Trib Says Mayor Got $10,000 In Donations Linked To Red Light Camera Bidder

The Chicago Tribune is alleging the wives of two executives for a company vying for the city’s red light camera program donated $5000 each to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s political campaign. According to More »

Writer Predicts No Other Cities Will Ever Privatize Their Parking Meters

NBC Chicago writer Edward McClelland last week boldly predicted that due to Chicago’s horrible experience with it’s infamous and hated parking meter lease deal, no city will ever privatize their parking meters More »

More Warnings, Few Tickets For Bicyclists Ignoring Traffic Laws

While the City of Chicago has seemingly stepped up its enforcement events on bike riders, as in recent past years, disproportionate numbers of warnings are being issued compared to actual traffic violations–at More »

 

Chicago Tonight Discusses Tribune’s Red Light Camera Story

Chicago Tonight’s Carol Marin has a long and interesting discussion with Tribune reporter David Kidwell, who spearheaded a year-long investigation into the problems with the city’s red light camera program and Northwestern University professor Joseph Schofer.

‘Smash & Grab’ Car Break-Ins Up In Some Chicago Neighborhoods

Graphic courtesy and copyright DNA Info Chicago.

Graphic courtesy and copyright DNA Info Chicago.

Never leave valuable stuff in your car where criminals can see it.

That’s the lesson DNA Info Chicago columnist Mark Konkol learned the hard way recently.

A thief smashed and grabbed his laptop, camera and other valuables leaving a hole in his window and shattered glass on his backseat for Konkol when he came back from having a drink with a friend in the River West neighborhood after work one evening.

So Konkol turned his misfortune into a reason to research the state of these type of vehicle break-ins in the city and found out some interesting stuff.

Tribune Reports Major Glitches With City’s Red Light Cameras

chicago-tribune logo4 million–give or take.

That’s how many tickets the Chicago Tribune spent the better part of a year analyzing while looking into Chicago’s red light camera program.

The hotly promoted story was the front page of Sunday’s newspaper and revealed problems with the nation’s largest red light camera program.

The story focuses on some odd, short term spikes in ticketing that occurred a few years ago at about a dozen intersections intersections in 2011 and 2012. Red light cameras that issued just a few tickets a day would seemingly and spontaneously erupt in ticket issuance and then after a few days or weeks, return to the normal violation volumes.

Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against City’s Former Red Light Camera Vendor

A sign on Irving Park Road warns drivers of the red light camera at at Kedzie.

A sign on Irving Park Road warns drivers of the red light camera at at Kedzie.

A Lincoln Park man filed a federal class action lawsuit Thursday seeking to recover the tens of millions of dollars Redflex Traffic Systems made while it was the city’s red light camera vendor from 2003 until early this year.

Matthew Falkner, who received a red light ticket for $100 in January 2013, alleges in the complaint that Redflex was only able to generate the over $100 million in revenue for the past 11 years because of an illegal bribery scheme.

In its allegations, the lawsuit lays out the story of a former employee of Redflex blowing the whistle on an improper relationship between the company and the Chicago Department of Transportation official in charge of the city’s RLC program. The complaint alleges it was the bribes given to the CDOT official which help secure the contract for Redflex.

That CDOT employee, John Bills, who has since left employment with the city, was recently indicted by the federal government for bribery in connection with Redflex. The U.S. Attorney’s office claims Bills received close to $600,000 in cash, gifts, cars, travel and a $177,000 condominium.

The class action lawsuit claims that 20-25% of each $100 fine paid for a red light camera violation went into Redflex’s pockets. Therefore, according to the court filing, due to the illegal nature of how the contract was awarded, these “ill-gotten gains” must be returned to the hundreds of thousands of drivers who paid their fines.

Read more at DNA Info.

IG Reports Bad Blood Between Police & Parking Enforcement

PEA back on the ticket beat

PEA back on the ticket beat

The cops and parking enforcement workers don’t seem to like each other according to a report released by the Chicago Inspector General Office.

A public screaming match between a Chicago police officer and a parking enforcement aide (PEA) has received the attention of the city’s IG, which after investigating, found what they call a widespread animosity between the two departments.

According to the report issued today there’s a perceived rivalry between the two departments.

“In general, there is a perception of a rivalry between PEAs and police officers; a perception shared by both sides and supported by online commentary,” the report said. “PEAs believe that CPD police officers are unnecessarily targeting PEAs for abuse. PEAs asserted that CPD officers are adversarial to PEAs in certain or all districts. Police officers, for their part, felt that PEAs unnecessarily saturate areas with enforcement.”

