ParkChicago begins citywide expansion after successful West Loop pilot program - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

ParkChicago begins citywide expansion after successful West Loop pilot program

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SOURCE ParkChicago

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, May 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- 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.

ParkChicago begins citywide expansion after successful West Loop pilot program. Nearly 1,600 drivers sign up 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

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 roll out 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 roll out 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."

Get started with ParkChicago

To use ParkChicago, customers must first set up an account linked to a major credit or debit card by using the app, going online to www.parkchicago.com or through their mobile phone. The cost of parking sessions is deducted from an account pre-funded with at least $20, and accounts are automatically replenished when the balance drops below $10, similar to I-PASS, the prepaid collection system used on Illinois tollways.

While drivers can register for the new service at any time, new users are recommended to wait until ParkChicago is offered in the area serving their parking needs. New street signs displaying the ParkChicago logo will alert drivers to the service's availability.

iPhone and Android users can download the free ParkChicago mobile app at the App Store or at Google Play. To learn more, visit www.ParkChicago.com.

About Chicago Parking Meters

Chicago Parking Meters, LLC (CPM) operates the third-largest metered parking system in the United States and the largest system privately operated under a concession agreement. CPM is responsible for the operation, management, maintenance and rehabilitation of Chicago's on-street parking. Since 2009, CPM has invested over $40 million in system modernization and customer service improvements. With electronic meter boxes serving all of the approximately 36,000 metered spaces in the city's downtown and neighborhood areas and efficient maintenance processes, it is one of the most sophisticated parking operations in the U.S. and was ranked #1 in the world for on-street parking in IBM's 2011 Global Parking Survey. For more information, please visit www.chicagometers.com.

About PassportParking

PassportParking, Inc. (Passport) is an industry leader in providing integrated cloud-based parking solutions, operating in more than 70 jurisdictions. The company provides the most advanced technology and equipment in an enterprise suite that allows parking providers and owners to manage parking and enforcement operations more effectively and efficiently. Passport is PCI DSS Level 1-compliant, the highest achievable certification in the credit card industry. For more information, please visit www.passportparking.com.

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