Parking permits go digital in Highland Park
Physical parking permits are so 2022 in Highland Park.
With the start of the new year, Highland Park parking permits are all digital after the City’s contract with Passport Parking took effect in late December.
Enforcement of the permits, which was suspended through the holidays, restarted on Monday, Jan. 2.
The partnership means motorists must purchase parking passes online through Passport’s dedicated Highland Park website or through the company’s mobile app. Passes are necessary in certain Highland Park commuter lots, business districts and residential areas. More details on Highland Park parking regulations are available at on the City’s website.
Permits can also be acquired via kiosks located in designated areas, such as local commuter lots, or by calling Passport’s customer line listed on signage near permitted parking areas.
The City of Highland Park began seeking vendors for a digital parking-pass program in December of 2021. Out of four bids, City staff recommended Passport Parking, a firm that serves municipalities nationwide and many in the region, including Deerfield, Wilmette and Lake Forest.
The Highland Park City Council approved in June 2022 a contract with Passport worth $151,357, including about $80,000 in first-year costs, a $12,000 annual cost and a schedule of per-transaction fees.
City Manager Ghida Neukirch announced during a November council meeting that the “significant undertaking” was finalized and the program rollout was scheduled for December.
“This gives individuals an efficient, user-friendly platform to pay for their parking permits and manage their accounts online,” she said at the meeting, adding that it was “really a great team effort and we’re excited to roll it out to public.”
Neukirch added that the City would buy back 2023 parking permits from residents who already purchased them.
The mobile parking program requires permit seekers to enter their license plate number. Highland Park community service officers can efficiently use the data to enforce the parking permits. According to Highland Park documents, “the technology will only be monitoring data related to valid and invalid parking permissions, as well as any related outstanding parking fines; no additional data regarding the licensed plate or the vehicle owner is provided to (the City of Highland Park) or to Passport.”
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Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319