Posts tagged " driving "

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How the Evolution of Connected Cars is Changing the Real Estate Tech Landscape

September 29th, 2016 Posted by Car, mobile app, Parking No Comment yet

Wouldn’t city life be better with smooth flowing traffic and non-crowded mass transit options? Are these ideal scenarios even possible in modern America, especially, considering urbanization is adding residents to most of our metropolises every year?

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Chicago Weekend Picks (Sept. 9-11 Edition)

September 8th, 2016 Posted by blue man group, Car, Chicago Events, Chicago Travel Tips, Community, Feature, mobile app, music, News & Events, Parking, ParqEx, promotions, sharing economy, she'd aquarium, startup, theater No Comment yet

 

Living in Chicago can be overwhelming. Actually, let’s rephrase that: living in Chicago IS overwhelming – a good kind of overwhelming. Why? Because there are so many things going on ALL THE TIME. This certainly isn’t a bad thing, but if you’re anything like me, your weekend is impacted by the phenomena known as FOMO (fear of missing out). If you’re new to the FOMO term, here’s a definition: a form of social anxiety – a compulsive concern that one might miss an opportunity or satisfying event, often aroused by posts seen on social media websites. You’ve probably felt this before, some more than others, but we can all agree that it’s a BAD feeling.

FOMO is never going to fully subside, but it can be treated and prevented. The folks here at ParqEx want to help you experience Chicago the way it should be experienced, without unnecessary amounts of FOMO. Plain and simple, we want to make your life better, easier, and more fun. That’s why we will be writing a post every week with fun things to do every weekend.

We’ll suggest events for you to attend and will make your life easier by helping you park nearby at affordable rates. Don’t miss another event just because you didn’t know it was happening.

Here are our suggestions for events you should seek out this weekend (9.9-9.11):

1.) Blue Man Group

 

Blue Man Group is pretty awesome. If you’ve never been, you must go. It combines technology, comedy, art, music, vaudeville and much more into one performance and it’s fun for the entire family.

Click here to see a little preview of the performance you’ll see, hear, feel, and if you’re close to the stage, possibly even touch!

Head to the Briar Street Theater this Friday, Saturday or Sunday to be a part of the action. For tickets, click here.

For parking, search “Briar Street Theater” on the ParqEx app or website!

Blue Man Group drums on buckets lined with paint, creating cool visuals.

2.) Amphibians at the Shedd Aquarium

 

Get the chance to see over 40 species of frogs, salamanders and caecilians at the Shedd Aquarium this weekend. Whether you’re trying to impress a date with your knowledge of the amphibious populations OR wanting to take the whole family to a fun exhibit, make sure you check out the giant 4 foot salamander; one of the largest in the world!

Find out more about the event and purchase tickets here!

And remember, you’re going to need to park. Find a spot on the ParqEx app or website!

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3.) The Annoyance Theatre and Bar – Comedy Club

 

Share some laughs and drink some drinks (don’t share your drinks) this weekend at The Annoyance Theatre. For 25 years, this theatre has been producing some of Chicago’s best comedy shows. The Annoyance uses improvisation to create new and original plays, musicals, sketch-comedy and more in a vibrant, uncensored atmosphere.

Learn more about events at The Annoyance Theatre Here!

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4.) Brick by Brick at the Museum of Science and Industry

 

This 7,000-square-foot exhibit, developed and created by MSI, will feature a spectacular collection of more than a dozen giant LEGO®-built structures of engineering marvels, including a 60-foot long Golden Gate Bridge, the International Space Station, St. Louis Gateway Arch, Hoover Dam, Roman Coliseum, and more, constructed by LEGO® Certified Professional and Chicago native, Adam Reed Tucker. These formations will be paired with hands-on building challenges that reinforce key principles of engineering, construction and architecture-and encourage creativity.

Throughout the exhibit, guests will learn how architects and engineers push the limits of design, materials and location to make the seemingly impossible, possible; witness how form follows function; learn how building beautifully uplifts us all; and explore Chicago’s impact as the birthplace of the skyscraper.

(Information courtesy of Choose Chicago)

Purchase your tickets for the exhibit here! 

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5.) World Music Festival Chicago

 

Love music? Hear the tunes of artists from all over the world at the World Music Festival this weekend! Enjoy global grooves by award-winning artists from around the world at the free, city-wide, multi-venue World Music Festival Chicago. This year’s festival will feature over 60 artists from 25 countries at 20 venues over eleven days!  (Choose Chicago)

Learn more about the 18th Annual World Music Festival Chicago here! 

