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Ask Chicagoist: More on Parking Meters

By Thales Exoo in Miscellaneous on Sep 5, 2007 2:00PM

2007_09_askparking.jpgSometimes, every once in awhile, OK maybe once or twice tops, we answer a question someone sends in to Ask Chicagoist, and it turns out we're missing a vital and perhaps really interesting piece of information related to the topic.

Take last week's parking meter question, for example. Ferdy wanted to know about the "Zone 3" stickers popping up on parking meters in Streeterville, and other commenters wrote in to mention that the stickers were in fact showing up all over the city.

Yesterday a note was slipped under our door from Ed Walsh, a Department of Revenue city employee; they're in charge of parking meters in Chicago. Turns out the stickers are part of a new program that will allow people to pay for metered parking spots via their phones. Phone users will need to be aware of the zone they are parking in when phoning in their fees.

Ed said that "the zone numbers do not impact the current pricing structures of the meters. This is a pilot program only, and more information will be available shortly. Even though motorists will have the option of paying by phone, the current payment option of feeding the meter will continue to be available."

Considering how often we don't have anything even resembling a quarter when we have to park on the street, and how ridiculously excited we get about cool new uses for technology, Chicagoist is looking forward to giving this a try. We tried to resist, but we're completely addicted to our (non-iPhone, sadly) text messaging as it stands, and if this program does use SMS it will certainly make texting more useful than our usual random comments at 2 a.m.

Vancouver, San Francisco, Denver and New York City (among other places) already have versions of parking phone payments available in some areas of their cities. The Vancouver system even calls your phone when the meter's about to run out and allows you to "put more money in" without venturing outside.

We definitely can't wait to hear more about this program and when it will hit Chicago.

Image via wendtwork.

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