City Clerk Mendoza Discusses City Stickers On Chicago Tonight

On the eve of the last mad rush for Chicagoans to buy their Chicago city vehicle sticker, City Clerk Susana Mendoza sat down with Chicago Tonight’s Phil Ponce for a chat.

Mendoza talks about the new year round sticker sales system, explains to drivers who have not received their sticker in the mail yet on what to do, details on enforcement and how the the over $100 million collected from the wheel tax are used for the upkeep of city streets.

It’s an informative chat.

City Sticker Snafu: Computer Glitch Extends Deadline 24 Hours

Roscoe Village resident Chris Courtney puts his new 2015 city sticker on his windshield in the parking lot of a currency exchange after midnight Wednesday morning.

Roscoe Village resident Chris Courtney puts his new 2015 city sticker on his windshield in the parking lot of a currency exchange after midnight Wednesday morning.

Procrastinating motorists are catching a break with a 24-hour extension to purchase their Chicago city stickers due to a computer glitch affecting sales at area currency exchanges.

Just hours before the midnight deadline for vehicle owners to purchase Chicago city vehicle stickers, the computer network used by currency exchanges for sticker sales experienced problems causing significant delays to transaction times according to the City Clerk’s office.

This means drivers will have another day before the $60 late fee kicks in and before Chicago police, parking enforcement aides and other ticket writers begin issuing $200 tickets for non-compliance. City sticker enforcement and late fees will now go into effect will at 12:01 AM on Thursday, July 17th.

According to City Clerk’s spokesman Patrick Corcoran the issues occurred between 6 PM and 8:30 PM which resulted in longer lines and wait times.

“While this issue only spanned a two to three hour window of time exclusively at currency exchanges, we took quick action to extend the grace period for a day because we want to help people come into compliance,” said Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza in a statement. “We appreciate our customers’ patience as we worked through this glitch.”

Read more at DNA Info Chicago.

Happy %#@! Anniversary, 1st Parking Meter Installed July 16th

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a post reprinted from last years (and recycled from some earlier years as well). But, a nutty website like this focusing on parking issues certainly cannot ignore such a red letter day in history like today. Special thanks to our friend Sluggo for reminding us of this very special historical anniversary.

As you dig through your pockets for quarters to pay for your parking spot today, you have an additional reason to curse your parking meter.

Today, for urban motorists everywhere, this day could be labeled an anniversary of evil.

Because this day in 1935, the very first parking meter was installed at the corner of First Street and Robinson Avenue, in downtown Oklahoma City, OK.

Drivers Face Long Lines For Last Day Of City Sticker Sales

Drivers faced relatively short lines at City Hall this morning waiting to purchase their city sticker.

Drivers faced relatively short lines at City Hall this morning waiting to purchase their city sticker.

Procrastinating drivers have just hours to purchase their 2014-2015 Chicago city vehicle sticker before risking an expensive parking tickets and late fee.

July 15th is the last day of the grace period the city allows for drivers to buy and display their annual city sticker. Vehicle owners have until midnight to comply or risk a $200 parking ticket–for every day they don’t have a sticker.

“These tickets and fees are very steep,” said City Clerk Susana Mendoza. “Please, go on social media, call your friends and family and do what you can to tell people you know that they need to make sure they purchase and display the new 2014 vehicle sticker – it’s the pink one – on their windshield. If not, they could wake up Wednesday to some expensive tickets and late fees.”

State Street Bridge Closed All Week For Riverwalk Construction

A small flotilla of boats passes through the open State Street Bridge on the Chicago River, Chicago, Illinois. Photo credit: Jeremy Atherton, © 2006.

A small flotilla of boats passes through the open State Street Bridge on the Chicago River, Chicago, Illinois. Photo credit: Jeremy Atherton, © 2006.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Better late than never.

The State Street Bridge over the Chicago River downtown will be closed all this week for construction work to be completed on a walkway for the Chicago Riverwalk according to the Chicago Department of Transportation.

The bridge closed to traffic Monday, July 14th at 6 AM and will reopen on Monday, July 21st at 6 !M.

Both the Clark Street and Dearborn Street bridges have been closed in past weeks for the same project to allow for support to be installed for the new walkway.

The city is extending the current Riverwalk pedestrian path which will, when finished, stretch from Lake Shore Drive to Lake Street. The Riverwalk currently terminates at Franklin Street.

Photo credit: Jeremy Atherton.