The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Calling All Parking Meters?

By Peter Mavrik in News on Sep 7, 2007 7:00PM

2007_09_ParkMagicMeter.jpg It seems parking meters are on your minds lately because they are getting more high tech as each day passes. We were anxiously awaiting more details about how your phone and a parking meter were going to interact, and well, we just found out today.

If you've got $15, a City of Chicago pilot program will sell you a battery operated device that will take the place of your quarters or that little slip of paper you get from the latest solar parking meters. Once activated and placed under your windshield, you make a quick call to a designated number where you tell it the zone on your parking meter, and how long you'll be parking. Moments later, using the Sky-Tel network, the display on the device shows how much time you have left and you can jaunt away to shop, work, or play for up to the next two hours.

Can't get back to your car? No problem, give the system another phone call and you can "refill the meter" up to the two hour maximum remotely. The initial $15 cost will be credited to your account, which according to ParkMagic U.S.A., the manufacturer of the device, can be refilled online or by phone. Sales are set to begin later this month, but we've heard City Hall will be initially selling 1000 of them. We'll keep you in the loop (pun intended) on the official start date of the sale.

Image courtesy of