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Changes to Crystal Lake Downtown Commuter Parking

Post Date:02/10/2017 8:30 AM


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1. Phase-out of reloadable parking cards
2. Replacement of Pay-by-Phone mobile app
3. Introduction of six-month pre-paid parking passes

As part of its software lifecycle, the software for the parking pay stations is now end-of-life, meaning the manufacturer no longer provides software fixes to the existing software thereby requiring the software to be updated. As part of the software upgrade, the parking pay stations will no longer be able to be used to reload parking cards effective March 1st. The only way to reload the parking cards will be to use the reload station located inside the Metra station adjacent to the ATM. Because of the limited availability of reload options and difficulty in continuing to purchase the proprietary parking cards, the reloadable parking cards are being phased-out.

Parking cards will work to pay for daily fee parking through December 31, 2017. Payment for parking beginning January 1, 2018 would occur either through cash, credit card, or debit card at the pay station, through the new mobile app, “Passport”, or by purchasing a pre-paid parking pass.

Effective March 1, 2017, Passport will be replacing Parkmobile as the new pay-by-phone mobile app. With the Passport app, commuters can create an account that loads funds using an online “wallet” feature linked to their debit or credit card. A minimum of $15 and maximum of $75 can be loaded to the online wallet. An automatic replenish feature, similar to the Illinois Tollway Authority's iPass program, is available to users. Commuters using the app will continue to pay the normal rates of $1.50 plus a convenience fee by Passport per transaction. The per transaction fee is being reduced from $0.37 to $0.32.

The Passport parking app is free to download from iPhone App Store and Android Google Play. Signage will be displayed at the parking shelters to instruct users how to download and get started with the app.

What is it?

A hangtag that exempts commuters from having to pay for parking by the day at the pay stations at the Downtown commuter parking lots.

Where can I park with the pre-paid parking pass?
Any numbered parking space in the downtown Crystal Lake commuter parking lots.

Does it reserve or guarantee a parking space?
NO. It only exempts you from having to pay the daily fee at the pay station while you are parked in any of the downtown commuter parking lots. It does not reserve a parking space for you, and it does not guarantee parking space availability.

Why does it not reserve or guarantee a parking space for me?
The downtown commuter parking lots are restricted by an agreement with Metra to be only first-come, first-serve parking. Any commuter may park in any space within any of the commuter parking lots. Pre-paid parking pass holders share the commuter parking lots with those who pay by the day. The pre-paid parking pass essentially serves as pre-payment for your space, while you are in it. It is not a reserved parking space.

Is the parking pass honored anywhere else if I cannot find a space?
NO. The pre-paid parking pass can only be used at any of the numbered parking space in the downtown Crystal Lake commuter parking lots. It does not work at the Pingree Road train station. The downtown Crystal Lake commuter parking lots are managed and maintained by the City of Crystal Lake through agreements with Metra and the Union Pacific Railroad. The Pingree Road commuter parking lot is owned and managed by Metra, whereas, other commuter parking lots are managed by either Metra or the municipality in which they are located. The downtown Crystal Lake commuter parking lot pre-paid parking pass is a service of the City of Crystal Lake.

Do I have to move my car, or can I leave it parked for several days?
Multi-day and overnight parking is only available in two rows at the Ellsworth Parking lot, located at Ellsworth Street and Beardsley Street. Up to five days of parking is available at this parking lot as long as a current pre-paid parking pass is properly displayed or paid through the pay stations or mobile app.

How much does a pre-paid parking pass cost?
Pre-paid parking passes are valid for six months and cost $150 which is a discount over the price of current daily parking rates. At twenty business days per month, over the course of six months, the daily cost for parking is just $1.25. The effective dates of the pre-paid parking passes are July 1st through December 31st, and January 1st through June 30th. Pre-paid parking passes can also be purchased anytime within the valid period at a pro-rated price.

How do I purchase a pre-paid parking pass?
Crystal Lake residents can purchase their pre-paid parking pass at the same time they purchase their Crystal Lake vehicle stickers. Vehicle sticker applications are mailed around June 1st and will include an area on the application for purchasing the pre-paid parking pass in addition to City vehicle stickers. Those without a City vehicle sticker can purchase their pre-paid parking pass by completing an application, available at, starting on June 1st. Renewal notices will be sent to active pre-paid parking pass holders 30 days prior to expiration.

Do I have to purchase a pre-paid parking pass?
No. Pre-paid parking passes are being offered as a convenience for regular commuters. Daily fee parking is still available by using the pay stations or by using Passport, the City’s Pay-by-Phone app.

Can I return my pre-paid parking pass and get a refund?
Yes. Pre-paid parking passes can be refunded at a pro-rated amount. Please contact the Crystal Lake Finance Department at 815-459-2020 to arrange for the pre-paid parking pass to be returned. Once returned, a check will be mailed to you in the pro-rated amount.

What if my pre-paid parking pass is lost or stolen?
There are no refunds for lost or stolen pre-paid parking passes. Please treat the passes like cash.

Is there a grace period when my pre-paid parking pass expires?

NO. There is no grace period. Your parking pass is not considered valid before 12:00am (midnight) on the first day of July (or January), nor after 11:59pm (midnight) on the last day of December (or June).

What happens if I forget to display my pre-paid parking pass or I don’t display it properly?

Pre-paid passes must be displayed from your rearview mirror. If you forget to display your pre-paid parking pass, you may receive a parking citation every day you are parked without displaying a valid pre-paid parking pass, unless the parking space you are in is paid for at the daily fee pay stations. If this happens—as a courtesy—you may have one citation waived on a one-time-only basis, if that has not been done for you in the past for that or any other reason. Otherwise, you are responsible for either paying or appealing the citation. It is your responsibility to properly display the pre-paid parking pass.

For questions regarding the pre-paid parking pass, please call the City of Crystal Lake Finance Department at 815-459-2020.
For questions regarding parking enforcement, please call the City of Crystal Lake Police Department at 815-356-3620.