If you have ever been to the city, you would know that finding Chicago parking in some of the popular neighborhoods is never easy. In a city like Chicago, where getting around the place is difficult, driving a car is probably the safest and most accessible option you have. Chicago is also one of the better cities in terms of traffic, making the overall driving experience much more manageable than leading cities like New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Having your car to drive around Chicago also makes it safer and cheaper than hiring a cab. You can also travel at your own pace, stop in between as required, and take your own time from one destination to another.
There are also plenty of websites like Way.com that let you pre-book Chicago parking in advance. Having access to parking apps like the Way App lets you book a spot in advance without any unnecessary hassles. So, how can you overcome the challenges of driving around and finding a parking spot without having to go through a lot of trouble? The answer is not complicated as you would think. Making minor changes, along with having a basic understanding of how the system of Chicago parking works, can help you save lots of time and energy that you would otherwise spend on parking. Continue reading this article, and you will have all the information you would need to know about Chicago parking. By simply following these guidelines, you can even go for Downtown Chicago parking without breaking a sweat.
The Basics of Parking Rules and Regulations in Chicago
Having a general idea about the significant rules and regulations of parking in Chicago can help you find affordable parking across Chicago. While Chicago follows more or less of the same basic rules that all other US cities follow, some features and facilities are unique just to Chicago. Residential Parking Permit (RPP) is one unique feature that is not common across other cities. Apart from RPP, you would also be very likely to come across permit parking, tow-zones, and seasonal regulations. Having a general idea about all these can help you get the best spots in Chicago without worrying about expensive parking citations.
Residential Parking Permit
Residential Parking Permit (RPP) is a permit issued by the city of Chicago for those who wish to park next to their residential property. The Residential Parking Permit zones only allow vehicles that display a residential parking permit to park along the Residential Parking Permit Zone. Any vehicle that does not have the RPP sticker displayed will be considered an illegally parked vehicle. The parking enforcement can slap expensive fines and even tow away your car for this violation. Residential parking permits are pretty cheap and can be purchased for rates as low as $25 to $50 per year. The city of Chicago also offers daily residential parking permits, which come in at a rate of $16 for a month.
There are more than 36,000 metered parking spaces for Chicago Street parking, which are enforced, and maintained by Chicago Parking Meters (CPM). Conventional rates for metered parking range from $2.25 per hour to $7 per hour, with the downtown Loop area having the highest rates per hour. Metered parking is free on Sundays, and motorists who park in metered parking spaces outside the Central Business District, don’t have to pay for parking on Sundays. Most of the metered Chicago street parking spots are in effect from 8 AM to 10 PM, Monday through Sunday.
Any driver who intends to drive their car and park in Chicago must purchase a city parking sticker after contacting the city clerk of Chicago. Regardless of where your vehicle is registered from, this is mandatory for everyone if you don’t want to end up having to pay more as fines. The parking permits are available for purchase from the city hall and cost anywhere from $85 to $200 per year.
Tow Away Zones
Keeping an eye out for Tow Away zones can help you save lots of money, time, and unwanted stress. It is pretty easy to miss out on a signboard or end up parking illegally if you are not careful enough. Your best shot at ensuring that this does not happen would be to go for pre-bookings through authentic parking service providers. Way.com is one of the most straightforward interfaces that let you pre-book a spot without any unnecessary hassles. Always make sure not to park on crosswalks, right next to stop signs and fire hydrants, yellow curbs, bike, and bus lanes if you don’t want your car to get towed away. Always go for legal parking, and never be careless when it comes to parking.
What can you do if your Chicago parking ends up with a car towed away?
While you can do plenty of things to prevent towing, there could be a situation where you could end up having your car towed away. If your car was towed away for illegal parking, you need to contact 311 to get more details about your towed car. The city of Chicago also has a find your vehicle website dedicated to helping people find their towed vehicles.
Winter Parking Ban
From December 31 to March 31, the city of Chicago regularly imposes a ban on overnight parking in Chicago. This makes the whole challenge of finding Downtown Chicago parking almost impossible. The city of Chicago also withdraws the free overnight Chicago street parking when the winter parking ban is in effect. Any vehicle that is found parked will be towed away, and you can expect tickets of up to $250 for violating the winter parking ban. If you want to avoid expensive citations, it’s always best not to park on the streets between 3 AM and 7 PM, even if there is no snow. If the winter parking ban is in effect, the rule will be applicable for all kinds of overnight parking until March 31, even if there is no snowfall.
Street Cleaning Schedules
This is the most annoying Chicago street parking feature in existence, and fortunately, it is only applicable from April to mid-November. Always be on the lookout for bright orange-colored signboards before you park. If there are bright orange signs, there could be street cleaning schedules in effect within 24 hours. Usually, the signboards next to where you park would mention the time of street cleaning at that particular moment. Street cleaning usually takes place between 9 AM and 3 PM.
These are some of the basic parking regulations. Having an idea about all these regulations and keeping an eye out for all signboards, and possible parking restrictions alone, helps you win half of the battle. With some luck and being at the right place at the right time, you can easily access an excellent and secure spot for Chicago parking without any worries.