Chicago parking: a rant on Chicago parking meters

Why Chicago parking has downhill since being privatized

It’s been years since Mayor Daley’s shady deal where he privatized Chicago parking meters. I bet most of us forgot about the days when Chicago parking meters were cheaper and had the typical quarter-fed, meter-per-spot setup. And I bet most of us forgot how awesome it was. Mostly because there were no stupid little slips of paper. It was just, put in a quarter, and go.

Old parking meters:
Remember when all you had to do was put a few quarters in a slot, turn a crank until *ca-ching* and you were good for the afternoon? It was easy. And it was awesome. The meter either flashed a red “EXPIRED” or a had number with how many minutes you had left. Simple.

Current parking meters:
First, there’s a 20-minute runaround trying to just find a parking spot, then there’s the 3-minutes of non-verbal, car-to-car, “that-was-my-goddamn-spot-I saw-it-first” accompanied with appropriate hand gestures. Next, after you get out of the car, is a round of “find the parking meter box.” Sometimes you get lucky and its right next to your car, and sometimes it’s across the street and half a block down- in which case you have to J-walk the street (the meters are not usually near crosswalks), put in the $, wait for the stupid little parking ticket to print, wait for traffic to slow to J-walk back, fish your keys out of your pocket again, unlock your car passenger door, and if the thing isn’t expired by now, you put it up on the dash in case a city worker happens to stroll by while you’re in the 7-11 buying a slurpee. It’s a pain.

Also, the end result of your little ‘getting the parking-slip’ adventures, is a useless, business-card sized sticker with the back still on. If anyone has a good use for these, please let me know, because I can’t think of anything to do with my commemorative certificate of 36 minutes of parking at meter #46528 on December 15, 2011 at 7:52pm.


  1. chicagoranter says:

    haha I’ve never had to chase any stickers, but you hit the nail on the head with spending the money already spending the money. 75% of Daley’s billion dollar deal has already been spent and gone, and the privatized parking meter lease is only 3 years in on a 75-year deal… Chicago gained and lost billions behind closed doors just before Daley left office.
    there’s a deeper article at that will make your blood boil –>

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