City Yellow Lights Too Short, Judge Says Before Tossing Red Light Tickets

Some of Chicago’s yellow lights are too short, according to an administrative law judge who said he’s thrown out “60 to 70 percent” of red light camera tickets he’s come across recently More »

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 »

 

The Geek Guests On WGN Radio 720 AM Thursday Night

Mike Stephen sits atop his nemesis--the fire hydrant.

Mike Stephen sits atop his parking ticket nemesis–the fire hydrant.

Big news.

Mike Stephen, the handsome and affable host of Outside the Loop Radio is moving the show to WGN Radio 720 AM starting Saturday October 4th. His show will run from 6 AM to 7 AM.

But on Thursday night, Stephen is filling in for Pete McMurray and he’s asked that goof the Parking Ticket Geek to stop by the studio to say hello and talk parking and driving in Chicago.

Tune in to WGN Radio 720 AM or stream it here.

Group Plans Thursday Protest Of Controversial Speed Camera

Scott Davis hands out anti-red light camera fliers to interested drivers at a recent protest.

Scott Davis hands out anti-red light camera fliers to interested drivers at a recent protest.

Southwest Side drivers say the speed camera on Archer Ave. near Ashland Ave. is about protecting children or pedestrians but just about making money.

The location has outraged residents in the area as well as Alderman George Cardenas (12th) because of the lack of both children and pedestrians near a small, little used playlot not within view of the speed cam. Cardenas wants the city to move the camera to a more effective location–one with more kids and pedestrians.

But now the uproar has got the attention of Citizens to Ban Red Light Cameras, a group dedicated to eliminating both red light and speed cameras from Chicago’s streets.

Parents Complain About Predatory Towing Outside Private School

A driver argues with a tow truck driver near the British School. Photo credit: DNA Info.

A driver argues with a tow truck driver near the British School. Photo credit: DNA Info.

Parents from an expensive Lincoln Park private school are livid after tow trucks hauled off 15 cars from a private parking lot near the school one recent morning.

According to DNA Info, parents who parked for just a few minutes in a nearby private lot to drop off their children at school, came back to find their car had disappeared.

The lot was being patrolled by tow trucks from Rendered Services who moved very swiftly to haul way the trespassing vehicles according to the report.

Paid Sunday Metered Parking Returns To Lakeview

A sticker on the front of meter payboxes in Lakeview remind drivers they now have to pay to park on Sundays.

A sticker on the front of meter payboxes in Lakeview remind drivers they now have to pay to park on Sundays.

It took over a year, but 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney finally was able to restore paid metered parking to Lakeview on Sundays.

Drivers had to start paying the meters Sunday, September 28th at metered parking spaces on major streets like Clark, Halsted, Broadway, Belmont,  Southport and others from 10 AM until 8 PM.  Monday through Saturday meters must be fed from 8 AM until 10 PM in most areas.

The alderman told DNA Info a few weeks ago, the move was necessary to promote turnover of parking spaces to allow more people to find parking to shop in Lakeview.

“Saturday and Sunday are the No. 1 and 2 days of economic activity in the ward,” Tunney said. “We need the turnover specifically on those busiest days.

Columnist Tries To Decipher Confusing Truck Parking Rules

UPS TruckChicago’s rules controlling truck parking is perhaps one of the most frustrating and confusing arcane sections of Chicago’s municipal code.

A driver trying to divine what type of truck (semi, junk, commercial or pickup) on what type of street (business or residential) in what part of the city or ward can go insane.

It was this truck parking issue that came to the attention of Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown.

A contractor who parked his truck on a residential street while trying to work on a customer’s home got hit with a $75 ticket recently.

ABC 7: Speed Cameras Issues Mayor’s Motorcade 8 More Tickets

Despite a pledge his motorcade drivers would slow down and obey the law in late spring, ABC 7 News is reporting the vehicles used to transport Mayor Rahm Emanuel have racked up another eight more red light or speed camera violations.

Four months ago ABC 7 reported the Mayor’s two vehicle motorcade had been ticketed nearly two dozen times for speed camera, red light camera and parking tickets.

At the time the Mayor said that no one was above the law and that he is instructing his drivers to slow down. But less than an hour after he uttered those words one of his vehicles was caught on camera near Douglas Park going 12 miles over the speed limit.

