Motorists Sue Chicago Parking Meter Operator

A lawsuit claims a company's 75-year contract to manage the city of Chicago's parking meters amounts to an "unreasonable" monopoly.

July 2, 2021, 6:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

On-Street Parking

Michael Pereckas / Flickr

A lawsuit filed on behalf of three Chicago motorists alleges that "Chicago Parking Meters’ lengthy deal with the city has resulted in increased parking rates and restrictions on other forms of travel, like bicycles and ride-hailing," reports Tom Schuba for the Chicago Sun-Times. The suit claims that the exclusive contract the company holds with the city essentially gives them "unreasonable 75-year monopoly" over the city's 36,000 parking meters.

"In 2008, the City Council approved former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s proposal to lease the meter system to CPM for 75 years." Since then, the lawsuit argues, "rapidly changing consumer needs and preferences for different types of transportation" as well as advances in transportation technology have been ignored as parking rates more than doubled. "The suit claims the deal with the city violates both federal antitrust laws and the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. The initial filing seeks class action status, unspecified monetary damages, the payment of legal fees and other relief." 

The lawsuit comes as cities begin to assess the true value of curbside space and implement new programs to manage it wisely. Once an overlooked piece of public space, the curb zone has become a valuable asset for drivers, bicyclists, delivery services, and local businesses alike. 

Thursday, June 24, 2021 in Chicago Sun-Times

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