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Emanuel adding 752 metered parking spaces in central area

One of the parking kiosks that were installed after Chicago's parking meters were privatized.

One of the parking kiosks that were installed after Chicago's parking meters were privatized. | Sun-Times files

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to double parking meter rates at 820 spaces around Wrigley Field and 670 spaces around Soldier Field isn’t the only change in store for motorists who park on Chicago streets.

The city is also installing 752 new paid spaces: 374 of them in the Central Business District; 153 in the Loop; and 225 metered spaces in surrounding neighborhoods.

Molly Poppe, a spokesperson for the city’s Office of Budget and Management, said the additional spaces are expected to generate $3.4 million for the company that paid $1.15 billion to lease Chicago parking meters for 75 years.

But the surge in revenue will also benefit Chicago taxpayers. It will be used to off-set money that must be paid to Chicago Parking Meters LLC to compensate the company for meters taken out of service and for spaces used by people with disabilities.

The last annual payment for those so-called “true-up” costs amounted to $12 million.

“Adding meters is part of what we do every year in conjunction with the aldermen, but this year there are more spaces being added in the downtown area,” Poppe said Friday.

“One block has parking meters. The next block doesn’t. We’re filling in the gaps where parking meters should be and adding meters where it makes sense.”

The revenue ordinance introduced at Tuesday’s City Council meeting also puts a number on the spaces around Wrigley and Soldier Field that will be subject to the mayor’s “surge” pricing pilot.

That number: 1,490. That’s 820 around Wrigley and 670 around Soldier Field. At those spaces, parking meter rates will double — from $2 an hour to $4-an-hour. The new rate will begin two hours before a game, concert or special event at those stadiums and extend for seven hours.

The new rate would generate roughly $2.4 million. That money would again be used to off-set the annual payment to Chicago Parking Meters LLC.

“The rate is gonna go from $2 to $4 an hour. Still a bargain if you can find a spot,” Chief Financial Officer Carole Brown told the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board last month.

“And we’re gonna test it to see if there’s a positive impact on the neighbors and business owners. If it is a successful pilot, we will consider doing it in other key areas, like around Soldier Field and the United Center.”

Soldier Field was added before the fact, at the request of local Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd).