Nearly 1,600 drivers sign up for ParkChicago within three weeks of pilot launch;
More than 3,500 app downloads; Completion of roll out to 36,000 meters citywide expected later this summer
CHICAGO – After a three-week pilot program that drew 1,600 users and more than 3,500 app downloads, ParkChicago will begin to roll out the service from a limited area in the West Loop to the 36,000 meters throughout the city.
The roll out of ParkChicago – which allows drivers to pay to park using their mobile phone without having to visit a meter box, display a dashboard receipt or hurry back to feed the meter when their time is about to expire – will cover all of the city’s metered spaces by the end of the summer.
“Thousands of people are already taking advantage of the conveniences offered by this new service, and soon drivers across all city neighborhoods will have the option to pay for and extend parking without visiting a meter box,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
“We launched the pilot to garner feedback from the public, and the response from drivers and local businesses has been very positive,” said Dennis Pedrelli, CEO of Chicago Parking Meters, LLC (CPM), which launched ParkChicago. “We look forward to introducing this new service to residents, commuters and visitors around the city, as we continue to seek out new ways to improve the parking experience in Chicago.”
The rollout involves replacing the approximately 42,000 current street parking signs across the city with new versions bearing the ParkChicago logo alerting drivers to the service’s availability. The rollout will begin on streets in areas surrounding the pilot area and expand from there. Meter boxes will remain in place, providing drivers with multiple ways to pay for parking, including coins, credit and debit cards.
ParkChicago, which is powered by PassportParking, launched a pilot program on April 15 in the West Loop neighborhood bound by Washington Street to the north, Monroe Street to the south, Halsted Street to the east, and Racine Avenue to the west.
West Loop Smile Studio, located at 955 W. Monroe St., often uses ParkChicago to pay for patients’ parking when appointments run longer than expected, said Dr. Ozzie Smith III, noting that it provides an added benefit for his customers.
“Given the sometimes unpredictable nature of dental treatments, it’s not always easy for patients to feed the meter when their time is about to expire,” Dr. Smith said. “Having the ParkChicago app allows us to extend time on a patient’s meter without them having to run out in the middle of the procedure. It’s a great convenience for us and our patients.”
Rod Burch of the West Central Association Chamber of Commerce says that West Loop businesses have given the ParkChicago app high marks for its ease of use and convenience for customers, who can extend their time while at a store, restaurant or business meeting.
“ParkChicago puts the customer in charge because they decide how long to shop and dine without having to rush back or stress about getting a parking ticket,” Burch said. “It’s a quick and easy option and saving a trip to the meter box is particularly helpful with our unpredictable weather and if you have a carload of kids.”