Cheap parking in Chicago? Well the first 20 minutes is only $6!

 Cheap parking in Chicago? Well the first 20 minutes is only $6!

Yes, that’s right only $6! However, by the time you drive in, get your ticket, drive up the circular ramps until you feel like throwing up, find a spot on the last possible floor you have spent that $6. Then it’s all downhill from there. With many parking garages getting at least $24-$35 for anything over two hours, rates never cease to infuriate me. I don’t get it.

Late last week I had a sales call in the city on Dearborn. I was lucky enough to find street parking close by as I have to schlep samples cases that are heavy so this is vital. It was a pay to park spot as all are in Chicago and for 1.25 hours I paid $4. Dare I be a moment late and it would have been a $60 citation. (I know this because I recently received one of those). I had another meeting at the Trib building after; had to drive to another lot and pay $14. While this was a reasonable later afternoon/evening rate the garage was “iffy”. I had visions of rape or mugging in what could only be described as the Halloween movie garage. I just know Michael Myers was lurking in there.

I have a client on Lake Street. Typically I park in the adjacent lot which costs roughly $31 for the two hours I am there. That’s a huge chunk out of my commissions on top of the cost of gas. The last time I had an appointment there I found street parking right in front. I set the alarm on my phone to feed the meter in two hours. Two hours later, risking getting bowled over by a truck, I ran across the street, fed the meter for another half hour and went back inside. I rushed to finish my meeting but had to use the bathroom. Those two minutes cost me a $60 citation. I sent my two receipts along with a complaint to The City of Chicago. Yesterday I received their answer: kiss our asses.

When my daughter commuted to the city everyday she got a break on parking, $12 per day. Big break. I suppose it’s nice that it wasn’t $35-$50 per day but why can’t parking be free for employees? People drive to the city everyday spending thousand of dollars a year on gas, maintenance, etc. Yes, there is public transportation however, for some people working odd hours or at times when trains are less frequent, this can be tough. And that’s not all that inexpensive either.

Anyone driving in to the city and staying in a hotel can count on paying almost as much as a room. Walking by a certain four star hotel on Michigan Avenue last night I noticed that overnight parking was $57. With the price of rooms, can’t parking be complimentary? Discounted?

We shouldn’t have to feel as though we are entering a black hole when we come to Chicago. My girls live in the city now and I cringe when it’s time to visit. I’m trying to work the system though, parking with my flashers on for 1/2 hour in a loading zone then moving to another. Then waiting until 9pm to move to a metered spot because then it’s free until 8AM.

If anyone has any suggestions about where there is reasonable parking, let us know! I only have one arm left and that is going to have to go with my leg next time.





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