Parking meter politics: would you rather ...?

May 27, 2013

Alex Keefe

(Flickr/Kymberly Janisch)
Free Sunday parking is likely to be an attractive option for Church-goers.

One Chicago alderman wants to kill Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to tweak the city’s unpopular parking meter privatization. That’s the subject of a City Hall hearing Tuesday morning.

Emanuel’s deal is this: free Sunday parking in most neighborhoods, in exchange for longer meter hours the rest of the week.

Alderman Brendan Reilly said he likes some parts of the mayor’s deal, but he doesn't like that drivers in his downtown ward would have to feed the meters three hours longer.

"I’m inclined to vote no. I think this is not a good deal," Reilly said. 

He added, "What we’re arguing is, by saying ‘No,’ we could send our legal team back to the table, to negotiate a settlement that’s clean."

But Emanuel’s top lawyer said picking out certain parts of the deal could sink it altogether.

That’s what makes Alderman Michelle Smith a bit suspicious.

"As a former litigator, I guess I could say if you can’t separate it out, that means the other side likes it," Smith said. 

And Chicago aldermen are wary of giving the “other side” – in this case, the private meter operator – any more money than they already have.

If you were an Alderman and had the privilege to weigh in, which option would you choose? 

Alex Keefe covers Chicago politics for WBEZ. Follow him @akeefe