Chicago Parking Meter Rates to Increase Jan. 1

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According to the Chicago Tribune , parking meter rates in Chicago are set to rise again for the fifth year in row. This time around, drivers will have to shell out an additional 75 cents in 2013 when parking in the Loop, making the new rate a whopping $6.50 an hour. Other areas will also see price increases. Starting Jan. 1, workers from Chicago Parking Meters LLC, the company that holds the city's meter contract, will begin changing the boxes to reflect the new rates.

Here are some facts and details about the increases in meter rates and what Chicagoans can expect when using meter parking spots at the beginning of the new year:

* CBS Chicago reported that downtown Loop parking meters, which are found in the area bounded by Congress Parkway on the south, Wacker Drive on the north and west, and Lake Michigan on the east, will see the highest rate of all areas next year.

* In residential neighborhoods, parking rates will increase by 25 cents from $1.75 to $2 an hour, which is more expensive than the downtown areas of most other cities in the nation.

* Chicago Parking Meters LLC will start updating the downtown meter boxes first and then move to the city's neighborhoods to change the rates of those boxes, noted WGN .

* All parking meter boxes across Chicago should be updated by February.

* An article from the Chicago Sun-Times added that between 2008, which is when the meter company obtained its contract with the city, and 2013, parking rates in the Loop have more than doubled.

* The city of Chicago was paid $1.2 billion by the company for the parking meter contract that was backed by former mayor Richard M. Daley.

* In fact, in 2008, it cost only 25 cents per hour to park at most meters in the city, according to NBC Chicago .

* As for other areas, rates in the Central Business District will increase by 50 cents from $3.50 to $4 an hour.

* This will be the fifth and final year that Chicago Parking Meters will make rate hikes. Beginning in 2014, all increases in meter costs will be based on the rate of inflation.

* The meter company has had a prolific year, especially after a controversy in which the city asserted that it was being billed too much by the company for meters taken out of commission and free parking given to those using handicap placards.

* With the rate hike in the Loop, Chicago will officially have the most expensive parking meters in North America.

Rachel Bogart provides an in-depth look at current environmental issues and local Chicago news stories. Currently pursuing her master's degree in environmental science, she applies her knowledge and passion to both topics to garner further public awareness.

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