My husband has been urging us to have a "date night" -- he even clipped an article about the Obamas' date nights and left it out for me to read. He's right -- we needed one. So Thursday, we tried something simple -- just going to a showing of "Star Trek" at the Logan neighborhood theater while the big kids watched the little kid. We'd be only spending $4 a ticket and we'd get a little time alone on a weeknight -- sounds easy, right?
This turned out to be more complicated than we thought. Logan Square is a little too far for us to walk, and we had only limited time, so we didn't want to take the bus. So we drove -- figuring we'd park at a Milwaukee Avenue meter or in the neighborhood. There were plenty of meters -- mostly open even on this busy stretch of Milwaukee. But it's $1 an hour now to park, and we didn't have enough quarters for the two hour movie -- we were short by one. Feeling silly, we headed into the residential neighborhood, and found zoned parking on every street. We found one empty space in an unzoned area, and made it in time. There was a parking lot nearby, but it charges, and it annoyed our cheap Chicago souls to think of going to a lot to park for a $4 neighborhood movie.
So, for want of a quarter, the movie was almost lost. Certainly, there is one advantage to drivers to having these higher meter rates -- you can find a meter now. But you have to wonder what all those empty meter spaces mean for local businesses.