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Thanks for reading! Your friends at ParqEx want you to have fun this weekend. Make sure you check out our available parking spots on the ParqEx App or on the website here. Rent a spot hourly, daily, weekly or monthly! AVOID FOMO.

 

 

 

ParqEx Named Best Tech Startup in Chicago

September 2nd, 2016 Posted by Chicago Events, mobile app, Parking, ParqEx No Comment yet

Tech in Motion has announced ParqEx as the “Best Technology Startup” in Chicago at the 2nd Annual Timmy Awards, which recognizes the top workplaces for technology professionals. The Chicago tech community chose ParqEx from a field of 10 finalists, including Rippleshot, UrbanBound, Crowdfind and runner-up Peanut Butter. ParqEx is a private parking marketplace that allows parking spot owners to rent their parking spaces daily, weekly or monthly. In doing so, parking spot owners can make some extra cash, while renters have access to more available, affordable parking. ParqEx is currently available for use in Chicago, but will be expanding to other cities including Milwaukee and Madison in the near future.

“With so many fantastic startups launching in our community, it was especially thrilling to announce ParqEx as Chicago’s Best Technology Startup,” said Tech in Motion organizer David Belsky, Regional Director of Jobspring Partners and Workbridge Associates Chicago. “The competition was intense, with more than 11,000 votes coming in. We plan to keep honoring top Chicago-area leaders like ParqEx as a part of our annual Timmy Awards.”

ParqEx is accessible via smartphone and the web and provides drivers with immediate access to an exclusive parking inventory. The ParqEx Access+ garage door opener services is the first of its kind and offers access to parking located behind doors and gates. With Access+, residents and approved visitors can open garage doors and gates from their smart phones, making more parking available to the community. ParqEx continues to grow

“The ParqEx team is honored to receive this award and is looking forward to helping more and more people not only find affordable parking, but help parking spot owners make some extra money,” ParqEx CEO, Vivek Mehra said, “Our company will solve the parking crisis that impacts many communities by making parking easier, affordable and more readily available.”

The Timmy Awards are presented throughout the year in cities across North America, including Boston, San Francisco and Toronto. Previous winners have included innovators such as Jet.com, LearnVest, Venmo, Trip Advisor, Gilt, Constant Contact, Casper and Instacart. The next Timmy Awards ceremonies are the Silicon Valley’s Inaugural Timmy Awards in September and Orange County & San Diego’s 2nd Annual Timmy Awards in October. Please visit techinmotionevents.com/awards for more information.

About ParqEx

Founded in 2014 by Vivek Mehra, ParqEx is a community-based platform that allows parking spot owners to rent their parking spots on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Download the app on the App Store or Google Play, or call (855) PARQEX-1 for more information.

About Tech in Motion Events

Tech in Motion is an international events series that brings local tech community professionals together to connect, learn, and innovate. What started as a collaborative project between IT recruiting firms Jobspring Partners and Workbridge Associates in 2011, grew into an organization of over 65,000 members across 11 chapters in North America including Boston, Dallas, New York, Philadelphia, DC, Chicago, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, LA, Orange County and Toronto. Please visit www.techinmotionevents.com for more information about our notable speakers, sponsors and events.

ParqEx: Labor Day Weekend Getaways from Chicago

Labor Day Weekend Getaways from Chicago

August 25th, 2016 Posted by Car, Chicago Travel Tips, Parking, ParqEx No Comment yet

Summer’s almost over, so it’s time to start thinking about planning one last getaway over Labor Day weekend. Whether you are looking for scenic destination close to Chicago, or one last dip in the ocean, we’ve got your Labor Day weekend getaway planning covered — from the food to the hotels to the airport parking.

ParqEx: Labor Day Weekend Getaways from Chicago

Close to Chicago

Starved Rock State Park

About 100 southwest of Chicago

At Starved Rock State Park flat Illinois is cleaved into canyons, cliffs and waterfalls.

To Do: Take a guided or independent hike into the 18 scenic canyons and relax at one of the 14 waterfalls. Keep a look out for the local wildlife including eagles, badgers, coyotes and many other species. If you are looking for other hiking options, check out the 5 miles of canyon trails at nearby Matthiessen State Park.

Stay: The Starved Rock Lodge was completed in the 1930s as a Civilian Conservation Core project. The CCC employed young men during the height of the Great Depression and put them to work on projects in parks across the country. The lodge maintains a rustic charm and lets you go from your room to the trail in a matter of seconds.

Eat: The Lodge has a legendary restaurant, so plan to have at least one meal there. For a breakfast or lunch, check out Nonie’s Bakery and Cafe. They bake their own bread, so you must try their famous french toast! If you are looking for a dinner with a little more kick, head to Cajun Connection for the best Louisiana cooking north of the Mason-Dixon.

Getaways Outside Illinois

Boston, MA and the New England Coast

Fly: Southwest has direct, round-trip flights (Depart Friday, September 2nd and Return Monday, September 5th) from Midway starting at $280.

Park: Skip the long-term parking at the airport and check out the Chicago parking start up ParqEx. ParqEx lets you easily find and plan parking where and when you need it at affordable rates. Download the app here to get started.

If you Stay in Boston

To Do: Maximize your time in Boston by walking the Freedom Trail. The Trail hits all the major points of interest including the Boston Common, the Old State House, the Old North Church, Bunker Hill and the USS Constitution. Boston is famous for being the birthplace of the craft beer movement and still has a vibrant beer scene. Check out where it all started by taking a free tour of the Sam Adams Brewery. The tour includes free samples of a number of their seasonal and specialty variety beers.

Stay: The Inn at St. Botolph is located in Boston’s historic South End and is just steps away from the Prudential Center T station. The Inn is an old brownstone mansion that’s been converted into a hip boutique hotel. Rooms start at $269 per night.

Eat: Island Creek Oyster Bar serves the freshest seafood in Boston. They have their own oyster bed in nearby Duxbury and offer a full selection of raw bar and dinner items. For breakfast, lunch, desert, or an anytime sweet, check out one of the three locations of Flour Bakery and Cafe.

If you Want to Hit the Coast

To Do: Head north of Boston to the beautiful, historic towns of the North Shore. Crane Beach in Ipswich, Massachusetts is a gorgeous, sandy stretch of shoreline on the historic Crane Estate. After you’ve gotten your fill of the waves, hike up to the breathtaking estate grounds. Weather not cooperating for a beach day? The picturesque nearby town of Essex is famous for its carefully curated antique shops.

Stay: The Ipswich Inn Bed and Breakfast offers elegant rooms and a tasty breakfast in a gorgeously restored 150-year old house in historic Ipswich, MA. Rooms start at $135 per night.

Eat: A visit to the Essex area isn’t complete without stopping by Woodman’s of Essex for their fried local oysters and fresh boiled lobster. Had your fill of seafood? Bunz Burgers are famous for not only their juicy burgers but stringer fries with a plethora of toppings.

Heading out somewhere else this Labor Day weekend? Need long-term parking while you are gone? Contact us about finding parking that fits your needs.

ParqEx: Self-Driving Cars: What You Need to Know

Self-Driving Cars: What You Need to Know

June 23rd, 2016 Posted by Community, Parking, Safety No Comment yet

Believe it or not, self-driving cars may not only be the wave of the future, they may become very prominent in our society very soon. You may or may not have heard about this movement. For some reason, it hasn’t received very much publicity, but there are a number of companies working on the concept. You may even find yourself in a self-driving car in the next decade. Here are a few things you might want to know about the world of self-driving cars.

ParqEx: Self-Driving Cars: What You Need to KnowSafety

The first thing that many people want to know about self-driving cars is how safe they are. You may be surprised to hear that self-driving cars are, at least in theory, much safer than cars driven by humans. They’re still in development of course, but the reality is that computers can accept input, respond, and multitask much more quickly and efficiently than humans can, even on their best days. While humans can be very unpredictable, computers tend to be very predictable, to both humans and other computers.

Although Google, one of the leading researchers in the world of self-driving cars, has had a number of autonomous cars on the road for many years, they have only recorded a few accidents, and in most cases, the autonomous car was not at fault. Although many people have a hard time believing it at first, self-driving cars may very well make the roads considerably safer.

Cost

Currently, self-driving cars are very expensive. In fact, one of these vehicles can cost as much as several hundred thousand dollars. This is out of most people’s price range, of course. The high price of one of these cars is due to the expense of the many sensors and systems that are required for safe operation. In addition to a long list of safety sensors, the cars generally use cameras, a high-quality GPS system, and software to keep everything running. However, this price is expected to come down considerably in the future. In fact, within the next decade or two, the entire automation system may only add a few thousand dollars to the price of a vehicle.

Uses

So what are all of these autonomous vehicles going to be used for? Of course, the thing most people think of first is human transportation. Need to go to the store or get your kids to soccer practice? Just jump in and it’ll get you there. There are a number of other possibilities though. For example, Ridesharing companies are already partnering with autonomous car manufacturers with the intention of eliminating the need for drivers. Many companies are also considering this technology for deliveries, both on a small-scale, such as delivering your lunch, and on a large-scale, for example, tractor-trailer delivery companies.

Legal aspects

Unfortunately, there are not a lot of autonomous cars on the road yet. This is partially due to a lack of acceptance and trust, as well as a lack of knowledge, from the general public, but it is also because of the fact that many states have not legalized the use of these vehicles yet. On the other hand, you may be surprised to know that several states have decided to allow this new technology. A handful of states have already enacted laws that make self-driving cars legal, and many other states only have vaguely written legislature that does not allow or disallow the technology.

Future

What’s next with self-driving cars? According to some predictions, this technology may be commonplace by 2020 or a little after. Numerous companies are working on this, in addition to Google. Some of these companies include GM, Ford, Tesla, and Audi. Would you ride in a car that drives itself?

Looking for more information about innovative transportation technology? Google gives lots of good information about their program here, and this article talks about the growth of the self-driving car industry that is expected by 2020. Feel free to contact us with any other questions.

ParqEx: How to Prepare Your Car for April Showers

How to Prepare Your Car for April Showers

April 21st, 2016 Posted by Car, Chicago Travel Tips, Community, mobile app, Parking, ParqEx No Comment yet

Now that Spring has (hopefully!) sprung, its time to think about putting away the heavy coats and snow pants and start getting ready for vacations and warm, sunny weather.

ParqEx: How to Prepare Your Car for April Showers

Is your car ready though? In honor of April being National Car Care Month, here is a short, but important (and often overlooked) check list to make sure your ride is warm-weather-ready.

Tires. If you opted to put snow tires on your car in anticipation of brutal winter storms, it’s time for those babies to come off the car. Why not just leave them on all year, you ask? Because those tires are made specifically to handle colder temperatures, and their tread was designed to bite into snow and ice to maintain your car’s traction. In warmer months, these tires will wear out much faster, leaving them with a short life span. In the long run, it will cost you more out of pocket to replace snow tires that have been used all Spring and Summer long. This goes for both the studded and studless varieties of snow tire.

Post-Winter Alignment: Chances are good that your winter driving included being out during several of those delightfully windy days. When winds are high, it’s natural to fight against the pull of nature via the steering wheel. After time, this necessary over-correcting causes the car’s alignment to change. It can be unnoticeable at first, but eventually you’ll notice that it’s pulling heavily to the right or left. This mean that your front end could be significantly out of whack. Have a trusted mechanic check your vehicle’s alignment and fix it if needed.

That leads us to shocks and struts. Potholes and cars are natural “enemies” and if you’ve rolled over a few of those, then your mechanic should check out your shocks and struts to ensure that they don’t need any parts replaced. They can usually check on this at the same time they are checking your alignment.

Brakes: During the winter of 2015, you probably found yourself using your brakes more than usual, given the slick conditions. This equals more wear and tear on the brake pads or discs. A professional mechanic should check out brakes, pads, and the rotors to make sure they are still in good working order. Having brake pads wear out on you can cause expensive repairs down the road (no pun intended), especially if you end up with metal-on-metal and damage the rotors.

Wash your ride. Most places use salt or sand on the roads to help with traction. There is a 100% chance that if your area uses salt or sand, then it has caked itself along the rocker panels and undercarriage of your car. It’s a good idea to give your four-wheeled baby a good bath at the end of Winter to make sure that salt doesn’t corrode the metal, and to clear out the caked sediments. Running your vehicle through a trusted car wash should do the trick.

While you’re at it, vacuum your floor mats and trunk space as well. They are probably loaded with road salt and sand as well from your shoes or snow boots. If you have a light-weight car, you may have sand bags in the trunk as well, and it’s time to find them a home until you need them again. A little Spring cleaning can go a long way in keeping your vehicle healthy and on the road for years and years. Regular service maintenance, as well as this handy post winter check list will ensure that your ride is ready for the warm months, whether you’re hitting the cruising scene or taking a road trip to ring in the Spring.

ParqEx: The 3 Chicago Neighborhoods to Visit this Spring

The 3 Chicago Neighborhoods to Visit this Spring

March 17th, 2016 Posted by Car, Chicago Travel Tips, Parking, ParqEx No Comment yet

Are you thinking about making a trip to the Windy City? Chicago is one of the largest cities in the United States and is known for its fine restaurants, art museums and bold architecture. Here are some fun and interesting attractions in three Chicago neighborhoods to visit this spring along with our suggestions on how to find great downtown parking.

ParqEx: The 3 Chicago Neighborhoods to Visit this Spring

West Loop

The West Loop used to be home to the Oprah Winfrey studios and is now considered one of the hottest neighborhoods in the city. Some of the best restaurants, retail shops and bars are located in this section of Chicago. Union Station, Randolph Street Market Festival and the Chicago French Market are three famous attractions you can visit in this neighborhood.

Union Station

Many people imagine Union Station when they think of Chicago. This classic landmark opened in 1925 as a replacement for an 1881 train station. While you explore the station, take your time and enjoy the grand ballroom, retail stores and fine restaurants.

Randolph Street Market Festival 

You can catch the Randolph Street Market Festival from May until September. The festival is both indoor and outdoors and features more than 200 local vendors selling vintage clothing, furniture and other items. You can also bring your own antiques to be appraised.

Chicago French Market 

The Chicago French Market is open year-round to tourists and locals. Vendors sell specialty food items from France and other countries in Europe. Explore different cultures as you browse through local goods and other gifts.

We know finding Chicago parking spots can be a headache, so feel free to use our services when you are traveling through the West Loop.

South Loop

The South Loop, bordered by Lake Michigan and the Chicago River, is home to the historic Shedd Acquarium and world famous museums. The neighborhood is only a short walk from the downtown.

Adler Planetarium

The museum was founded in 1930 by Max Adler and is dedicated to the study of astrophysics and astronomy. Their exhibits include Our Solar System, Mission Moon and high resolution virtual-reality attractions among others.

Field Museum

This world famous natural history museum covers more than 300,000 square feet and boasts over 30 permanent exhibitions. Established in 1893, over two million people visit the Field Museum each year.

Shedd Aquarium

The Shedd Aquarium opened in 1930 and is located by the Field Museum and Adler Planetarium. The 76-year-old public aquarium institution houses over 32,000 animals and was previously considered one of the largest indoor aquariums in the world.

If you want to see these amazing attractions in The South Loop and need to find some discount parking spots, we can help you.

Lakeview

Lakeview is one of the most populated areas in Chicago. Located on the North Side, the neighborhood is divided into many different sections, including Wrigleyville, West Lakeview and Lakeview East.

South Lakeview Park

If you have kids and you are visiting Lakeview, you should consider seeing South Lakeview Park. The playground has large structures, swings, and picnic tables. There is also a gazebo and basketball court in the park.

Maison Rouge Gallery

The Maison Rouge Gallery was founded in 2003 and features works from established and emerging artists in Chicago. Regardless if you are an artist yourself or just appreciate the arts, you will enjoy browsing this gallery and learning about each fascinating collection.

If you live in any of these neighborhoods and would like to learn more about how you can rent your parking spot to make extra money or want to simply find a place to park that is closer to your destination, please contact us today by email or phone at (855) PARQEX-1.

ParqEx: 5 Commuting Tips to Make Your Mornings Easier

5 Commuting Tips to Make Your Mornings Easier

February 11th, 2016 Posted by Car, Chicago Travel Tips, mobile app, Parking, ParqEx, Safety No Comment yet

Who doesn’t wish their morning commute was easier? Even those who have a blissful 15 minute or less commute can likely find a thing or two they’d like to change about it.

We see your morning commute as being a window of opportunity — even if you love your commute, you may find something here to help make your mornings even smoother. Here are 5 commuting tips to make your mornings easier.

ParqEx: 5 Commuting Tips to Make Your Mornings Easier

  1. Start Your Morning the Night Before. Both men and women take the same amount of time to get ready in the mornings — about 52% clock in between 10 and 30 minutes; with another 20-25% saying it takes more than 30. Think of all the things you could be doing otherwise — morning yoga, a run, reading your favorite web comics, or sleeping (our favorite option). While there are certainly some things you can’t do the night before like shave, put on makeup, or shower (we know — some of you refuse to do it the night before), there are things you can do — like pack your lunch, lay out clothes, and get your briefcase or purse ready to go.
  2. Treat Yourself to a Tasty Beverage. Part of what makes our morning commutes crummy is that they’re boring. We get in the car, we drive the same route, we park, we go to work. Done. Spice up your mornings with some delicious beverages that can make your drive a little tastier! You can prep healthy and filling smoothies the night before by freezing ingredients in a blender; make a mini coffee bar with your favorite syrups or add-ons, or try scrounging for some new tea flavors to try on your commute.
  3. Guarantee Your Parking with ParqEx. If you’re lucky enough to have your name in big corporate letters on a metal sign, please skip to point 4. All others, read on! We know what a headache it can be to have to haggle for parking once you arrive at your destination — even worse are the mornings when you’re running late and can’t seem to find a single place to park. Cut down on all the hassle by finding and reserving the best spot using ParqEx, and never give your boss that lame parking excuse again.
  4. Level Up Your Entertainment. The news tends to be depressing, talk radio is typically mind-numbing, and there’s a good chance you’ll be hearing those Top 40 songs for the rest of the day in either the breakroom or from your cube mates. Why not get yourself some better audio entertainment for your ride? Podcasts, books on tape, and even webinars are all fantastic ways to inject a little education into your morning — here are some that are far from boring, and are genuinely fun to listen to.
  5. Get a Sidekick. It may seem like a 90s sitcom trope, but carpooling can actually be pretty great. You can typically save a lot on both car maintenance and gas — and you may even land yourself some new friends. Carpooling can be a great way to practice your professional social interaction too, letting you get a leg-up in the way you talk with your coworkers — and when was the last time you saw “Communication skills not needed” on a job listing?

We’d love to hear from you! Contact us if you’d like to learn more about how you can earn money through your parking spot, and how the sharing economy is making waves for people like you.

ParqEx: 5 Tips for Safe Winter Driving and Parking in Chicago

5 Tips for Safe Winter Driving and Parking in Chicago

January 28th, 2016 Posted by Car, Chicago Travel Tips, mobile app, Parking, ParqEx, sharing economy No Comment yet

Chicago may be the only city in the snow belt where residents use lawn chairs to hold parking spaces. As the city’s administrators crack down on this time-honored practice, its residents will need new techniques to find and hold parking spots. Driving and parking when the snow and sleet begins to accumulate is never easy in Chicago or anywhere else, and everyone can benefit from the top five tips for safe winter driving and parking in Chicago.

ParqEx: 5 Tips for Safe Winter Driving and Parking in Chicago

1. Your SUV is not impervious to snow and ice. You will feel more comfortable and safe in a large SUV or other large vehicle when you are driving in the snow, but many rear-drive vehicles have poor traction because most of their weight is distributed over the front axles, where the engine is located. If your vehicle is equipped with a 4-wheel or all-wheel drive system, use it to optimize your safety.

2. If you start to skid, turn your wheels counter to the direction of the skid. You probably heard this in driver’s ed, but you also probably never had a chance to practice it. The advice may be counter-intuitive, but if you do start to skid, do not hit the breaks. Instead, take your foot off the gas slowly and turn the wheel so your front wheels re-align themselves with the road. The car will slow gradually and straighten itself, allowing you to recover from the skid.

3. If you get stuck, rock the car back and forth and keep your front wheels straight. Most people know to rock the car, but they try to turn out of a snow pile at the same time as they rock the car. The car will free itself more readily if it goes straight ahead without trying to turn.

4. Don’t be a parking hog. When you do find a parking spot in the snow, use only one spot. Respect the other drivers’ desire to find their own parking spots. If you take two spots in order to leave yourself room to drive away, you will be lucky if the worst consequence is a nasty note on your windshield.

5. Use new technology to locate parking spots before you head out. New apps from companies like ParqEx will provide the convenience and security of available  parking in your desired location before you arrive. You can use the ParqEx app to reserve your spot before you leave your home, reducing at least one element of the stress you will experience when you head out into the Chicago winter.

Please contact us for additional tips on driving and parking in Chicago during the winter, and for more information on how our ParqEx app can help you find winter parking in Chicago.

How Smart Tech is Changing Urban Driving and Parking for the Better

How Smart Tech is Changing Urban Driving and Parking for the Better

September 24th, 2015 Posted by mobile app, Parking, ParqEx, sharing economy No Comment yet

When you live in Chicago, the third largest city in the country with close to 3 million people — and when your city attracts 40 million visitors annually — it’s not surprising that parking can be a huge challenge (or hugely expensive). However, innovations in technology — particularly in mobile apps and the Internet of Things — are working to make driving and parking in cities like Chicago less of a nightmare.

A Primer on IoT: Why It Is Such a Big Deal

The premise behind the Internet of Things is simple: take sensors and all of the latest technology we use to communicate (WIFI, BlueTooth, RFID tags, beacons, apps, etc.) and embed them in the common objects of daily life. Not only do these common objects gain new functionality, but they add new streams of data that can be used to make our environments smarter.

Although the concept is quick to grasp, the application of it — i.e. seeing all of its potential uses — is what society is just beginning to explore. Some say we’re at the first flickers of a massive wildfire of tech change. As this article from Harvard researcher Laura Adler notes, IoT use, as measured by IoT connections, is predicted to increase four-fold by 2020.

