Monthly Archives: December 2008

Parking Meter Mayhem Begins Tomorrow

Chicagoans…your New Year’s Day hangover starts a little early this year.

In fact, it begins on the first second of 2009.

While most of the world will excitedly count down the minutes and seconds to midnight, Chicago drivers will be counting down to parking meter mayhem.

That’s because at the stroke of midnight, January 1, 2009, all Chicago parking meters will be handed over by the city to Chicago Parking Meter LLC, under the parking meter lease deal signed by the city council just a few short weeks ago.

At that moment, the rates of all parking meters will go up dramatically. Most meter rates quadruple from 25 cents to $1.00 an hour.

Obviously, it will take a while for all the meters to be converted to the new rates.

In addition, New Year’s Day, traditionally a parking meter holiday, is now just another day that the parking meter must be fed.

Another Chicago tradition of not having to feed the meter on Sundays is over. From now on, every parking meter must be fed on Sundays.

Take two Advil and call the Parking Ticket Geek in the morning.

Happy F*@k’n New Years Chicago!!!

Alert!: NHL Winter Classic Parking Restrictions, Street Closures

I think one of the coolest events of the decade, may be this NHL Winter Classic being held at Wrigley Field on New Year’s Day.

Just the idea of watching the Chicago Blackhawks skating against the Detroit Red Wings outdoors, sends chills down my spine.

The Geek, of course, is not anywhere near cool enough or wealthy enough to have scored tickets to this event. But I can’t wait to watch and/or listen to the game–and I’m not really a huge hockey fan.

However dear readers, there are some parking restrictions in Wrigleyville you are going to be made aware of.

STREET CLOSURES:

Behind Wrigley Field, on Sheffield form Addision to Waveland will be closed.

PARKING RESTRICTIONS

From 6:00 PM Wednesday, December 31st (New Year’s Eve) until 8:00 PM, Thursday January 1 (New Year’s Day), no parking will be allowed along Clark Streeet from Newport to Irving Park Rd.

That’s a pretty long strip of Clark Street, so be aware, read the signs.

I recommend staying out of the neighborhood or taking public transportation to the game.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The night game residential parking restrictions that are in effect for Cub’s night games are NOT, I repeat are NOT in effect for the NHL Winter Classic.

Go Hawks!

Double Secret Probation For Global Parking Managemnt In 32nd Ward

As reported here just a few weeks ago, according to 32nd Ward Alderman Scott Waguespack, the fate of Global Parking Management had been sealed. The private booting firm was going to be given the boot from the 32nd Ward.

Too many complaints, too many reports of alleged violence and police reports, too much time spent dealing with the issue of private booting company Global Parking Management.

“Dealing with the constant weekly issues on this, putting people in the position of fearing of their lives…”, said Waguespack at the time. “I shouldn’t have to deal with it.”

Waguespack and staff seemed to have decided enough was enough,and was moving ahead on changing the ordinance that would eliminate private booting in the 32nd Ward.

Global Parking manages 40-45 parking lots throughout Chicago according to Global Parking officials, with 10-13 of those lots residing within the 32nd Ward. This amended city ordinance would have effectively eliminated about 25% of Global Parking’s lots.

But emotions seems to have cooled in the interim, as Ald. Waguespack met with both pissed off constituents whom complained about Global Parking, and Global Parking’s owners. Global Parking is going to be allowed to stay…at least for now, but with some potentially restrictive changes coming in the near future.

“What I would like to do is not entirely kick them out of the ward,” said Ald. Waguespack. “There will be a voluntary suspension of business at some locations in the ward.”

According to Ald. Waguespack, as of January 1, Global Parking Management is voluntarily suspending operations at two parking lots in the 32nd Ward until his office and Global Parking can finalize details of changes the parking lot management company must make, to remain welcome in the 32nd Ward.

The two parking lots in questions are at Burger King, 2344 W. Chicago Ave. (next to Village Pizza) and Village Discount-Roscoe Village (Roscoe & Hoyne). It is these two locations which has produced the most complaints to the alderman’s office and to the police.

But Global Parking Mangement owner Joe Grillo has a slightly different view on how this cooling down period is going down. Grillo says it’s not a “suspension of operations” at the two locations but “minimizing operations for right now.” according to Grillo. “There are no conclusions on how things will be resolved…nothing is finalized yet. We don’t want to give people the idea they can park there (without consequences).”

Grillo defined “minimizing services,” at the two lots as posting employees on the lot part-time instead of full-time, reducing hours and possibly days of enforcement.

“We’re still in the midst of speaking with the alderman,” explained Grillo. “We are basically keeping the lines of communication open and seeing what we can do to address the concerns of the community.”

