Entries in Parking (3)


Chicago Parking Meters to Charge $6.50 an Hour

Eric O'Connell/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- It’s about to get a lot more expensive to park your car on the streets of Chicago.

In 2013, metered parking in downtown Chicago will jump 75 cents to $6.50 an hour.  That’s more than double what Chicago residents paid in 2008.  It’s the fourth year in a row that rates have increased.

The new rate earns Chicago the dubious honor of being the city with the most expensive parking meter rates in the country.  San Francisco had been number one.

In comparison, folks in Manhattan, N.Y., pay a parking meter rate of $5 an hour, while Los Angeles residents shell out $4 an hour.

Rates are also increasing for parking meters in other parts of Chicago.

But it’s not the city of Chicago that’s raising the rates.  Back in 2008, under Mayor Richard Daley, the city leased out its parking meters for 75 years to a private company, Chicago Parking Meters LLC.  The contract gave the company the right to increase rates in the first four years of the deal, and also granted future increases based on the rate of inflation, starting in 2014.

Chicago received a one-time payment of more than $1 billion in the deal, but the city’s current mayor, Rahm Emanuel, has ordered an independent audit of the 75-year contract.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


California Woman Files $1.7B Claim Alleging Meters Making Her Sick

Eric O'Connell/Getty Images(SANTA MONICA, Calif.) -- A California woman claims “smart” parking meters are making her sick, and now, she wants nearly $2 billion because of it.

Denise Barton filed a claim against the city of Santa Monica, Calif., for $1.7 billion alleging the radiation from “smart” parking meters around the city are causing health complications, according to the Santa Monica Daily Press.

“In April, they started turning on the new smart meters downtown and I started getting sick,” Barton told ABC News.

On Aug. 6, Barton filed the $1.7 billion claim that gives the city 45 days to respond.

“I figured that’s the value of my life and health considering how much I had to go through as a child,”  Barton told ABC News.

Barton, who experienced neurological damage following a car accident as a young child, added, “It’s also the value of taking away my choice of the best way to protect my health without my consent.”

The “smart” meters, which were installed by the city last March, allow drivers to use smartphones and credit cards to purchase metered time.  The parking slots have sensors that will reset a meter when a parking space is vacated.

According to a spokesperson for the city of Santa Monica, “The meters use basic wireless technology that is commonly available and utilized in WiFi and cellular communications.”

Smart meters use a cellphone network to communicate for two to four seconds when a censor detects a vehicle or when a censor detects a vehicle leaving, assistant finance director Don Patterson told ABC News.

But it’s the high-tech capabilities that Barton alleged have caused ear infections and tightness on the back, left side of her neck and an irregular period.

Deb Hossli, a risk manager for Santa Monica, told ABC News the city’s liability adjuster is currently investigating to determine if the claim will be honored or rejected.

“We’re not concerned about any health risks.  It basically uses a very weak WiFi signal that only communicates between the meter and the censor in each space,” Patterson told ABC News.

Over the years, there has been much debate about whether cellphones can cause cancer.  Earlier this year, the Environmental Health Trust called into question a report that found little evidence that cellphones were connected to brain cancer.

“The city doesn’t regulate communication,” said Patterson.  “What we’re using is what basically is widely available cellphone technology.  If you have WiFi in your house, it’s the same technology.  If you have a cellphone, then that portion of the technology is the same.  It’s all off-the-shelf technology.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Manhattan’s Million-Dollar Parking Spot

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It used to be that $1 million could buy you a healthy chunk of real estate–a mansion, maybe, or a few acres of land. But in Manhattan’s tony Greenwich Village, it will buy a parking spot.

That’s right: A garage space at 66 E.11th Street will soon be offered for a cool $1 million, perhaps intended for that discerning Ferrari driver for whom a mere six-figure parking spot just won’t do.

If you think a million dollars is way too much to spend on a measly piece of concrete to park the old set of wheels, think again. “It really is the defining luxury amenity,”  says Dolly Lenz, vice-chairman at New York real estate firm Prudential Douglas Elliman, which will sell the space. “You’d be surprised about how many people have big car collections. We wish we had more garage spots.”

And the specs are pretty sweet. The coveted parking spot is inside the apartment building, complete with curb cut, a rarity in the New York City parking landscape. The garage space boasts 15-foot ceilings, which allows for ample storage space, and the owner could even stack two cars onto ramps to create a duplex parking arrangement. In light of all that, “this is actually undervalued,” Lenz told “Normally, when you buy a garage, you are literally buying between two lines in a designated spot.”

Lenz has even witnessed bidding wars reaching $600,000, just for a space between two lines. That’s because–like any other luxury item, from Birkin bags to rare diamonds–it’s the scarcity of available parking in New York that creates such cache.

To put it all in perspective, Lenz says she sold a double penthouse at 200 11th Avenue to Domenico Dolce (as in, Dolce & Gabbana) for $50 million, which included two garage spots. “So there is precedent for this type of situation,” she said.

As the word has spread about the city’s swishest parking spot, Lenz has received “overwhelming interest” in buying the spot, even though she can’t even discuss sales because the plans for 66 E.11th Street haven’t yet been approved by the city.

As in, dozens of inquiries? Hundreds? She would only say, “More than dozens. We’d probably get more if I could respond.”

First dibs will go to the buyer of the building’s  townhouse or penthouse; with the latter going for $38.8 million, the parking spot is just a drop in the bucket.

Lenz added:  “We’re not talking about really big numbers here, at $1 million. It will be more about getting it. I think people will bid above what the asking [price] is.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio