The move for free Sunday parking came with the renegotiation of a Chicago's parking meter deal with the private company Chicago Parking Meters LLC. Under it, most neighborhoods are to have free parking on Sundays, but some downtown meters will have extended hours.
A spokesperson for the parking meter company says that ten wards will begin offering free Sunday parking in some neighborhoods as of Sunday, June 16, 2013. The spokesperson says those wards are: 3, 4, 5, 11, 12, 14, 20, 22, 23, and 25. The City of Chicago posted a press release on their website Friday indicating that those ten wards as well as wards 6 and 15 would begin offering free parking in some areas on June 16th, but the parking meter company spokesperson said that free Sunday parking in wards 6 and 15 will not begin on Sunday. The parking company spokesperson said that free Sunday parking in wards 6 and 15 will start at a later date. Map of the Chicago wards
The release on the City of Chicago website says that "the remaining wards will be switched over within the next 10 days," explaining that the parking meter company must physically alter "each of the 4,400 pay boxes across the city."
A spokesperson for the parking meter company said Friday that "it's important that drivers carefully read the instructions on each meter to determine if the changes have taken effect where they have parked."
Meters on streets where parking becomes free on Sundays will reportedly not accept payment at all on Sundays. If a meter will accept payments on a Sunday, that indicates that parking nearby is not free.
The release on the city's website states that, as a result of the contract amendment the city council approved on June 5th, "metered parking spaces in the majority of Chicago neighborhoods wiill be free on Sundays." It indicates that these affected neighborhoods are located "south of Roosevelt, west of Halsted and north of North Avenue."
"I think it's going to be great that they're going to have free parking on Sunday," said Mara Arola. "I think it's going to encourage people to come downtown."
Aldermen have an option to change the policy. That process would have to pass through committee and the full city council and could be at the level of a whole ward, an area, a street, or a set of spaces.
Chicago Parking Meters LLC advised motorists of the following changes to come for Monday through Saturday meter rules:
- For meters currently ending at 9 p.m., the ending time will extend to 10 p.m.
- In the River North neighborhood, from the Chicago River in the south and west to Division Street in the north, metered parking will be extended from 9 p.m. to midnight.
- There will not be an effect on meters currently ending at 6 p.m.