Here’s ABC 7′s full report, “I-Team: Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s motorcade caught by city cameras – again.

Money or Safety? Drivers Complain About Speed Camera Placement

 

It’s that ol’ speed camera “revenue versus safety” argument being discussed in this piece by NBC 5.

One driver complained, despite driving as she describes as “extra, extra slow” she was hit with five speed camera tickets in less than a month near Legion Park in the 3100 block of West Peterson.

Indiana Ranks First In Out-Of-State Chicago Parking Tickets

Parking Ticket 101 photoDNA Info has been crunching the numbers on Chicago parking tickets recently.

And after going through info on nearly 5 million Chicago parking tickets issued over the past two years, they keep digging up interesting tidbits of data.

In their most recent revelation, they focused on out-of-state drivers.

According to the data, 90% of the tickets issued were to vehicles with Illinois plates with the other 10% going to out-of-state vehicles.

New Radar Gun Detects Drivers Texting Behind The Wheel

Photo credit: HansFreeInfo.com

Photo credit: HansFreeInfo.com

Texting on a cellphone while driving is against the law in Illinois.

As unsafe as that practice is, many drivers still do it.

However, it’s very hard for law enforcement to catch motorists who are texting behind the wheel.

But that might be changing.

That’s because a Virgina-based company named ComSonics is getting ready to release a radar gun like device that can detect when drivers are texting according to Auto Evolution.

ComSonics says the frequencies emitted when a phone is sending a text message have a different signature than when a phone is being used to download data or make a call.

The manufacturer utilized the same technology used by cable television technicians to detect breaks in cables in this new product.

While the product is not on the market yet, Comsonics says it should be available soon.

Texting while behind the wheel is banned in 31 one states including Illinois.

Here’s the full story, “A Radar Gun that Catches Driver Texting Is in Development.”

Group: Drivers Not Stopping For Pedestrians At Crosswalks

A sign in Evanston reminds drivers to stop when pedestrians are present.

A sign in Evanston reminds drivers to stop when pedestrians are present.

Despite a state law that’s been on the books for four years, most Chicago drivers are not stopping at crosswalks when pedestrians are crossing street according to the Active Transportation Alliance.

The group conducted a recent survey that it says shows only 18% of motorists stop to allow a pedestrian within a marked crosswalk to walk across the street. The survey claims that percentage drops dramatically at unmarked crosswalks plunging to just 5% of the time. The law requires vehicles to stop for pedestrians crossing the street within a crosswalk whether marked or not.

“Many people are unaware of the law and believe that cars only have to stop for pedestrians when there is a ‘stop for pedestrians’ sign at the crosswalk, and these signs led to much higher compliance in our survey,” said Burke. “But we aren’t going to get ‘must stop’ signs at every crosswalk, so it’s important that the public learn about this law.”

The survey conducted by Active Trans was made up of 208 attempts to cross the street at 52 locations within the city and nearby suburban towns.

The group’s research found that drivers complied with the law at painted crosswalks with enhanced safety features like “Stop For Pedestrian” signs, brick, stone or raised crosswalks or even flashing lights.

Active Trans says 90 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents in the metro Chicago area in 2012.

“Stepping into a crosswalk in Chicago is an invitation to be run over,” said Bob Gallo, state director of AARP Illinois which worked with Active Trans in 2009 to pass the Must Stop for Pedestrians Law. “Unfortunately, this is especially true for older residents who are more likely to be injured or killed than pedestrians of all other ages.”

In their effort to have more motorists complying with the law and stopping at crosswalks, the group is pushing statewide education programs akin to the “Click it or Ticket” campaign using billboards, public service announcements and ads to get the word out.

In addition, Active Trans wants more enforcement similar to what the Chicago Police Department does from time to time in their crosswalk enforcement initiatives where they ticket drivers who don’t stop for pedestrians.

Burke admits that most drivers are just ignorant of the law and believes most motorists would obey it if they were aware the law existed. He thinks as more drivers start stopping for pedestrians, things will eventually reach a critical mass where drivers will almost always stop at crosswalks.

“Driving behavior is contagious,” said Burke from Active Trans. “Once a significant percentage of motorists begin to stop for pedestrians, you’ll see it catch on and become the norm like it is in other states.”