ANSWER Chicago ("Act Now to Stop War and End Racism") is a generally progressive group that has been one of the main organizers of anti-war and pro-immigrant demonstrations in Chicago in the last few years. They unfortunately have become yet another example of accidental and misguided pro-car activism. Recently, they opined on the issues of parking and parking rates:
In short, their agenda is:
1. Roll Back & Stop Parking Meter Rate Hikes!
2. End the Privatization of the Parking Meters!
3. No New Parking Meters or Pay Boxes!
While Break The Gridlock has no official stance on parking meter privatization, Break The Gridlock cannot agree with ANSWER Chicago's demands for no new metered parking or rate increases. Parking should be expensive. Surely their call to reduce parking fees will gain them attention and populist support, but it's a dangerous precedent for a group like that to take what seems to be a blatantly pro-car position, especially when it's conflated with other issues. ANSWER says that, "Working people, especially the poor and oppressed, shouldn't have to pay more for the things they need."
The private automobile causes harm to the city both by direct means (pollution, dangerous streets) and ancillary means (redirecting resources away from efficient public transportation). ANSWER should see the increase in parking costs as an opportunity to encourage alternate means of transportation and de-emphasize the role of the private automobile in Chicago.