Friday, June 12, 2009

Rogers Park Lakefront Parking Bailout

News coverage of the Chicago Park District Superintendent Tim Mitchell and Alderman Joe Moore's deal to keep lakefront parking free has been positive. The Alderman has agreed to pay the Park District $89,000 a year in order to maintain two hours of non-metered evening parking from 7:00-9:00pm for 123 spots in Loyola Park, and keeping overnight parking in these spaces free until 9:00am the next morning.
"I agreed to pay the Park District $89,000 from my aldermanic "menu" fund to compensate the District for its lost revenue. The aldermanic menu is a fund of $1.3 million to $1.5 million that each Chicago alderman receives annually to spend at his or her discretion on ward infrastructure, such as streets, alleys, sidewalks, street lights and the like...I believe this constitutes an acceptable expenditure of menu money--it works out to about $69 a month per parking space." - Alderman Joe Moore.
This means 6.84% of the 49th ward infrastructure improvement fund will go to the Park District to fund the parking of roughly .07% of 49th ward residents. This cost to the ward does not even necessarily fund park improvements within it.

Is this too high a cost for free parking? What about residents who don't drive? Are there greater infrastructure projects which need this funding?

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