Toward this end, Waguespack has asked Global Parking to meet with some of the neighborhood chamber of commerce in the ward, including, those representing Roscoe Village, West Town and Wicker Park, to get their input on the issue.

Global Parking and Waguespack’s office are slated to meet after the first of the year to discuss a list of changes, specific to the ward, that Global Parking will have to agree to, in order to stay in the 32nd ward. There is no specific list of changes or hard deadlines for resolving these issues yet. But Waguespack and Grillo both ticked off a few ideas that included a uniform or bright vest for Global employees, labels for cars parked in Global lots, more training for Global employees, changes in signage and perhaps a 10-15 minute grace period that would allow a bit more flexibility for parking lot patrons.

Ald. Wauguespack has also been consulting with Ald. Gene Schulter and Ald. Tom Tunney about how to tighten the rules and regulations on the ordinance that controls private booting. Ald. Waguespack explained there was no penalty system written into the ordinance to punish Global Parking for infractions and suggested perhaps a three strikes type approach to the issue.

Grillo defends the practice of private booting, a practice his company introduced in Chicago 10 years ago, as a necessary weapon to help business owners preserve their parking lots for their customers. Grillo feels that the concept of protecting the business owner’s right to control who parks on their lot is often lost in the heat of emotion.

“It’s a softer approach than the alternative which is towing,” explained Grillo. “You have to ask yourself, ‘would I rather be towed or booted?’ It’s a safer, more effective approach for violators and drivers.”

According to Grillo, private booting is less expensive than towing. You also don’t have to find transportation to the tow lot, so it’s therefore faster to rectify the situation. There is less chance of damage to the vehicle and every driver that is booted has the right to appeal to the company.

Grillo also made the case for the survival of his business. “We’re real people here,” Grillo said. “There are 35 families that rely on this business for their livelihood.”

Grillo seemed optimistic that something can be worked out that makes everyone happy. “I think there will be a lot of changes for the better and to ease a lot of people’s minds,” said Grillo. “We’ll do whatever it takes to make this work.”

ParkMagic Talking To Evanston

ParkMagic, the company that manufacturers an in-car parking meter system of the same name, is in talks with the City of Evanston.

The ParkMagic system was tested by 1000 initial users here in Chicago to allegedly rave reviews. But full blown adoption of the system here has been on hold pending the parking meter lease plan being finalized these past few weeks.

For lack of a better comparison, ParkMagic units are like I-Pass for parking meters. The units allow you to pay by cell phone at the meter or even remotely if you are running late getting back to the meter.

While ParkMagic now still needs to get the go ahead full bore with their program from the new owners of Chicago’s parking meter system, Chicago Parking Meter LLC, Evanston seems to be moving toward embracing this technology.

It seems that a few Evanston residents who already have a ParkMagic unit from Chicago, have been gently pressing Evanston officials to at least consider adopting the system there.

“Evanston very much likes the idea,” said ParkMagic USA Director of Operations Jim O’Connell. “We’ve been talking to Evanston for a while and the Director of Parking likes it.”

If Chicago can finally get the chance to adopt ParkMagic, it would make a lot of sense for Evanston to use the system as well. Many Evanston residents work in Chicago and many Chicagoans routinely shop or do business in Evanston. It would be like one large geographic parking system with one universal payment method.

Socialists Don’t Like Parking Meter Lease Plan

No surprise here.

The Party for Socialism & Liberation, doesn’t like Mayor Daley’s parking meter privatization plan.

What’s unnerving is that the Parking Ticket Geek is actually on the same side of an issue as a bunch of Commie goofs. It’s making me kind of dizzy.

That’s because it’s hard to get behind political systems that fail so spectacularly, that they ultimately embrace tyranny and oppression, and have been responsible over the past century for killing upwards of 100 million people.

Anyways, check out the great anti-capitalist rhetoric in the piece below. It will make you giggle.

Morgan Stanley takeover of parking meters bad deal for Chicago

City Council approves plunder of city resources

By Sean Pavey

In a 40-5 ruling, the Chicago City Council approved a plan Dec. 4 that sold the city’s publicly owned parking meters to Morgan Stanley for a fee of $1.2 billion. Mayor Richard M. Daley organized the sale, claiming the revenue will help close the city’s large budget gap.

It’s a crime against working people and a gift to the banks. The sale will lead to the quadrupling of the prices for two-thirds of the parking spots, no more free Sunday or holiday parking and 24-hour charges in downtown locations.

Despite Mayor Daley’s praise for this plundering of government assets, he admitted that the money the city will procure would not solve Chicago’s budget problems. “I can’t say that we still won’t be forced to cut spending, make additional layoffs or look for new revenue” through the continued privatization of the city’s public assets, Daley told reporters.

Daley promises to allocate $100 million from the sale to “programs to help the needy,” but when faced with such exponential rises in parking costs and the continued rise in unemployment, it is hard to imagine that these proposed programs will truly be able to ease the intensifying burdens workers continue to face.

