Pay-by-phone parking meter app ParkChicago launches Tuesday

Chicago drivers now have a new way to pay for street parking. (WLS)
May 6, 2014 11:12:56 AM PDT
Chicago drivers now have a new way to pay for street parking. The city has launched ParkChicago, a pay-by-phone mobile app.

After a successful, three-week pilot program in the West Loop, the city plans to expand service to Chicago's 36,000 parking meters by the end of summer 2014.

Starting Tuesday, drivers will be able to pay for street parking virtually, by downloading the ParkChicago app to their mobile device.

A minimum $20 deposit into your new account is required at registration. Users are also required to agree to replenish their accounts by at least $20 when their account balances falls below $10.

Drivers should look for street signs with the ParkChicago logo to see where the service is available. They must enter the 6 digit code on the lower right-hand corner of the sign and their license plate number to begin a new parking session.

The money will then be deducted from their account. That's how the parking enforcement officer will know drivers have paid to park.

Each session of purchased parking time is also portable. If a driver needs to move his or her vehicle before time expires, the new spot will be paid for until time runs out - but only if drivers park in a zone with the same or lower hourly rate.

Users can also sign up for a cell phone alert when the meter is about to run out. They will be able to feed the meter remotely if it is about to expire, without needing to return to their vehicle.

"I think that would be great, actually," daily commuter Chrissy Roellechen said. "A lot of time you run in and out and it's like, 'Oh, I've got to get back to the car and re-up the meter.'"

If drivers do not have ParkChicago on their phones, they will still be able to pay using the meter boxes on the sidewalk.

In its first few weeks, the app was downloaded more than 3,500 times and 1,600 people registered user names and passwords.

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