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Innovation boosts City’s parking meter deal — and maybe even Rahm
Along with Free Sundays for residents and other changes, Rahm Emanuel is looking to be viewed as the Mayor who saved that miserable parking meter deal left by his predecessor.
There’s no question that Chicagoans have long memories when it comes to traversing the city streets — and parking on them.
The 75-year parking meter deal that former Mayor Daley brokered is largely seen as one of his biggest public failures. In a 1979 snow storm, Chicago Mayor Michael Bilandic’s failure to clear City streets cleared him out of office.
Today, as part of the announcement of a new parking meter deal that would help reduce the City of Chicago’s debt to the outside firm, Mayor Rahm Emanuel unveiled a new “pay-by-cell” option that eliminates that annoying system underway now. That is: walk to the inconveniently located pay box, pay, then walk back to the car to place it on the windshield.
The big snag though: It won’t be available until a year from now. Metra has beaten the City to the punch on this one with its easy parkmobile app, which allows you to quickly and easily pay for parking over the phone. The gain for consumers on this: it cuts down on ticketing, especially for those rushing for trains.
For a City where ticketing is bread and butter revenue, many questions remain. That includes: will the online app block drivers from re-upping another two hours if they’re in a two-hour parking zone — the most common downtown.
Here’s how the City describes it:
Convenient Pay-By-Cell Option
CPM will introduce a new pay-by-cell convenience option. This new feature will eliminate the need for parkers to visit the pay box, print a parking receipt and then place the receipt in their windshields. Instead, parkers will be able to simply enter a pay box number visibly posted on street signage into a cellular phone application without the need for a receipt. Parkers choosing to pay-by-cell will see a convenience charge of .35 cents applied to purchases of less than two hours at one time. Their phones will operate as their payment method and individuals can create an account with an initial balance of $20. The pay-by-cell option will be available by the summer of 2014.