Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Parking Not-So-Public

One of our series of guided tours of surface parking lots focuses on the Wrigleyville neighborhood of Chicago. It's home to the cubs, out-of-control drunk people, and some pretty interesting parking lore (the local towing company angered Steve Goodman enough that he wrote a song about them). Part of our tour focused on the notorious 2008 Chicago Meter Parking Deal, where the city of Chicago leased all of its street parking operations to a private consortium (Chicago Parking Meters, LLC).
"The Deal" was riddled with questionable ethics, covered fantastically by the Expired Meter Blog and the Chicago Reader—Mayor Daley now works for the New York law firm that negotiated the deal between the parking consortium (led by Morgan Stanley). It has recently come back into the news following bills that the parking meter consortium has sent to the city, totaling $27 million. According to the Sun Times:

The $14 million bill stems from parking revenues the meter company says it lost when the city took meters out of service last year because of street repairs, festivals and other city-sponsored activities, according to documents obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.
This is the second time in a year that the company has hit City Hall with a claim for a big parking tab. The Emanuel administration already is in arbitration over a $13.5 million claim over free parking that Chicago Parking Meters says it provided to people displaying disabled-parking placards or license plates in 2010.
That makes the total disputed amount more than $27 million.
This situation is enough to make someone build a giant Jabba the Hut sculpture out of parking machine receipts.

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