City addresses parking meters snafu

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At a Tuesday news conference, city hall officials admitted that while problems do exist with many parking meters, they are working on resolving them quickly.

At a Tuesday news conference, city hall officials admitted that while problems do exist with many parking meters, they are working on resolving them quickly. “We know people have encountered problems, and we agree those mistakes are unacceptable,” said Paul Volpe, mayoral chief of staff. “But we are working with Chicago Parking Meters LLC to address these issues as quickly as possible.” In February, the city signed a deal to lease 36,000 parking meters to CPM for the next 75 years for $1.2 billion, which the city received upfront. Motorists were already upset over the price hike––from a quarter an hour for most neighborhood meters to $1 an hour––that came with the new ownership. The price jumps to $2 an hour by 2013. Downtown meters cost even more. Motorists go from paying $3 an hour to $6.50 within the next five years. “The city is crazy to think we will keep paying these outrageous prices to drive to work,” said Dennis Farmer, 45. “This is what the mayor gets for privatizing city services.” Farmer and other motorists have complained to city officials about broken meters and confusion over who enforces meter violations. Dennis Pedrelli, chief executive officer of CPM, said motorists should be patient while they work on correcting these problems. “We regret any issues that occurred,” Pedrelli said. “We are working as quickly as possible to address those issues.” For now, CPM employees will no longer write tickets for meter violations even though 60 people were recently hired to do so. Chicago police and the city’s department of revenue employees will continue to write tickets for violations. Volpe explained that all monies collected from meter violations go to the city, not CPM. CPM receives the proceeds from motorists feeding the meters. Pedrelli said that CPM is working on new machinery that will allow motorists to use credit cards to pay for meter parking. ______ Copyright 2009 Chicago Defender. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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