Has The Parking Meter Revolt Begun?

As teams of LAZ Parking’s employees have slowly, but quite surely, canvas the city, changing the parking meters to their new, much higher rates, another movement seems to be blossoming as a reaction to these changes.

At first, it seemed just random or coincidence when a broken meter was spotted. There’s no big surprise in finding a broken meter in Chicago–they’re everywhere.

But the number of broken meters seemed to be increasing and e-mails and comments began pouring into this website with tips, along with bits and pieces of information. Websites with very strident points of view have popped up over the past few weeks advocating everything from as simple as a boycott, to using pennies or nickels to fill up the meters to capacity and render them inoperable–at least temporarily.

Spray Paint

An entire block of parking meters, numbering nearly 20, were spotted along west Irving Park in the Albany Park neighborhood, that had both the front and back of their heads spray painted black. Once spray painted, these meters are unreadable by Parking  Enforcement Aides and therefore, vehicles can’t be ticketed as it’s impossible to see if the meters were fed or not.

Decals Removed

LAZ Parking’s new decals have been removed in a concerted effort along Lincoln Ave. and other streets in the Lakeview neighborhood, leaving long stretches of meters without any instructions on how and when to feed the meters. This leaves the meter without the proper information required by law to be an operational parking meter. A motorist could easily contest any expired meter ticket on these meters because it doesn’t exhibit the proper information.

One tipster named Brian says, “In some cases, these decals just peel right off the front of the meter with little or no effort. When these stickers were originally applied, the weather was very cold and it seems the adhesive didn’t adhere correctly. These stickers just come right off. They also appear to be too big to fit into the recessed area they are being placed in. Yet another case of someone in charge not knowing what they are doing.”

Super Glue

In Boystown, along Halsted and Broadway, north and south of Addison, a multitude of meters have their coin slots jammed with quarters or other coins and what seems to be Super Glue or some other high strength adhesive. By our count, 40-50 meters had been vandalized in this way just in that area, with reports of this occurring at spots along Clybourn, Irving Park, Lincoln Ave. and elsewhere.

One individual calling his or her self “Illinois Patriot,” is calling for direct vandalism attacks to disable parking meters.

“WE, the people, need to start fighting back! Here are some ideas to fight back:,” states Illinois Patriot in a communique to The Expired Meter. “A good shot of expanding foam should feed the meter’s coin slot nicely. Don’t get caught… Epoxy putties and VHB sided foam tapes show additional promise for field expedient mayhem and merriment.”

Meters Removed or Damaged

One parking meter in Lakeview, again along Lincoln Ave., was actually removed from the sidewalk by someone, after it was loosened during a traffic accident.

“It was there on Saturday afternoon, but missing Monday morning,” said a local business owner whom asked to remain anonymous.

Another meter we found in Boystown had the entire coin box removed.

Overfeeding Meters With Pennies

One local blogger has championed feeding meters with pennies and nickels instead of quarters. While the other change does not register, once the meter’s coin reservoirs are filled, the meter will read FAIL and is inoperable, cannot be fed and is essentially a free parking spot.

“I’ve done it a couple of times,” says John, the Angry Chicagoan about his Penny Revolution. “I keep thinking one of these days I need to buy a few roll of pennies just to screw with them. A penny, nickel and dime are all legal tender. Consider it a gift to LAZ Parking. No jury in the world will convict you for giving someone money.”

And, in fact, there seems to be no municipal law restricting the use of feeding a parking meter other denominations of coins besides quarters.

“We are finding a lot of pennies and nickels in coin slots,” confirmed one LAZ Parking employee we confronted on the street. He wouldn’t give us his name, his job it is to repair parking meters. “We see a lot of that going on.”

LAZ Parking employees are working hard at keeping up with fixing the inoperable meters.

“We see quite a few of them (broken meters),” said Reggie Johnson, worker employed through a temporary labor company for LAZ Parking, who’s helping with the meter rate changes. “We log them (the broken meters) in and later on a repair crew comes out. Last week a crew I was working with fixed 200 meters in a (eight-hour) shift.”

Some individuals are taking softer, more community organization approach to exhibiting their anger.

One campaign at group action portal, The Point, lists it’s primary objective as “To force Chicago Parking Meter LLC to freeze the parking meter rates until Jan 1, 2011.”  It’s an objective they plan to meet by asking drivers to boycott city meters.

At ChicagoParkingMeters.com, a single-page website promises beginning in April, “This site will be a web 2.0 portal for community organization focused on supporting our rights as residents of the city of Chicago.”

Still others are just making the decision not to park in normally congested areas like Lincoln Park, Wicker Park and Lakeview. Once, where busy streets were impossible to park on, now parking is plentiful. It seems people are deciding not to park in metered areas.

It’s just a simple economic reaction to the higher rates.

One reader named Mike explains saying, “The new Sunday meter regulations are set to ruin the city. The streets in front of our west loop condo used to be packed with cars Saturday nights and Sundays; no more. The spontaneity of going out to eat, shopping and visiting friends is already affected. Thank you Mayor Daley.”

Others plan to exit the city permenantly.

“After more than 20 years here I’m done, just done,” says Chicago Tom. “Our condo is for sale and when it does, we’re outta here. In one last act of defiance, my wife is going to drive our car and intentionally get a red light ticket with photo/video – we’ll have the plates disguised. When the video/photo is viewed, they’ll see my bare ass pressed against the back window accompanied a couple middle fingers. We’ll then drive out of town for the last time.”

122 Responses to Has The Parking Meter Revolt Begun?

  1. D. Hengels says:

    I do NOT live in the city and will NOT live in the city. I do have to travel there occasionally because it is the county seat. I also have relatives foolish enough to stay in the city and some who must.
    I can’t “take a bus” as my back will snap with the rocking motion. I can’t use a Pace Handicapped door-to-door bus as it rocks and takes forever to get downtown due to its route.
    The meter rates are horrible! The unavailabilty of parking has caused me untold problems and the loss of my granddaughter to a father who doesn’t care for her or about her!
    All due to the parking problems in Chicago, Thanx King Richard NOT!

  2. Eddie G says:

    I think this is just a way to help prevent panhandling — if you don’t have any quarters (because they are all in the meter), you can’t give them to those begging for change. That will then force them all to relocate to California.

  3. Sam says:

    I live on North Ave where meters where recently put in. It amuses me that the area once full of cars now is empty. There is a definate revolt against parking at these metered spots. What I wonder is where have these people gone to park? On the less amusing side note, now if friends come over it costs them to visit me or worse still, we can no longer car pool to places because if anyone leaves their car outside of my place they would be ticketed for not being able to feed the meter after two hours. Forget having a house guest now for a weekend, there is nowhere for them to park unless we don’t leave home due to having to feed the meter every two hours and they cannot park on the side streets which are for residents only and there is rarely a free parking space anyway. So where do the visitors park? Where should my house guests park? This parking meter situation now and the tax hike seriously has me thinking that Vegas is looking like a good place to live. Now should we talk about the proposed state income tax hike we are being threatened with? The city is out of control!

  4. Tom says:

    The longer the corporate elites get they’re way the longer the rest of will suffer. We need European-type protests here in the USofA instead of sitting at home, grumbling and cracking open another beer.

    Where are the pitchforks, America? The tar and the feathers? Yr. collective cojones? Wall Street should burn, not us.

    Go Chicago!!!

  5. [...] on meters, jamming them with pennies, covering them with spray paint or removing them entirely. Click here to see pictures of defaced meters. What this populist protest against privatization is not, [...]

  6. romerun says:

    I don’t pay for parking PERIOD

  7. [...] seen plenty of arrest-worthy parking meter shenanigans over the past couple of weeks: graffiti, vandalism, filling meters with pennies, gluing quarters [...]

  8. [...] http://theexpiredmeter.com/?p=2377 – revolting against parking meters is stupider than a football bat. # [...]

  9. [...] Chicago parking meter saga continues today with a post from theexpiredmeter.com, a blog about Chicago parking tickets and how to fight them. The post has photos of parking meters [...]

  10. LaDonna says:

    I am so sick and tired of these parking meters,zones,etc. It is ridiculous! I used to be so proud to be from Chicago, but now I cannot wait to move the hell out…. Just this morning the Dept of Revenue was in front of my home, I immediately ran out in my pajamas, and drove my car to my driveway with part of the boot still on it. DPR drove up behind me and blocked me in my own driveway so that she could finish putting the boot on my car, then she called the cops on me and had my car towed! The most frustrating is that I was on a payment plan, what’s the point for that right! That was the straw that broke the camel’s back, I am out of here! Im taking my daughter, and we are moving south. Mayor Dailey and the Department of Revenue can kiss my natural black ass! Peace and Blessings to all fellow Chicagoans

  11. We have problems here in Philadelphia too. What solution do you have for us? Can you begin an offshoot to us here in the city of Brotherly Ticket (Love)

  12. Bill Lee says:

    Super glue these meters. We, the citizens of Chicago don’t own these machines anymore. f#@k Daley & LAZ!

