters for 2 hours.

All over the city, formerly busy parking meters are empty, while residential streets are clogged with people looking for free parking.

From the Sun-Times:

Only five Chicago aldermen bucked the mayor on the privatization of parking meters, and one was Scott Waguespack of the 32nd Ward, which includes Wicker Park and Bucktown. It wasn’t that Waguespack opposed raising rates, something that hadn’t been done in years, but he believed an increase should be “incremental, not drastic” and that the city could have done it on its own.

Now, he says, people in his ward are suddenly seeing not only empty meters but more cars clogging residential neighborhoods in search of free spaces, a problem for people who live there.

The whole purpose of parking meters was as an urban planning tool, used to generate turnover so businesses could see a steady stream of customers who park for a short time, shop and leave, opening spaces for more shoppers.

Now, Waguespack argues, spaces have become solely “a revenue anchor” and the rates have shot “too high, too quickly.”

Are we seeing a boycott?

“I’m not so sure yet,” said the alderman, “but it’s definitely a refusal.”

Boycott, boycott, boycott…

Parking meter rate hike sparks a rebellion [Sun-Times via Fark]
(Brian Jackson/Sun-Times)