News - Joliet and Will County

Mayor wants to roll back parking rates in downtown Joliet

A Public Parking sign can be seen along Chicago Street in Joliet, Ill.

Mayor Bob O’Dekirk wants the Joliet City Council to reconsider hikes in downtown parking rates that went into effect Jan. 1.

"I think we should be going the other way," O'Dekirk told the council on Tuesday. "We should be reducing rates or eliminating them."

The council last year approved hikes in downtown parking rates to fund repairs and modernization of parking decks that still operate on a cash-only system.

The rates also were intended to help fund a parking system that was running a $300,000 deficit last year.

The price for parking at the decks increased from 50 cents an hour to $1 an hour. Monthly parking passes went from $40 to $60.

Rates also were increased for downtown parking meters and commuter lots.

O'Dekirk said he has heard from downtown business people, particularly real estate developer John Bays, who are trying to attract new business.

"They feel that the parking rates are going to hamper that," he said.

Terry Morris, chairman of the council's Land Use and Legislative Committee, agreed to take another look at the parking rates.

"Mr. Bays and others are willing to talk with you," O'Dekirk said.

O'Dekirk had questioned the hike in parking rates in November when they were approved and later said the city should have considered other alternatives, including selling off parking facilities to private operators.

Joliet has made some improvements in the downtown parking system, including the installation of kiosks that take debit and credit cards to replace coin-only meters in some areas.

The higher rates also are intended to finance a $3 million bond that would be issued to fund facility improvements and repairs.

Other increases that went into effect include:

• Hourly rates of $1.50, up from $1, for meters in Zone A;

• Hourly rates of 75 cents, up from 50 cents, in Zone B;

• Monthly parking passes of $20, up from $15, in the Riverwall Parking Lot;

• Commuter parking lot daily rates of $1.50, up from $1;

• Daily rates of $5, up from $4, in the Mayor Art Schultz Parking Lot .

Bob Okon

Bob Okon

Bob Okon covers local government for The Herald-News