Do you drive in Chicago? Moreover, do you PARK in Chicago - in an on-street metered parking space.
If you do, or if you have, you likely received a parking citation this year.
Indeed, Chicago Parking Ticket Revenue has skyrocketed so far in 2009, totaling over $119 Million during the first 8 months of the year, according to figures obtained by the Chicago Tribune, and Reporter Jon Hilkevitch, from the Chicago Department of Revenue.
Tickets for illegal or over-expired parking in The Chicago Loop accounted for roughly half the increase, according to Hilkevitch's report.
Under a new, controversial 75-year contract signed late in 2008 by the City of Chicago, all parking violation revenue flows to the nearly-broke City of Chicago General Fund. The fees from the meters - or, more accurately, the ticket-dispensing parking machines that now dot all Chicago Neighborhood Arterial Streets - goes to a private firm, Chicago Parking Meters LLC. That company paid the City of Chicago $1.15 Billion for its ultra-long-term lease to manage Chicago Street Parking.
The new parking management company and its Operating Partner - LAZ Parking - received intense criticism early this year for problems ranging from broken parking meters and inaccurate fee signs, as well as meters that overcharged for parking.
Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley got roundly booed by city and suburban residents alike, who complained that the meter lease was ramrodded through the Chicago City Council without much debate or oversight.
In all, nearly 328,000 tickets were issued for overstays on expired parking spaces during the first eight months of 2009, up 26% from the same period last year. With the new management company, incentivized for high per-box collections, citations for expired meters increased 13% year-over-year.
More aggressive efforts to pursue parking scofflaws may have actually discouraged parkers from parking on metered streets, instead opting for free spots on nearby side streets, or curtailing in-city driving altogether.
In many city neighborhoods, where hourly parking rates have increased 400% versus last year, metered street spaces are now plentiful. Historically, parking on popular Chicago Streets often involved sheer luck, or off-hours timing.
In addition to higher on-street parking rates, the City of Chicago extended the hours in which payment is required. Now, meters are even enforced on Sundays, as well as Federal and City of Chicago Holidays, where they were not before.
See Hilkevitch's story for more statistics.
Here's a link to our post at BlogChicagoHomes.com.
DEAN MOSS & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO