theodp writes: "The jury's still out on whether Chicago taxpayers were taken to the cleaners by a rushed 75-year lease of the city's metered parking to a Morgan Stanley consortium. But most probably agree that the new shared Pay Boxes that replaced the city's old parking meters don't exactly live up to their 'Smart' billing. Here's what the redesigned 'user-friendly' parking solution looks like: 1. Park your car. 2. Walk up to 1/2 block to a Pay Box. 3. Wait in line to use it. 4. Use coins or credit cards to purchase parking time — up to $84 for 24-hours (add $50 if you run out of time). 5. Wait for a paper receipt to be printed. 6. Walk up to 1/2 block back to your car. 7. Place the receipt on your dashboard. 8. Head off to your destination, perhaps passing the Parking Box a second time. So before other cities suffer the same fate as Chicago, Portland and others, is there a 'smarter' way? Some suggest the ParkMagic In-Car Meter, but no new orders are being taken in Chicago. Any other ideas?"
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