Chicago Parking Meters, LLC is a Leader in Parking
As part of a public‐private agreement with the City of Chicago, Chicago Parking Meters (CPM) is responsible for the operation, management and maintenance of the City of Chicago’s on‐street “metered” parking. With 36,000 metered parking spaces, CPM operates the third largest such parking system in the United States.
Since it commenced operations in 2009, CPM has modernized the City’s parking infrastructure by installing state‐of‐the‐art electronic pay stations that accept credit and debit cards, as well as introducing the ParkChicago© app, which enables motorists to pay for parking using their smartphones. CPM also has improved customer service and outreach.
In recognition of these efforts, IBM’s Global Parking Survey called Chicago an “international leader,” awarding it top honors for best on‐street parking, which overhauled the City’s antiquated system, reduced the time it takes to find open spots, and improved traffic flow.
CPM’s philanthropic initiative, CPM Community Partners, serves Chicago communities by investing time and resources in family and youth‐focused organizations.
CPM has upgraded Chicago’s parking system. Since 2009, CPM has invested $38 million to modernize the City’s on‐street parking, replacing 36,000 outdated single‐space, coin‐operated ‘meters’ with 4,700 state‐of‐the‐art pay stations that accept both credit and debit cards. In addition, CPM has established a refund option, a 24‐hour customer service center and a state‐of‐the‐art maintenance and repair process.
“Privatization of parking meters worked in Chicago…. The meters are more modern, more attractive, and even the much-derided rate hikes – only tangentially linked to the outsourcing – make economic sense.” Stephen Goldsmith, professor of government at the Harvard University Kennedy School and former mayor of Indianapolis and deputy mayor for operations for New York CityGoverning Magazine 1/20/10
Drivers can pay for parking using their smartphones. In 2014, CPM launched ParkChicago©, an easy and convenient way motorists pay for street parking using their smartphones. With ParkChicago©, motorists no longer have to visit the pay stations, place a receipt on their dashboard or hurry back when their time is about to expire. With ParkChicago©, users can add additional time from remote locations. For more information or to set up an account, visit www.ParkChicago.com.
“Given the sometimes unpredictable nature of dental treatments, it’s not always easy for patients to feed the meter when their time is about to expire. Having the ParkChicago© app allows us to extend time on a patient’s meter without them having to run out in the middle of the procedure. It’s a great convenience for us and our patients.”Dr. Ozzie Smith III of West Loop Smile Studio
The City Of Chicago retains control over pay station parking rates. CPM does not – and never has – set pay station parking rates. The City retains exclusive authority to determine and establish rates, set hours of operation, and place, add or remove metered spaces. The initial five‐year rate schedule, which ended in 2013, was approved by the City Council to align with rates comparable with other large U.S. cities. Prior to the agreement, parking rates in Chicago were much lower than the national average. Seventy percent of meters had not seen an increase in 20 years.
Enforcement is provided by the City and CPM, but the City collects money from parking tickets. CPM employs a small staff of enforcement officers. CPM enforcement only issues tickets for expired parking in metered parking areas. All revenue generated from tickets issued by CPM is paid to the City.
The City retains control over street closings. The City of Chicago maintains its exclusive powers to close streets. The City reimburses CPM for pay stations it takes out of service for street closures.
RATES AND OPERATIONS
Most City parking rates average $2 per hour. Parking is metered predominantly in the city’s business areas. The City of Chicago uses a three‐tiered structure when setting meter rates, with higher rates in the downtown Loop area ($6.50 per hour) representing 3 percent of all metered spaces; the second tier in the Central Business District ($4 per hour), bounded by Roosevelt Avenue to the south, North Avenue to the north and Halsted Street to the west, representing 16 percent of all spaces; and the lowest rates in other parts of the City ($2 per hour), representing approximately 81 percent of all spaces.
Most parking on Sunday is free. Motorists who park in metered spaces outside Chicago’s central business district do not have to pay for parking on Sundays except for spaces with signage that explicitly states “7 Day Paid Parking”. Pay stations located in areas with free parking features no longer accept payment on Sundays.
In most areas of the City, parking is free from 10 pm to 8 am.
- Neighborhood parking (generally areas south of Roosevelt Road, west of Halsted Street and north of North Avenue): Enforced 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Monday‐Saturday and on some streets on Sunday.
- Central Business District outside the Loop (area bounded by Roosevelt Road to the south, Halsted Street to the west and North Avenue to the north): Enforced 8 a.m. to 12 a.m. on Monday‐Sunday.
- Loop (area bounded by Wacker Drive to the north and west and Congress Parkway to the south): Enforced 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. (Rates from 9 p.m. to 8 a.m. in this zone are half the daytime rate).
Competitive parking rates result in spaces opening up more often. The average time drivers spend searching for a parking space has dropped in recent years. Chicago’s parking system has also been praised by the city’s business community, as it encourages vehicle turnover to accommodate more customers and bring more revenue to shops and business districts.
CPM employs union workers in its operations. The operation employs more than 50 union workers from Teamsters Local #727 for maintenance, collections and enforcement.
CPM participated in a competitive, public bidding process with the winner determined by the highest bid. The parking meter concession was open to all parties prequalified by the City of Chicago. CPM submitted the high bid for $1.15 billion. On December 4, 2008, the Chicago City Council approved the 75‐year agreement.
The revised concession agreement provides additional benefits to drivers and taxpayers. In June 2013, the Chicago City Council approved changes to the concession agreement that called for allowing free parking on Sundays in city neighborhoods, adjusting hours of operations in certain areas, and enabling motorists to pay using their smart phones beginning in 2014.
The concession agreement ensures accountability. CPM is held contractually accountable to the City of Chicago for any meter‐related activities, including maintenance, repairs and collections. CPM provides financial statements each year to the City of Chicago, which are posted on its website.
The Concession agreement is available on the City of Chicago’s website.