Gone are the simple days of finding a parking spot next to a
meter, dropping in some quarters and heading on your merry way.
Clearly, those who designed the new parking system did not have
young kids. Here comes Families in the Loop to the rescue, with a
few clever tips to keep you cool, calm, and collected during your
Leave your children in the car -
yes, even if they are screaming - while you run down the block.
Then wait (and wait, wait, wait) until the receipt finally prints
out, while keeping an eye on your car to make sure: a) no one's
jumped into it; and, b) that the kids are not crying to the point
where their faces turn purple. Receipt in hand, sprint back to the
car, calm your children, and let them know you didn't completely
forget about them. Repeat each time you need to park anywhere in
the city, from Starbucks to the dry cleaner, doctor's office to the
gym, school to the diner.
2. Enjoy the
If the first option seems too
traumatic for the kids, try taking them with you to fill the
parking meter (note that the meter location is, without fail, at
least one-half of a block away from the only spot available). Keep
in mind that for at least six months of the year, you will be
buffeted by snow, rain and gusting wind, so hold those little
mittened hands and the Graco car seat with your newborn in it
tightly! While you frantically search for your credit card or spare
change, simply place your screaming child(ren) on the ground. It
might be colder down there, but at least your hands will be free.
When the receipt finally prints, trudge back down the street with
the now hypothermic kids to place the ticket on your dashboard.
Then proceed into the store for your two-minute errand.
3. Spend, spend,
Listen, Chicago parents, city life
is tough. On us and on our wallets. And street parking is no
exception: $5 an hour to park in the Loop and $3 in other
districts. Make sure to wear a coat with big pockets, because
that's 40 quarters for just two hours. But, brighten up: finding a
spot has become a whole lot easier, because it's way too pricey for
most of us!
4. Never take a day
Chicago parking meters are kind of
like parenting - you never get a day off. You're doubting us? Try
going for Chinese food on Christmas Day, and the city will give you
a special present - a parking ticket!
This concludes our Chicago Parking
Parenting Lesson for the week. Good luck, parents, and don't forget
Wendy Widom is CEO of Familes in the Loop (FITL), Chicago's hippest hub for parents and kids.
See more of Wendy 's stories here.
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