The Chicago City Council voted to lease 36,000 of Chicago’s parking meters to a private company for $1.16 billion. MPC believes revenues from this deal should be reinvested in road and transit improvements throughout the city.
$1.16 billion privatization of the city’s parking meters is, according to the
Wall Street Journal, “The first private
concession for a publicly owned
The privatization of the parking
meters means an increase in prices – the first increase in more than 20 years
for 25,000 of Chicago’s meters. The least expensive parking
meter will cost $1 per hour by 2009, and will increase to $2 per hour by
metered parking will eventually increase to $6.50 an hour. While the city’s
parking meter rate increases may seem steep, what if those revenue increases led
to more and better transit options and community improvements?
Increasing parking meter rates can
help manage demand for Chicago’s limited parking
spaces and curb excess traffic congestion – which costs every Chicago resident more than
$3,000 a year, according to a recent MPC report, Moving
at the Speed of Congestion. For instance,
parking meter revenue could be used to support development of the CTA’s Bus
Rapid Transit network, which will provide express transit access for Chicagoans
as a convenient alternative to higher parking costs. For those who still choose
to drive, market-priced parking will ensure spots are available and reduce
“circling” and double-parking, both of which choke access to local shops.
Re-investing parking meter revenue in local sidewalk, road and transit
improvements will allow equal access for pedestrians, bicyclists, transit
riders, and drivers.
Chicago has the opportunity to position its
neighborhoods for future growth and prosperity, provided new parking revenues
are wisely invested. MPC looks forward to working with
leaders to do just