City can improve meters itself

October 23, 2010

In response to John Guy’s [Oct. 18] column, “Do meter-contract critics have a plan?” let me respond, yes we do—and it does not involve sellng off a city asset (along with the plan to sell the water department) much less to a company with a dubious reputation on a 50-year (now apparently 20-) year lease, limiting the use of our city streets, etc.

Our plan is simple: Instead of selling the parking-meter system to a business, we would run it like a business:

• Raise the parking rates to market levels from their 1970 levels. This is not brain surgery.

• Charge for parking until 9 p.m. weekdays and on Saturdays like every other city in America.

• If needed, use revenue bonds from the meter fees to put in electronic meters, if such meters are cost-effective.

This “plan” compares to leasing or selling the meters to a for-profit company (one which apparently was involved with the privitization of the state welfare system fiasco).

Their plan limits development of our city streets and would make things like the  Cultural Trail impossible.

Their plan is a “take the money and run” scheme that dodges a much more simple fix.

You do not have to sell off the parking meters to bring the rates and service hours up to par with other Midwest cities.

Further, selling the parking meters has been tried in only one city (Chicago) and it is no doubt part of the reason Mayor Daley is not seeking re-election. It did not work there—rates tripled and service declined.

Putting the use of city streets in the hands of a private company is bad public policy.

Enough is enough.


Bill Malcolm

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