Chicago Tribune transport columnist John Hilkevich is shocked—shocked!—this morning to find that Chicago parking tickets are up 26% this year:
The stepped-up enforcement contributed to a $7 million year-over-year increase in parking ticket revenue, which totaled $119.2 million from January through August, the Chicago Department of Revenue reported.
Fines assessed from tickets go to the city's nearly depleted general fund. Revenue collected from a four-fold increase in parking rates this year is kept by Chicago Parking Meters LLC, which paid the city $1.15 billion as part of a 75-year lease to manage on-street parking.
The extra emphasis on enforcement may be contributing to an abundance of parking spaces in many parts of the city where finding street parking was previously luck of the draw.
The clampdown also is discouraging some suburbanites and others to limit their trips to the city.
Discouraging? No kidding. I'm in North Carolina this weekend, where I took advantage of a clothing sale I could have gone to at the same store in Chicago, because even N.C.'s 7.5% sales tax is better than downtown Chicago's 10.5%. (Maine was just too far to go for one suit.)
Mayor Daley fils has done some great things for Chicago, but the biggest things—privitization of public assets, unbelievable taxation, etc.—threaten his legacy. Perhaps now that we don't have the distraction of the 2016 Olympics anymore, he'll turn his energies toward making the city more financially livable again.