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 »
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 »
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’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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.