Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Meter's Running

When are all holidays not created equal? Apparently, when revenue is at issue.

For some reason, I was looking at the closures for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday.

When I looked at the list below, something caught my eye:

- Schools: Chicago public schools will be closed. Most suburban schools will be closed; check with the local district office.

- Government offices: Federal, state, county and city offices will be closed.

- Postal service: All post offices will be closed, and mail will be collected on a Saturday schedule; only express mail will be delivered.

- Courts: Federal, state and county courts will be closed, except for Cook County Central Bond Court.

- Banks: Most banks will be closed.

- Financial markets: At the Chicago Board of Trade, all floor trading will be closed and electronic trading will resume at normal evening times. At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, all floor trading will be closed and electronic trading will observe an abbreviated schedule.

- Parking: Chicago meters need to be fed.

- Transit: Pace, Metra and CTA will operate on their regular weekday schedules.

The reason that this jumps out at me is that these federal holidays are often days for families, (and many civil service workers I guess), to take in much of what the City has to offer in the way of museums, cultural institutions, and the like. Why not let them park for free for a couple of hours?

For those that aren't aware of it, the only Chicago Parking Meter Holidays are the following:

  • New Year's Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Day
I am keenly aware that, as is the case with many units of government, Chicago is not exactly flush with cash these days. But I don't really think that letting the public park for free on federal holidays ranks up there as one of the leading budget pressures. Let 'em park.

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