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the urban politician Dec 3, 2008 3:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 3949043)
The next step should be at least quadrupling the annual fee for the residential zone permit stickers, and somehow figuring out a legal way to institute variable meter pricing to accommodate the peaking behavior of parking demand at neighborhood retail strips. On summer Saturday afternoons at Clark/Fullerton, Belmont/Broadway, North/Sheffield etc. the market rate is probably pushing $10/hr.

^ My understanding from somewhere (I think it may have been Greg Hinz's blog at Crains yesterday) is that this deal will lead to the use of better technology allowing for variable pricing.


In bicycling news:

A budding bike-tropolis
Chicago’s Bike 2015 plan keeps biking in city safe, efficient with big plans for next year
by John Lendman
With plans to transform Chicago into an all-encompassing bikeway network, the city of Chicago is ambitious-to say the least.

The city’s Bike 2015 plan seeks to increase bicycle use by making it safer and more accessible to cyclists so that all trips less than 5 miles are eventually by bike, according to the 150-point strategy plan.

In 2008, Chicago’s Department of Transportation’s Bicycling Ambassador program took on 75 of those benchmarked strategies. The installation of hundreds of new bike racks and bike lanes, the educating of thousands of Chicagoans through outreach programs and the opening of the new state-of-the-art Sauganash bike trail, at West Bryn Mawr and North Kostner Avenues, are just a few examples, said Charlie Short, the Bicycling Ambassador program coordinator.

While the city is far from finished, he said, it’s much closer to making Chicago a “world class city for bicycling” than ever before.
Plans are underway for Chicagoans to see 11 more miles of bike lanes, 7 more miles of shared bike lanes, five new transit shelters, a “share the road” training program for taxi cab drivers and CTA operators and an “individualized marketing campaign” to encourage commuters to replace their automobile trips with biking and mass transit, project officials said.

The new plans will be officially revealed at the quarterly Bicycle Advisory Council Meeting on Dec. 10 at 30 N. LaSalle St.

The need for safer bike lanes and bike racks is one of the main priorities, Short said, whose program was able to reach all 50 wards in the city this year with the 2015 plan.

“It’s one thing to be able to put a bike lane down and another thing for people to have some place to [lock] their bike,” Short said. “There’s always work to be done; we make

that our intent every year.”

The Active Transportation Alliance, formerly the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation, was hired as a consultant to help actualize many of the encompassing goals of the program.

Margo O’Hara, communications director of the biking advocacy group, said by comparison to other bike-friendly cities, Chicago manages to accomplish the goals set by the 2015 plan rather impressively.

She said she can’t emphasize enough the importance of training CTA operators on sharing the road with bikers, a task her group has worked to address for years.

“We actually wrote up a curriculum for CTA bus drivers a number of years ago, which has fallen by the wayside,” she said. “It’s nice to see the city pick that up again.”

But not all advocacy groups believe the 2015 plan goes far enough in defense of bikers.

Todd Gee, president of Chicago bike-activist group Break The Gridlock, said he would like to see the city spearhead initiatives to reduce automobile usage in its entirety.

Gee said the 2015 plan is on the right track, but the city can increase bike safety by making driving downtown more expensive with increases in the cost of parking stickers or implementing direct impediments to driving.

“Actual reduction is the most important thing,” Gee said. “It seems people don’t have a holistic view in mind when using their car.”

Break The Gridlock attributes America’s automobile dependence as a contributing factor to global warming, global terrorism and heart disease, according to BreakTheGridlock.org, a grassroots organization that works with biking advocates all over the city “addressing the impact of cars on Chicagoans.”

Steven Lane, a West Town resident and volunteer at biking advocacy group Critical Mass, who has been biking to and from work for 10 years said, the city’s biking community carries a general sense of pride in Chicago for spearheading so many bike-friendly initiatives, but the plan still has a few kinks to work out.

From considering bikerider density when formulating safe routes to accommodating U-Locks for the new CTA bike racks, Lane said, some of the 2015 plan’s projects aren’t being orchestrated logically.

“It’s sometimes ironic that we would come to this new system being unveiled and everyone’s like, ‘Wait a minute, I can’t use this [with my lock],’” Lane said about the new double-stacked bike racks at various CTA stations.

“We still have a ways to go in order to catch up with Portland, Ore., or even further to become an international bike city like Amsterdam or Copenhagen, [Denmark],” he said. “But I’m feeling better and better and the city is way safer than it was 10 years ago.”

Chicago3rd Dec 3, 2008 3:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ch.G, Ch.G (Post 3949087)
However, that would be moot if what you say is true, VivaLFuego, which case Chicago Parking Meter would have to incorporate some kind of a security staff or towing agency into its business, yeah?

Doesn't the city make money policing the meters with its tickets? Seems like a win win situation. Will the city still have meter maids and still ticket and boot? If yes...then there is some money to be made here for people breaking the law.

I am happy for anything that means less cars on the roads.

nomarandlee Dec 3, 2008 3:14 PM

I do think that a raise in metered parking is in order as 25 cents is a pittance. However I think unintended consequences should be considered. Even if two dollars isn't going to break the bank for most people it will be construed by some as just another needless type tax and encourage people to go to stores with lot parking. Would I rather have people who feel it is there God given right to drive and have cheap street parking or do we want people who make a point to avoid a tax and go where the parking is free and retail and landowners which blight the landscape with their lots?

I anticipate for sure a big fat no but is there any legal way to institute mandatory metered parking on for all retail parking lots so that strip malls don't have an advantage over street oriented retail?

ChicagoChicago Dec 3, 2008 3:28 PM

Personally, I’d like to curb Blago’s face for letting old people ride free. I suppose I just hate old people, but as a daily bus rider, they slow everything to a crawl. They stand up front and talk to the driver. They take 3 minutes to sit down. If you’re that damn old and fragile, you shouldn’t be out of the nursing home.

Mr Downtown Dec 3, 2008 3:33 PM

CPD doesn't write parking tickets. Those are issued by employees of the Dept. of Revenue.

Chicago3rd Dec 3, 2008 3:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 3949791)
CPD doesn't write parking tickets. Those are issued by employees of the Dept. of Revenue.

So the city still makes money...cool. Which is my point.

The police will just issue tickets for City Stickers and we are all in the money.

VivaLFuego Dec 3, 2008 4:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nomarandlee (Post 3949761)

I anticipate for sure a big fat no but is there any legal way to institute mandatory metered parking on for all retail parking lots so that strip malls don't have an advantage over street oriented retail?

One could tax off-street parking spaces, but that would also require having an inventory of all off-street parking spaces.

lawfin Dec 3, 2008 5:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 3949791)
CPD doesn't write parking tickets. Those are issued by employees of the Dept. of Revenue.

They sure as hell do, I have received my share and the officers name and if I recall star # were on there additionally there are no parking signs in front of my house and I have witnessed police cars writing parking tickets. Also in the nieghborhoods you sometimes see the beat cops writing up tickets.

arenn Dec 3, 2008 5:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 3949028)
^ The city will put $400 million away for "future use" but the interest of $20 million per year that it collects from that will replace the lost parking meter revenue. So that issue is resolved. The beauty is, this gives Chicago the opportunity to jack up the cost of parking without as much of the political tug-of-war and fallout (ie we had to do it to save the budget, look we got 1.2 billion dollars out of it! and it's not us raising the revenues, it's that new company that runs the meters..etc)

Clearly, the ability to outsource the political will to raise charges is a big part of recent lease deals, in Chicago and elsewhere.

If the $400 million is treated as an endowment, it will generate replacement funds in the short term. But I think the fund will eventually be spent, probably on the Olympics if the city wins, and inflation will erode the value of the revenue stream over time. And it seems likely, for example, that parking meter rates would have gone up significantly in the next 75 years even without this deal.

Chicago3rd Dec 3, 2008 5:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lawfin (Post 3950076)
They sure as hell do, I have received my share and the officers name and if I recall star # were on there additionally there are no parking signs in front of my house and I have witnessed police cars writing parking tickets. Also in the nieghborhoods you sometimes see the beat cops writing up tickets.

Yes you are right about 1/4 of the parking tickets are written by the police.

I would like to add that I think the moneys should all be directed towards Transportation...be it Public Transportation or Alternative Transportation or the refinement of Vehicular Transportation. The money should be staying in the area it is being taken from.

Nowhereman1280 Dec 3, 2008 6:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by arenn (Post 3950087)
Clearly, the ability to outsource the political will to raise charges is a big part of recent lease deals, in Chicago and elsewhere.

If the $400 million is treated as an endowment, it will generate replacement funds in the short term. But I think the fund will eventually be spent, probably on the Olympics if the city wins, and inflation will erode the value of the revenue stream over time. And it seems likely, for example, that parking meter rates would have gone up significantly in the next 75 years even without this deal.

Assuming the city has $400 million and doesn't spend it and manages it properly, inflation will not erode the value of the revenue stream because they will be making significantly more than the rate of interest on the money.
If they do spend the money on something, then inflation is irrelevant because their investment has been changed from a financial asset to a real asset and no longer is affected by inflation. Ideally whatever they spend it on will lead to even more tax revenue for the city and therefore preserve the revenues.

arenn Dec 3, 2008 6:30 PM

Nowhereman, I'm curious to know what you think the rate of return will be on the money? If we assume 3% inflation and a $20 million draw, it should be easy to run the numbers.

Now is probably not a bad time to be putting $400 million to work given that the markets are down substantially this year.

ChicagoChicago Dec 3, 2008 6:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by arenn (Post 3950189)
Nowhereman, I'm curious to know what you think the rate of return will be on the money? If we assume 3% inflation and a $20 million draw, it should be easy to run the numbers.

Now is probably not a bad time to be putting $400 million to work given that the markets are down substantially this year.