Aside from the immense profits Morgan Stanley is posed to collect from the deal, the company has already begun looking into new security cameras to be associated with meters to photograph the license plates of parking violators in order to mail out stiffer fines.

This plan comes about in the midst of severe cuts to essential services like snow plowing, rises in city college tuitions, and the prospect of continued job losses for city, county and state workers. The plan is yet another example of the ransacking of public wealth by the moneyed class in the name of addressing the current economic crisis while the workers shoulder the load.

ALERT!: City Says ‘Don’t Park Near Sewer Drains’

With the chances of flooding high because of the rise in temperature and all the snow and ice on the ground, the city is warning drivers not to park their car on or near sewer drains.

Many of these sewer drains are clogged with ice and/or backing up and may need to be cleared.

If so, and city workers can’t get close to the problem because of your vehicle, you may get towed.

So, avoid parking near sewer drains until all the snow melts away.

Happy Holidays From Ticketmaster

GEEK EDITOR’S NOTE: Sorry, I should have posted this earlier, but I am severely behind in keeping up with the tremendous amount of e-mail that’s been coming in.

Our good friend Ticketmaster, a Parking Enforcement Aide (PEA) for the Dept. of Revenue, e-mailed me the other day to pass on his season’s greetings to all The Expired Meter readers.

In addition, he is offering us all some very kind gifts for the holiday season.

“Just a friendly reminder, “ says Ticketmater. “Yes, this is the Holiday Season however you still need to feed your meters and fill out your residential permits as though it is any other day.”

Ticketmaster warns that even though many city departments and offices will be closed during the holidays (in addition to being closed for the actual holidays, Mayor Daley is shutting down extra days during the holidays as part of his budget cuts), this is not the case for many Dept. of Revenue employees. PEAs and boot crews will be on the street writing tickets and putting the boots on the cars of ticket scofflaws.

In other words, enjoy your holidays but be careful, according to Ticketmaster.

As usual, The Expired Meter is always appreciative of Ticketmaster’s advice and contributions.

Five New Red Light Cameras Along Rand Road

Five.

Count’em five red light cameras have been installed along a 5.5 mile stretch of Rand Road from suburban Palatine to Lake Zurich, according to The Daily Herald newspaper.

A sixth camera is being planned on Rand Road in Deer Park.

Drivers better be on best behavior on stretch of Rand Road

By Bob Susnjara

While red-light cameras are frequently popping up at intersections across the suburbs, a stretch of Rand Road from Palatine to Lake Zurich should become a real attention grabber for drivers.

Five photo-enforced intersections are planned for about 5.5 miles of Rand Road, a popular path for daily commuters, shoppers and those heading to northern weekend getaway spots in the Chain O’ Lakes and Wisconsin.

That 5.5-mile stretch would have been in line for a sixth red-light camera at Rand and Lake-Cook Road in Deer Park, officials said, but that recently was scrapped because of an inability to find a spot allowing for a clear image of violators.

About 110,000 vehicles travel that stretch of Rand daily, said Kildeer Police Chief Jeffrey Lilly, whose village is ready to activate one of the five red-light cameras at Quentin Road.

Lilly said the camera cluster on Rand Road, also known as Route 12, is needed to reduce the 600 to 800 traffic crashes annually.

“It’s a way to pay for 24-hour enforcement without paying for a 24-hour-a-day officer,” said Lilly.

Drivers headed north on Rand will encounter the first camera when it’s up at Dundee Road, then another already running less than a mile away at Hicks Road – both in Palatine. Motorists get a break for almost 2 miles before reaching the Quentin Road camera in Kildeer.

Lake Zurich will have the next camera 2.3 miles away at June Terrace. The last one of the cluster will be less than a mile away at Route 22.

Two orange flags have been installed with signs warning of the red-light cameras at Hicks and Quentin. Lilly said the flags are a temporary measure because the photo-enforced intersections are so new.

Palatine police Cmdr. Kurt Schroeder said the three villages didn’t make a concerted effort to install the cameras on Rand Road.

But red-light camera opponent Matthew Hoffman, a traffic-case attorney from Chicago, said Rand Road represents a money making opportunity for Palatine, Kildeer and Lake Zurich more than improving intersection safety. Violators typically are dinged with $100 tickets, which aren’t moving violations.

Hoffman, who handles cases in Lake and Cook counties, said courts across the country have upheld the use of the cameras. He said that means residents who don’t like photo enforcement should complain to their local elected officials or pursue a ballot measure prohibiting the cameras.

“The only way to ultimately stop this or check it is in the voting booth,” Hoffman said.

