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Chicago's No 1. ... For Worst Place To Park A Car

By John Dodge

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Chicago is the worst place in the country to park a car, according to a new analysis of major city parking.

The study by NerdWallet examined both the high cost of parking and the risk of auto theft to determine the rankings.

Chicago ranked No. 1 based on the average cost to put a car in a parking garage and its higher than average theft rate.

The analysis found Chicago's average daily garage rate of $35 was the highest in the country among major cities in the continental United States, outpacing even New York City. It's monthly parking rate ($289) fared a bit better.

The study also found that Chicago's auto theft rate was 33.4 percent above the national average. That analysis relied on FBI statistics from 2010. The FBI statistics from 2012 show Chicago improved to 10 percent above the national average.

Oakland had the worst auto theft rate at nearly 125 percent above the national average. However, it is relatively inexpensive to park there at $15 a day. It ranked second-worst.

The best place to park, according to NerdWallet, is Boise, Idaho.

Aside from garage parking and auto thefts, it should also be noted that Chicago's widely criticized decision to lease its parking meters for the next 75 years leaves drivers paying huge fees at meters, too.

The original lease deal negotiated under Mayor Daley was roundly blasted as a giveaway to Chicago Parking Meters. Critics say the city allowed the company to pay only $1 billion to take over the meters, much less than the true value.

Mayor Emanuel reworked the deal, allowing for free parking in neighborhoods on Sundays in exchange for expanded hours during the week.

In 2013, parking meter rates went up to $6.50 an hour downtown. Meters in the South Loop, West Loop, River North and Gold Coast went up to $4 an hour, while other meters in the city rose to $2 per hour.

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