Yes, Daley made a mistake in the way he went about privatizing the parking meters. Even he later admitted the deal was bad. And, with prices set to go up again come January 1, there are a lot of unhappy drivers out there. But at least those unhappy motorists have more places to put their cars—the new pay-box system seems to plant seeds of doubt into drivers’ minds about where they can and cannot park. (Imagine the old parking meters being single signifiers of parking spaces; now the curbs are open and clear, with pay boxes sometimes as far as a half-a-block away.) Of course you can still park in these open spots, as long as you’re willing to walk to the box, then back to your car to place your little pricey piece of paper on the dash. More often than not, parking in high-traffic areas—especially on weekends—like Wicker Park, Lincoln Park and Lakeview has been surprisingly easy. And the box accepting credit cards is a major plus as well, as there’s no more scrambling for quarters. But those prices!
Best of Chicago 2009