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ParkChicago Pay-by-Phone App Hits Northwest Side

  The system aims to eliminate the need to dash from car to pay box, or display a windshield receipt. 
ParkChicago App Comes to Northwest Side
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EDISON PARK — Tech-savvy drivers who need to park on the Northwest Side can rejoice — the new ParkChicago mobile payment system expanded this week to the Jefferson Park Business District and downtown Edison Park.

The app eliminates the need to pay for parking at a pay box and to place a receipt on the dashboard. Drivers can pay for parking or extend parking time from anywhere using a smartphone, iPad or other tablet computer.

The new app aimed at helping you pay Chicago meters...comes with a subtle fee. Heather Cherone explains:

Edison Park Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Melissa Panizzi said she hoped the app would increase business for the shops and stores in downtown Edison Park, where the inconvenience and expense of the meters is a frequent complaint.

Earlier this year, the chamber bought a parking lot at Oshkosh Avenue and Northwest Highway to help shoppers beat the meters legally. Drivers can park there — and in a 16-space lot at 6718 N. Oliphant Ave. — for free.

As part of the app, a built-in timer will remind drivers 10 minutes before their time expires to allow them to add more time or get back to their car.

After downloading the app, motorists must create an account, which includes inputting credit or debit card information. Similar to the Illinois Tollway's I-PASS system, users are required to start with a minimum $20 balance, which is automatically replenished when it drops below $10, according to Burnham.

Once set up, in order to park, drivers must type in the six-digit zone number on the closest parking meter sign and then input their license plate number.

After a time is selected and the transaction is finished, a confirmation message is displayed, which can be emailed to the user. The app also gives drivers the flexibility to move their car within the allotted time and still be legally parked.

People without a smartphone can still use the service by calling 877-242-7901 and following the prompts.

There's no fee to use ParkChicago if a driver opts to pay for two hours of parking or more. However, there is a 35-cent fee for each time a driver pays less than the maximum time allowed. There is no limit on the number of times drivers can add time.

Mike Brockway of The Expired Meter contributed to this report.