I seriously doubt that $400mm will be invested into anything other than US government securities. That puts the yield just above inflation. The real problem is that the city is likely to siphon the interest, so the investment principle will stay $400mm and thus shrink with time value of money.

lawfin Dec 3, 2008 7:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nowhereman1280 (Post 3950150)
Assuming the city has $400 million and doesn't spend it and manages it properly, inflation will not erode the value of the revenue stream because they will be making significantly more than the rate of interest on the money.
If they do spend the money on something, then inflation is irrelevant because their investment has been changed from a financial asset to a real asset and no longer is affected by inflation. Ideally whatever they spend it on will lead to even more tax revenue for the city and therefore preserve the revenues.

Since when does inflation not effect the valuation of real assets??

Taft Dec 3, 2008 8:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lawfin (Post 3950293)
Since when does inflation not effect the valuation of real assets??

Sure, it does. But real assets (outside of commodities) generally are worth less as time goes on. Machines (cars, computers, meters, etc.) all wear out over time and are subsequently worth less as they are used. The depreciation of the asset over time will vary highly from type to type.

Taft

arenn Dec 3, 2008 9:11 PM

Governments do not typically depreciate assets in their operating budget. Also, capital assets often have an operational cost associated with them. Thus when a government purchases a new capital asset, it actually inherits a big future liability for maintenance and capital refresh.

That's one reason leasing out capital assets like the tollway can be a good idea. It offloads the assets, but also the liabilities as well, which are now the concessionaires problem. It effectively hedges the future uncertainty associated with these assets.

Nowhereman1280 Dec 3, 2008 9:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lawfin (Post 3950293)
Since when does inflation not effect the valuation of real assets??

I never said it doesn't affect the valuation I said it doesn't affect the value. Once you convert a dollar into something material (and I don't mean that as a term of art), then you have a real benefit. After that point the monetary value of the asset no longer determine's its worth to you but its real value, or "output" does. For example, say you buy a bus for $1000 and also have a bond for $1000. Right after you do this, inflation goes from 3% to 1000% and a year later the real value of the bond is only $1 compared to what you paid for it. However, regardless of that rate of inflation, the bus is still capable of carrying 50 passengers around. This is the same things as the old hyperinflation basket full of money. In hyperinflationary scenarios people get paid with a basket full of money and as they are running to go spend it, someone robs them, dumps the money out, and runs off with the basket. The basket is not affected by inflation, but the liquid asset is. Thus you see what I am saying when I say the real value of a non-monetary asset is not affected by inflation. However, when you buy an asset like a bus, you then have to worry about depreciation as the bus gradually breaks and eventually wears out and is no longer able to carry the passengers you intended to carry with it.

Dr. Taco Dec 3, 2008 10:00 PM

received this in an email. I'm SO happy we're getting car-pool lanes. With this radical 400 million dollar plan, we are destined to do our part to save mother earth from it's most ferocious, vile enemy: man.

Board Approves $1.8 Billion Capital Improvement Plan
Congestion-Relief Program Phase Two Planning Begins
http://www.up0.net/content/666809/De...2_eNews_op.jpg

In an effort to maintain congestion relief, reduce emissions and invest in Illinois jobs, the Illinois Tollway has approved a $1.8 billion capital improvement plan – Tomorrow´s Transportation Today endorsed by Governor Rod R. Blagojevich. This plan represents Phase Two of the Congestion-Relief Program, and includes a $1.4 billion Interchange Improvement Program and $400 million to develop a Green Lane Plan.

"These Green Lanes and new interchanges will not only help commuters, but will also pay real dividends to Illinois' communities and businesses through massive new business development," said Governor Blagojevich.

The plan includes the creation of dedicated Green Lanes offering access to ride-sharing commuters at regular I-PASS rates and critical Interstate-to-Interstate interchange improvements to the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90)/I-290-IL Route 53 interchange, the Tri-State Tollway (I-294)/I-57 Interchange along with systemwide local interchange projects.

More information regarding Tollway congestion efforts and other Illinois programs can be found by clicking here to read the most recent version of the Governor´s Gazette.
Learn more about the Congestion-Relief Program Phase Two–Tomorrow´s Transportation Today

ardecila Dec 3, 2008 10:14 PM

The reason I support the raising of rates is because street parking should be available. The traffic caused by people circling and looking for street parking only contributes to the city's traffic congestion. If I really need a space quickly near a store or near somebody's apartment, then I can find one easily if I'm willing to pay the price.

It's simple economics - you adjust the price of a commodity until demand equals supply. On-street parking is a limited commodity, of course, and the city can't simply build new roads to create more curbside parking.

This could have an alternative effect, as well. Since on-street parking is often more convenient to destinations that parking garages, people with money will choose to park on-street. The parking garages, faced with less people willing to pay their absurd rates, will have to lower their rates in order to fill all the spaces. (Of course, this neglects other benefits of parking garages like security and shelter form rain....)

Re: the carpool lanes - I'm disappointed that the routes into the city won't be included. HOV lanes on the Kennedy, the Ike, the Stevenson, or the Ryan would go a long way toward making the highways better, since transit isn't cost-effective for large groups.

VivaLFuego Dec 3, 2008 10:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jstush04 (Post 3950763)
With this radical 400 million dollar plan, we are destined to do our part to save mother earth from it's most ferocious, vile enemy: man.

... seriously?


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