  13. Dima says:

    Riding your bike in this city is not an alternative to driving and is also not conducive to living without major injuries. In particular, commuting to work during rush hour is a death wish. Before I moved here, I biked between 60-120 miles per week for work and pleasure. I tried to make it without a car for 1.5 years in this city and it did not work. Even when I had to show up to work early or leave late, there were countless perils on the road. Eventually, I gave up after too many close calls. Every time you get on a bike on the streets of this city, you’re taking your life in your own hands. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen nutjob cabbies pulled over by cops. Why? Because now we have red light cameras, which don’t address the larger problem of complete ignorance of traffic laws. Good luck if you think you’re the one in control.

  14. J says:

    i am noticing in the last week downtown that more single meters have been replaced with the pay box. now people wont be able to take advantage of parking in meters where some merciful change remains, youll always have to pay for your own. for one not to get a ticket, both forms of payment must be inoperable, both coins and cards. and if thats not enough, youll have to check other paybox in the area first before parking for free. but who knows how far youll have to go to find a working paybox, now you can get a ticket because you didnt walk far enough and thought its free.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Using public transit will not work if you work in the suburbs. Why? The CTA may be deplorable (no argument there) but the Pace bus system is deplorable AT BEST and NON-EXISTENT as the norm. So, if you live in the city and work in the suburbs you must have a car. Travel in the suburbs is tantamount to planning a mission through the Northwest Passage 150 years ago.

    And bike riding in the city is not for the faint of heart. You have to be a real daredevil to try it even with the helmet and lights galore. And that’s not taking into account winter. A 2 wheel vehicle and ice are a DANGEROUS match! Carless in the suburbs is tantamount to a disability.

    Recently, I saw a half-mile stretch of meters with NO parked cars on it, long enough that if it was a runway you could land a business jet on it. I see lots of open metered spaces on the North Side where there would be none. Gee, I wonder why???

  16. matthew L. says:

    God, how stupid for all you Chicagoans who voted for Daley every elections since he’s been in office and yakking your mouths about this parking meter problems. You all reap what you sow; so stick with the pain. Remember the over-priced Millenium Park, the outsource of the Skyway, the Hire Truck Scandal, the bulldozed Meigs Field, and etc? Your memories do not go that far back, huh? Just like King Daly when asked about his connections to these scandal, “I don’t know anything about it”.
    For all you complainers who come here to gripe about this latest bullshit, go away and rub your pains in silence.
    I’m sure the pains while go away just like your memories of the Daly’s scandals years after years.
    When the next election time comes, your bitter ‘parking-meter’ pain will be gone and you will see King Daly in a better light.
    In the meantime, have fun bitching! HAHAHAH.

  17. Forastero says:

    While I wouldn’t want to be the one sitting next to somebody who bikes to work at the office, you could kill two birds with one stone and ban parking all together and convert those former parking lanes to bike lanes. Better still, you could require that all cyclists who use those lanes display a permit that shows they paid the $100 a year fee to use those lanes. This displayed permit could also be used to identify cyclists who blow through red lights. A win-win-win situation. A Bloomberg moment!

  18. [...] this number should be of no surprise to anyone reading this website,  where most of the reporting on this destructive trend was chronicled over, and over, and over [...]

  19. angelica says:

    I am doing research for a term-paper regarding the privatization of Chicago’s parking meters, that is impossible to cover it in 12 pages.

    From my research I have learned that:
    The city will only received the revenues generated by the tickets issued from the parking meters. This means that the revenues that would go to fix streets will not go to a private corporation.

    The revenues that the parking meters produced annually will no longer go to the city leaving a gap in the budget of more than 20 million.

    If construction affects the profits of the parking meters the city has to pay the privatizing company.

    The privatization of the meters has been the worst deal the city has ever made and will after generations to come.

  20. [...] stop working, drivers became confused by the inconsistent and contradictory rate and time stickers, wide spread vandalism of meters challenged maintenance personnel, several hundred newly installed downtown pay boxes [...]

  21. [...] on meters, jamming them with pennies, covering them with spray paint or removing them entirely. Click here to see pictures of defaced meters on the blog, The Expired [...]

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