Ask The Parking Ticket Geek – 12/26/08

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Dear Parking Ticket Geek,

I have received a lot of parking tickets on my car over the past year. My boyfriend told me that my insurance rates are going to go up because of all the parking tickets I’ve received this year. Is this true?

Upset In Uptown

Dear Upset,

I very much hope your boyfriend is sexy and handsome. Because, by what he told you, he’s not very well informed and perhaps not very bright.

The answer is a firm NO, your car insurance rates will NOT go up if you get parking tickets.

Now, speeding tickets or moving violations…that’s a different story. But parking tickets, a definitive no.

Just to be sure, I even talked to a few people I know who sell auto insurance.

The only thing that may affect your car insurance rates would be if you have over 10 unpaid parking tickets and the city gets the Illinois Secretary of State to suspend your driver’s license. This MAY affect your insurance rates.  Just stay on top of your tickets and you should be ok.

Very truly yours,

The Parking Ticket Geek

Hello Parking Ticket Geek:

I recently borrowed a friend’s car to run some errands, and when parking it near my home, accidentally parked in front of a fire hydrant that I didn’t see. When I parked the car, it was in the middle of a snow storm, and the hydrant was covered in snow. Also, they hydrant isn’t located near the curb, as most hydrants are, instead it is on the other side of the sidewalk, elevated, in someone’s yard. Since I had no reason to drive the car again for a while, the car sat there long enough to acquire two parking tickets.

I was wondering if it would be rightful for me to contest the tickets under the grounds that the hydrant was not visible at the time my car was parked there. Or, since I was borrowing the car, and the owner of the car was not the one who parked the car, should the owner contest the ticket under the grounds that “the respondent was not the owner or lessee of the cited vehicle at the time of the violation.” Also, is it right that I received two tickets for the same violation? I’m really not familiar with parking rules in the city, as I don’t own a car…

I really appreciate any advice you have to offer! Thanks in advance for your help!

Sincerely,

Lynsey

Lynsey-

I think you have a decent defense here.

If the hydrant was covered or obscured by all the snow, and the yellow curb markings were covered with snow, how is a driver going to know NOT to park there?

Take a photo of the hydrant covered with snow. Also take photos of the closest street signs and perhaps a few building addresses to prove that’s the address of where you parked.

The photos are the most important element in your defense. But I would also clip a newspaper story from the date of the snow and include that with your letter or when you contest in person, just to remind the hearing officer how much damn snow fell that day.

You cannot make the argument that you are not the owner of the vehicle. Ultimately, your friend, the true owner of the vehicle will be made aware of these tickets. Unless you stole your friend’s car, the ownership issue is moot.

One last thing, you are going to need a signed and notarized affidavit from your friend, stating that they are the owner of the vehicle in question and that you were the driver at the time of the violation and that they give you permission to dispute the ticket.

Good luck. Keep the Geek posted.

Very truly yours,

The Parking Ticket Geek

GEEK!

I NEED TO KNOW HOW DO I FIND OUT ABOUT MY TICKETS HOW MUCH I OWE!

LINDA

Dear Linda,

What’s with the all CAPS! Is something wrong with your keyboard? Or has your CAPS LOCK been super glued in place?

Look Linda, I’m the Parking Ticket Geek. Easy questions like this are kind of insulting to a maladjusted Chicago parking ticket “expert” like myself.

But here’s the answers anyways.

The city of Chicago, to their credit, gives you many ways to find out about what tickets you have and how much you owe.

1-You can call the City of Chicago Parking Ticket Help Line at 312-744-PARK (7275). Follow the prompts or talk to a live operator. Give them your license plate number and they can tell you what you owe.

2-Go to the Department of Revenue’s Parking Ticket Search website. You can search by license plate number, VIN #, driver’s license number or notice number.

3-You can go in person to five DOR payment locations:

*City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle
*Central Hearing Facility, 400 W. Superior
*2550 W. Addison
*4770 S. Kedzie
*2006 E. 95th Street

Ask The Parking Ticket Geek is a weekly parking ticket advise column here at The Expired Meter.

If you have a question for The Parking Ticket Geek, please e-mail the Geek at: askthegeek@theexpiredmeter.com

A Blessed Christmas To You, Enjoy Your Last Parking Meter Holiday…EVER!

Today is Christmas.

I sincerely hope the joy of this holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus, remains in your heart throughout the rest of the year.

On such a blessed day, Mayor Daley has one last gift for you.

A parking meter holiday.

In fact, the last parking meter holiday…EVER!

That’s because, with the new parking meter lease deal going into effect January 1, 2009, there will be NEVER be parking meter holidays.

In the old days (2008 and before), there were six parking meter holidays a year (New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving & Christmas).

Not anymore.

Christmas 2008 is the last one.

Enjoy it if, and while you can.

I plan on parking my car at a meter all day.