Smarter Cars and Cities Means Smarter (and Happier) Drivers

One simple but exciting use of IoT is between traffic lights and drivers. Technology now exists, and is actively being employed, in which a traffic light sends a signal to an app in a driver’s phone and alerts him or her when it is about to turn green. Cities are already applying this tech to stop the traffic delays that occur because distracted drivers aren’t noticing the green light.

Eventually, such an alert system will not require an app on the person’s phone. Traffic lights, thanks to smart car technology, will be able to communicate directly with the car, and the car will send the alert when the light is about to change.

The V2V Revolution

V2V (Vehicle-to-Vehicle) smart technology, which allows cars to communicate with each other in real-time using sensors and computers, is just beginning to spread. GM, for example, has already completed a fleet of Cadillacs that are fully functioning V2V. This means:

  • When you’re about to change lanes, the car sweeps the road nearby with its sensors, and if it detects a car in your blind spot an alarm sounds and your seat buzzes so that you do not steer into the car.
  • The car prevents a rear-end collision by analyzing your speed and using sensors to detect cars on the road in front of you. If it sees that you’re about to rear-end a car, it sounds an alarm and automatically (and smoothly) applies the brake to avoid the collision.
  • When you’re about to change lanes, the car uses its sensors to see if any other cars are coming up fast in the lane next to you and alerts you so that you don’t steer into the speeding car.

GM has noted that there are 800,000 blind-spot accidents each year, and V2V’s potentially enormous boost to driver safety has inspired the Department of Transportation, as Wired noted, to make V2V tech mandatory for all cars. It has already begun working with car manufacturers to realize the dream.

Can I Really Use an App to Reserve a Private Parking Space (or Rent How Smart Tech is Changing Urban Driving and Parking for the BetterYour Space for Extra Income) in Chicago? Absolutely.

Some IoT applications have begun using sensors to alert drivers when a parking space in the city has opened up. The goal is to make the parking spot-hunting process more efficient. Although it helps drivers know where to find open parking spots, it doesn’t always guarantee a parking spot. Sure, you can track the availability of the spot, but at the last second just before you arrive there, someone else could take it.

The sensor, in other words, doesn’t hold the spot for you. IoT has its limits, and this is where well-developed apps with large networks of users can take over and drastically reduce the hassle of hunting for a parking spot in Chicago.

The app ParqEx, for example, locates privately owned parking spots in the city and uses ParqEx’s large network of users to allow you to reserve an ideal parking spot in advance and be as specific as month, week, day, or hour. Or you can use the app to rent out your parking space. That’s right, you can become the landlord of a parking spot and earn extra income.

If you love technology innovation as much as we do, especially when it makes your travel experience in Chicago easier, contact us to learn more about Parqex.

How the Sharing Economy Found Parking

September 10th, 2015 Posted by Community, Feature, mobile app, Parking, ParqEx, sharing economy No Comment yet

If you had to choose to between paying full price for a product or to paying less for a similar product rented from a stranger on the Internet, which would you take? That’s the concept driving the push for the sharing economy.

The sharing economy includes services like Airbnb, Uber, and Lyft, and is turning many traditional industries on their heads. In New York City, the value of taxi medallions are dropping rapidly and taxi owners are protesting Uber’s growing market. The impact Uber and its competitor, Lyft, have are so big that the city is launching a rival app called Arro that functions similar to popular ride sharing apps only it’s strictly for NYC taxi cabs.

Taxi alternatives aren’t the only businesses disrupting traditional industries with the sharing economy. Airbnb is another key player in the “gig economy.” Airbnb is a rapidly growing service that turns spare bedrooms into hotel rooms. The service is so popular it just received $1.5 billion in funding to pursue growth in China.How the Sharing Economy Found Parking

What is driving the growth behind the sharing economy? Despite being around for several years now, websites like TaskRabbit and Elance haven’t seen nearly the growth that services like Uber and Airbnb are experiencing now. One explanation for why these services are so popular is their ability to rent out items that would otherwise go unused. It’s a passive way to make extra money.

Businesses in the sharing economy space seem to be catering to the college-aged crowd. Who other than a millennial would be willing to jump in a car with a stranger and stay overnight in another stranger’s spare room? Using the sharing economy is becoming part of everyday life for college students.

Another way college students are capitalizing on the sharing economy is with parking spaces. In Chicago, where some parking spots have a monthly rate similar to that of a small studio apartment, Parqex is making a big splash.

For owners, the app allows people with spare parking spaces the opportunity to make money with their unused spaces. The renting process is fairly quick and simple. Users enter the address of the available spot, upload a picture or two of the space, choose availability times, and then set the rate. Parqex’s system is flexible enough to allow people who commute away from the city during the day to rent out their spots to students who coming in to the city.

