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City jacks lakefront parking rate to $30 for holiday festivities: ‘Shame on Chicago!’

Chicagoans had to pay about five times more than normal to park near beaches over the Fourth of July weekend.

Parking rates were inflated to $30 this weekend at Big Marsh Park on the Far South Side, as they were at lakefront parks and beaches.
Sun-Times staff

Beachgoers behind the wheel were forced to shell out $30 over the Fourth of July weekend to park their vehicles near any lakefront parks.

That’s about five times more than Chicagoans typically have to cough up for a four-hour beach visit by car.

“Chicago, keeping poor folks off the beaches for 100 years,” one Twitter user lamented. “Shame on Chicago!” another said.

It caught many revelers off-guard on the way to their first proper Independence Day festivities in two years, but the higher holiday parking rate has been in place since 2018, according to Chicago Park District spokeswoman Michele Lemons.

“Similar to other parking lots across the city, the Chicago Park District imposes a holiday rate along the lakefront over the Fourth of July weekend,” Lemons said in an email. “The $30 flat parking rate is consistent at all lakefront locations.”

But rates were jacked up in at least one other lot that’s nowhere near the lake: Big Marsh Park on the Far South Side, about five miles removed from the closest beach.

Lemons didn’t immediately respond to a question about the inland pricing elevation, or what weekends will be $30 affairs in the future.

Still, the flat rate likely ended up as a discount for those who spent a full day at a downtown beach. Navy Pier charges $53 for a 24-hour stay, for example.

The temporary hike came several weeks after the city’s controversial installation of meters at Montrose Beach, which had been Chicago’s last bastion of free parking for a lakefront outing.

Parking prices return to regular levels Tuesday.