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Chicago to claim No. 1 spot - for downtown parking meter rates

Matt Juszczak Chicago Ill. pays parking meter 3100 block N. Broadway Ave. Chicago Ill. Wednesday December 26 2012. | Andrew

Matt Juszczak, of Chicago, Ill., pays a parking meter on the 3100 block of N. Broadway Ave. in Chicago, Ill., on Wednesday, December 26, 2012. | Andrew A. Nelles~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 28, 2013 3:49PM

We’ll soon be number one. But it’s not something to brag about.

Beginning Jan. 1, Chicago drivers will be shelling out more for downtown parking meters than any other city in North America.

The cost to park at a metered spot in the Loop will rise to $6.50 an hour from the current $5.75. That’s more than double what people paid to park at meters in the Loop in 2008.

In the Central Business District, rates will go up 50 cents from $3.50 to $4. And in most neighborhoods, rates will rise 25 cents an hour.

The rates will begin their hike downtown and spread to the rest of Chicago by February.

The increase isn’t a big surprise. Part of the $1.15 billion deal with Chicago Parking Meters LLC included five years of initial pay hikes. And beginning in 2014, meter increases citywide will be tied to the rate of inflation.

Tina Sfondeles

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