Living in the Chicago suburbs, I’ve often had challenges to find parking in downtown Chicago, especially in the late afternoon or early evening on Saturday. To mitigate that risk, I decided to reserve online parking through InterPark prior to leaving for the city. We felt by planning ahead, this would help reduce some stress in the evening. It was my first attempt at the online reservation process at the cost of $15. The online receipt on my mobile device would apparently allow me to scan the code while I enter and leave and not have to focus on the parking situation.
First, the scanning of our receipt did not work and after trying about a dozen times and while other cars queued behind us; my wife suggested getting a paper receipt and resolving this with customer service on the bottom floor. Unfortunately, we had to wait about 10 minutes for the customer service employee at the checkout to appear. She glanced at the receipt and confirmed our code was legitimate and said we’re good to go and confirmed we should not have any parking issues when leaving.
Having a reserved spot only means you have a spot somewhere in the parking structure, unfortunately we found our first open parking space on the 8th floor (in a very tight parking space). Because of this and not being the first to leave the Chicago Theatre after the concert, we decided to stroll around the neighborhood for about 20 minutes before taking the challenge of exiting from the 8th floor. Our strategy did not work exactly as planned. Yes, there were fewer cars but enough cars to make this an exercise in patience. For each floor we had to traverse, there were cars from the left and right on each floor wanting to exit at the same time. Besides being narrow and steep, it was a very slow process. After about 20 minutes, we arrived at the payment station but unfortunately, the code still did not work.
When it was our turn at the gate, we again needed assistance from the parking garage employees. Thankfully there were employees at the two gates, however, he had to wander away for about one minute to open the gate (not sure why he didn’t have that option at his fingertips).
Again technology is convenient when it works. When it doesn’t you start to wonder why we used it. We paid $15 ahead of time thinking it would be a streamlined process but we were mistaken.
Maybe my uncle was right when he said you get what you pay for. By being organized and planning ahead of time, we thought we had the parking situation addressed. We also didn’t think it was going to be so steep getting to the parking structure from Randolph Street so that would not be my first choice next time visiting the Chicago Theatre.
8th floor is not the ideal but would have been Ok if it had not been right next store to the Chicago Theatre. For future events, we may park a few blocks away or find parking which is on the first few floors. I’m not young but I’m not old either and I think having a parking structure so close to the Chicago Theatre is ideal for many people, even if they have to wait in their car for 20 minutes before exiting.