Free Sunday parking begins

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The newest incarnation of the parking meter deal went into effect this weekend along the streets of the city’s southside.

Many residents took advantage of not having to pay their parking meters, part of a restructured plan with the company that holds the 75-year parking meter lease.

Starting today, parking south of the Eisenhower is free on Sunday. By July 1st, Sunday street parking will be free all over the city. The one exception is in the central business district, between North and Roosevelt and Halsted to the Lake.

The deal, struck by the Emanuel administration, cuts both ways as drivers will now have to pay until 10 p.m., not 9 p.m., the other six days of the week.

The agreement will also add a pay-by-cell option by May of next year with a 35 cent surcharge tacked on in many cases.

For some, the parking meter deal, even a restructured one, just isn’t good.

“I mean, will I be here in 75 years?  It’s like an eternal deal.  It’s just a bad deal.  I know a contract is a contract but I hope they can find a better way to find a solution to raise revenues,” said Chicago resident Carl Allen.

But business owners, at least on the southside, like the Sunday free parking. They hope it will drive business.

“I think it’ll free people up to shop in the neighborhoods, bring more business to the neighborhoods because they can park,” said Jacob Greer, owner of Jacob’s Store for Men.

For Carl, it means some extra cash in his pocket.

“That’s five bucks I can put back into church,” said Carl Allen.


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