Tag Archives: Chicago parking
Even if you had the cash, would you pay that much for a parking space in New York City?
Most sane people would say no.
Not by increasing the 25,000 parking spaces it controls at lots and garages adjacent to the airport, but through technological improvements to allow drivers to use their cell phone to locate and pay for parking.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the city is seeking bids from companies that have technology which will allow drivers to locate open parking spaces within garages or lots and even pay for their parking using smart phone applications.
Drivers with pre-paid parking would not have to wait at long lines to pay for parking before exiting. The city believes they can eventually decrease the number of manned pay booths at each parking lot or garage location.
The story says 3.4 million cars park at O’Hare annually, or an average of 20,000 vehicles a day.
But the bid description also has a mildly sinister request for potential bidders.
At least that’s what SpotHero founder Mark Lawrence thinks.
That’s why, on the eve of Chicago’s Winter Overnight Parking Ban, Lawrence is offering any unfortunate drivers who get towed on the first night of the ban free parking at one of the hundreds of spots they list for any event, time and place over the next year,
Lawrence feels its a way for his company to lessen the pain of being towed.
“Because we’ve been towed ourselves and getting towed sucks, it’s our way of giving back because we understand the pain and aggravation,” explains Lawrence. “It’s so we can make parking in Chicago a little better.”
One in every 13 vehicles in Cook County utilize a handicap parking placard according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
This is just one of the many eye brow raising statistics the second part of the Sun-Times’ series on the abuse of placards used by disabled drivers.
A team of investigators led by reporter Chris Fusco surveyed the area in the South Loop bounded by Roosevelt, Van Buren, Desplaines and Canal and found as many as 60 cars using disabled placards parking for free at metered spots.
The article also reveals that nearly 600,000 handicap placards have been issued statewide with 204,787 or 34% of the state total, being utilized just in Cook County.
Since Chicago signed the parking meter lease deal in late 2008, and parking meter rates have skyrocketed in the subsequent years, the number of drivers illegally using handicapped placards to park for free has risen substantially according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Sun-Times investigative reporter Chris Fusco seems to have spent a long time, working with a retired police officer to stake out potential handicapped placard scofflaws as the story and video document 82 cases of abuse and catch several motorists red handed.
Fox Chicago News’ Bob Sirott has never been a fan of Chicago’s parking meter lease deal, but he has a few positive (and negative) thoughts to share about parking meters and parking in general.
Here’s his full piece, “Bob Sirott’s One More Thing About Parking.”
Cars have parked beneath the CTA Blue Line elevated tracks along Milwaukee Avenue in the Wicker Park neighborhood without hindrance for as long as anyone can remember.
But that neighborhood tradition was abruptly stopped the last week of August when tow signs discreetly appeared hung just below the tracks, and a few fliers promoting under-L parking found their way onto vehicle windshields and many drivers got surprised when they came back to find their car had mysteriously disappeared.
Even though the property underneath CTA elevated train tracks is private property, and drivers parking beneath the tracks have always risked being towed, in this area of the city, no parking/no trespassing restrictions were never enforced–until now.
That’s because Central Parking System (CPS) planned to expand the CTA’s under ‘L parking program along this two block stretch of the Blue Line the beginning of September. Looking to find ways to generate new revenue, a few years ago the CTA contracted CPS to manage their regular parking lots and spearhead the under ‘L parking program.
SpotHero‘s Mark Lawrence is pumped.
“We were unbelievably excited,” says Lawrence. “We’ve been really working hard on this full time and it really shows validation for our idea.”
After a year of hard work by himself and his partner Jeremy Smith in launching their parking spot rental website, SpotHero claimed top prize in the first round of the city sponsored Apps for Chicago contest.
The first round of this program to promote local technological entrepreneurship focused on transportation. After being selected from an initial 30 app submissions, SpotHero beat out 12 finalists for the $5000 top prize.
Where does the inspiration for a business idea come from?
Who knows how people find that million dollar idea, but Jeremy Smith 24, and Mark Lawrence 25, are two Chicago entrepreneurs who attribute the inspiration for their new startup tech company SpotHero.com to getting too many parking tickets, living across the street from Wrigley Field and trying to make an extra buck renting a parking space in their garage during Cubs games.
“Jeremy came up with the idea from living in Lakeview and seeing first hand what happens (with parking) during a Cubs game,” explained Lawrence about their new website which helps link drivers looking for parking with people looking to rent their parking spots and generate extra income.
Our friends over at SpotHero are getting close to launching their new, online marketplace to help pair Chicagoans with parking spaces with drivers looking for a place to park.
Just recently, Medill News Service did a news story about the soon to debut service.