CHICAGO — The city has started replacing its parking pay boxes with paperless versions.
Installation of the boxes, which will eventually be available for all 36,000 metered parking spaces in the city, began Thursday in the Downtown area, according to a Chicago Parking Meters news release.
The current pay boxes require drivers to pay, get a printout and display the printout on their dashboards. The new system will allow drivers to type in their license plate number when they pay, and workers will check that plate against an online database when checking if a car is paid up.
Drivers will be able to get a text or paper receipt, but it won’t need to be put on display.
All metered parking spots will have the new boxes in place by mid-2019. Drivers can also still use the ParkChicago app to pay for parking.
In the midst of a budget crunch and the economic downturn of late 2008, former Mayor Richard M. Daley pushed a deal with Chicago Parking Meters through the City Council. The city received $1.157 billion from a 75-year lease.
Within six months, David Hoffman, then the city’s inspector general, was saying the contract undervalued the city’s meter system by some $974 million.
Daley went on to spend much of the upfront money on budget shortfalls in subsequent years before leaving office in 2011.