Online Chicago Parking Map saves time, frustration

Paid parking rates on downtown Chicago streets have shot up dramatically since the city leased its parking meters in a 75-year deal with Chicago Parking Meters LLC. Daytime on-street parking rates in the Loop hit $6.50 an hour on January 1st, and will rise with the inflation rate in coming years. The recent rate increase made Chicago’s metered parking the most expensive in the nation.

Chicagoans seem to have adjusted to the increases, and on-street parking spaces appear as difficult to find as they were before the rate increases.

High rates for metered parking are only a small part of the parking cost for anyone who is delayed and finds their car sporting a $60 expired meter ticket. The cost escalates even further when a towing charge is added to the ticket cost for misreading a parking sign. Slow-pay a few tickets and you might be adding a boot fee.

Downtown Chicago has been experiencing a residential and commercial building boom in recent years that’s shrunk the amount of available off-street parking. An occasional visitor might head for a once-familiar haunt only to find it occupied by a high-rise.

If you’re headed for downtown Chicago you’ll be pleased to know that there’s an online source that makes it easy to find an available off-street parking space near your destination. You can save time, avoid frustration and perhaps even save some money.

The interactive Chicago Parking Map plots locations throughout downtown. Click on any link to bring up detailed information about the facility, including its hours of operation, whether it offers self-parking, and whether cash and / or credit cards are accepted. Each entry includes a link to the lot’s website, where available. Rates aren’t quoted due to the near-impossibility of providing information that’s up-to-date and accurate based on the varied factors that sometimes affect rates.

Chicago Parking Map is a service of the Parking Industry Labor Management Council, which “represents the operators, owners and workers of Chicago parking garages, including more than 4,000 parking industry employees represented by Teamsters Local 727 in the Chicago area.”

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