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Chicago’s first protected bike lane on Kinzie St. increased ridership by 55 percent without increasing traffic congestion for cars.

Private parking meters have long-range impact on urban planning, transportation

The privatization of Chicago’s parking meters puts the region’s future in a precarious position related to transportation, urban planning, congestion and overall quality of life, according to an analysis released today by the Active Transportation Alliance.

The analysis, “Unrealized Assets: How leasing control of parking meters limits the future of active transport and innovative urban planning,“ identifies the overarching impact: when the City gave up control of collecting revenue from parking meters, it also gave up all control of the public right of way on any streets with parking meters. See the full report here.

This limits any potential projects that use streets with metered spaces: bus rapid transit, bicycle lanes, street festivals, sidewalk expansion, streetscaping, pedestrian bulb-outs, loading zones, rush hour parking control, mid-block crossing, and temporary open spaces. The City’s ability to use streets in fresh, people-centric ways is now dictated, controlled and limited by the arrangements and penalties within the parking meters lease.