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Dial Up a Parking Spot

The Village Council is considering a measure that would bring pay-by-phone technology to local parking lots.

Get ready to program Total Parking Solutions into your speed dial.

If a Village Council motion and ordinance presented Tuesday passes on April 19, the village and its parking pay station vendor would enter into an agreement that would allow commuters who park at the Belmont train station and downtown visitors who use the parking deck to pay their daily parking fee by phone. The motion and ordinance got their first readings at Tuesday’s meeting.

Cellular spot-bookers will pay the standard $3 daily fee plus 50 cents extra according to village management analyst Allison Alonzo—37 cents for a fee levied by the vendor and 13 cents to cover the village’s administrative start-up costs that would total $1,000.

ParkMobile is the software provider that would work with Total Parking Solutions and the village. Alonzo said payments can be made using a smart-phone app, Internet browser, or simply a phone call for those not on as technologically up to speed.

“What a unique application we’re looking at here,” Commissioner Bruce Beckman said. “Although I have this fear that we’re going to see a whole bunch of people in the parking garage trying to punch in the appropriate number on their cell phone as the train pulls out of the station.”

The motion and ordinance also would discontinue the village’s debit card, known as the Smart Card. Those Smart Card users with outstanding balances would be eligible for a refund.

If passed, expect to see advertising for the new payment method quickly.  

“We will have signage and actually, as a part of the agreement, Total Parking Solutions and ParkMobile … will be at the location providing information on it,” Alonzo said.

According to the motion, the pay-by-phone system is already being used in Barrington, Crystal Lake and Hinsdale.

“Staff contacted officials from Barrington, which has been using the pay-by-phone system since November 2010,” the motion reads. “Barrington is pleased with the system to this point.”

Also Tuesday…

  • Director of Public Works Nan Newton presented recommendations stemming from the village’s recent neighborhood traffic study. The study measured the number of speeders, traffic volumes, cut-through traffic, pedestrian safety, parking issues and turning issues in the 36 intersections of the neighborhood bounded by Maple to the north, Fairview to the east, 55th to the south, and Main to west. The village aims to regulate the eight intersections that currently have no signage and add more four-way and two-way stops.
  • The Village Council heard a first reading of a resolution that would enter the village into an agreement with the Indian Boundary YMCA to hold a farmers’ market in Parking Lot B of the Main Street train station. The village and YMCA have participated in the market agreement since 1991. The “size and scope” of the 2011 market will mimic 2010. The market will run every Saturday morning, 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., from May 7 to Oct.15.
  • The Village Council heard the first reading of a motion to renew its re-insurance at a total premium of $321,757, a 2.3 percent increase from the current year’s total. According to the motion, “variation in pricing is generally based on adjustments in the value of vehicles and property, as well as the village’s loss history.” The fiscal year 2011 budget provides for $376,000 in re-insurance coverage for village property, casualty and excess liability coverage. The total is divided among excess general and auto liability, excess workers compensation and property insurance.

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