Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced that he and the city’s finance and legal has settled a legal dispute with Chicago Parking Meters (CPM) that will provide for free parking in Chicago neighborhoods on Sundays and the introduction of a pay-by-cell option. The legal dispute originated over closed, added parking spaces or changes to periods of stay, hours of operation or parking rates and an estimated $1 billion in future charges over the life of the contract that would no longer be owed. Free Sunday parking is an issue many downtown Cincinnati businesses outside of The Banks have been arguing against, especially during Sundays with sporting events as they claim they can’t open their doors due to the lack of available metered parking. More from Streetsblog:
The proposed changes seem to be a good thing for the city overall, but the introduction of free Sunday parking is somewhat problematic. While I don’t have a problem with churchgoing seniors getting a break at the expense of people out on the town at night, free daytime parking in neighborhood retail districts could have unintended negative consequences.
On-street parking works best when its cost reflects the demand for spaces. When meter prices are steep in high-demand areas, it discourages people from parking in the same spot for long periods, which increases the chance that there will be open spots for short-term parking. When parking is free, it encourages visitors to park for longer periods, and it tempts employees to drive instead of walking, biking or taking transit to work. Their cars might occupy spaces all day, eliminating spots for potential customers.