For renters, commuting to the colleges and universities can be a hassle but finding a parking spot just got easier. After you download the app, enter the address of your school to find which parking spots are available nearby. The app is also flexible for people looking to rent. Rather than committing to a parking spot for a month at a time, Parqex lets you rent the spot only for the time you need. It’s similar to paying for metered parking spot only now you know the spot will be there.

Sharing parking spaces is a logical move for the sharing economy. Now, not only can Uber driving millennials rent out their spare room, they can also rent out their parking spot while they’re working.

One of the more interesting aspects of the sharing economy is how everyday people who drive for Uber and rent out with Airbnb find new ways to keep customer interested in their services. Uber drivers are known to offer bottled water, maybe a snack, and always the aux cord to their passengers. Some drivers even install fun lighting systems for the nighttime crowd. On Airbnb, people renting out their spare room will go to extra lengths to make sure the stay is comfortable. Airbnb rooms are often redecorated and furnished with wall art and mini fridges to attract visitors. Some Airbnb locations even offer free breakfast.

When this attitude and spunk reaches the parking space sharing economy, can we expect fancy parking spot lighting and windshield washer fluid top-offs? Who’s to say.

For more information about how Parqex works, contact us today.

Protect Your Car wih ParqEx

Protect Your Car (from People Who Can’t Park)

January 21st, 2015 Posted by Car, Garage, Parking, Safety No Comment yet

You could be the best driver in the world, but that won’t always keep your car safe. Unfortunately, there are plenty of people out there who don’t have your vehicle’s best interests at heart, and they could very easily leave your car in worse shape than you found it. However, there’s still hope for you and your vehicle — that’s why we at ParqEx are here to help. Here are a few tips on how to Protect Your Car (from People Who Can’t Park)

• Park in a garage. Parking inside a garage is one of the best ways to keep your car safe from fellow drivers. If you don’t have your own garage, you can very easily rent one of these private spots for a very reasonable price on ParqEx. Hosts will love making a few extra bucks while you love knowing your car is safe from harm and crazy drivers.

• Park in a private area. Take your car to a secluded area to prevent others from tapping into your bumper. This doesn’t mean you’re relegated to the woods, though; there are plenty of private, controlled access spots you can rent, even in big cities like Chicago. ParqEx offers dozens of listings to choose from as you find the best one for you.

• Park during the day. The day time tends to lead to more crowded parking, but it’s also when folks feel more accountable. In the light of day, people are more likely to be careful and watch what they’re doing — even if it’s only because other people can see them. Make sure you’ve got a spot in the day time by using ParqEx and reserving it early.

Commit these tips to heart. With a little luck and help from us, you (and your car) will stay in tip top shape!

Travel these Holidays Without the Headache with PARQEX.COM

Travel these Holidays Without the Headache

January 21st, 2015 Posted by Chicago Travel Tips, Holidays, Parking No Comment yet

The holidays are supposed to be a time of joy and cheer. So why is traffic and parking always such a nightmare? It seems like people’s inner Grinch decides to come out, and we’re left with “coal,” like being cut off on the road, getting honked at, and feeling like driving is the worst thing in the world (after these other folks on the road, that is).

Well, it may surprise you to know this, but there are ways to avoid these car-related holiday blues. You’ll be able to forget the tragedy that is traffic issues and focus on what’s really important around this time of year!

Travel these Holidays Without the Headache. Here’s what you can do:

• Avoid traveling the day before. Guess what? That’s what everyone is doing. Make your drive easier and your stress levels lower by traveling two days before, if possible. This gets you off the road before most people have even gotten on it, making for a breezy trip.

• Travel on the holiday. Couldn’t get off of work two days before the holiday? That’s okay. Actual travel on a holiday is also super simple. Make sure you get an early start, and you can be sure you’ll spend most of your time with your family and friends — not the folks on the parkway.

• Drive back on Sunday. People like to finish up their long weekends at home to rest up, which makes traffic substantially worse on Saturday. By choosing to go back Sunday, you get the most out of your time off (including less time on the road).

As for your holiday parking woes, you can trust ParqEx to find you a great spot. If you want something protected from snow, ice or just crazy holiday drivers, we make it easy for you to find something covered and safe from your surroundings. And you don’t have to worry about breaking into your gift giving budget either; our prices are set by your fellow community members, so they’re reasonable and affordable. City driving and parking has never been so simple, especially in those frosty, windy cities like NYC and Chicago. So whether you need a spot for the long holiday weekend or just for a few hours of last-minute shopping, we’ve got a spot that’ll work for you — that’s our gift to you!

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