Monthly Archives: June 2009
Since Monday afternoon, when LAZ meter crews were spotted entering the neighborhood, community residents have been staging a sit in to slow or prevent the completion of new paybox installations.
A group of 12 protesters spent the night in front of the location of a new Pay & Display machine in the 8800 block of S. Commercial Ave. A fresh group of meter objectors took over at 9 AM.
So far, according to Stephanie Puente, Director of Communications for Centro Comunitario Juan Diego, their strategy seems to be working.
“We’re using the sit in to hopefully stop the installation,” says Puente from outside at ground zero for the sit in. “We want to use the protest a platform to discuss this issue.”
South Chicago Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Neil Bosanko has a different view.
“Payboxes will be installed,” said Bosanko. “I thought perhaps the new meter company was intimidated by the picketing, but that’s not the case.”
Bosanko explained that there was a short delay in installation to amend the signs accompanying the meters outlining the times of meter operation. Because unlike the majority of the city’s metered spaces which run from 8 AM – 9 PM, these new meters will operate from 9 AM to 6 PM, because of the many residents whom live above the businesses along this stretch of S. Commercial. Once the signs are completed, the installation will proceed.
Over the weekend, Bosanko says someone left a large pile of animal and perhaps human waste in front of the Chamber’s offices.
“I’m getting to old for this” laughed Bosanko a former activist who says he respects people’s right to protest. “But it’s starting to get annoying. I walked in on Sunday and almost vomited from the feces spread on the sidewalk.”
Garcia, when told about the excrement stated, “We don’t condone any actions like that nor do we encourage it.”
Bosanko feels that city officials have been conveniently silent on the dust up from the meter controversy in the neighborhood, leaving him to take the brunt of the criticism.
“I don’t see them as part of this process (dealing with the protests),” says Bosanko. “They (city officials) should be listening to the concerns of the people.”
In fact, despite what Bosanko considers the necessity of having metered parking on S. Commercial to help business, he personally feels the $1.00 per hour rates are an issue.
“I am not disagreeing with them (the protesters) about the rates,” explained Bosanko. “But that’s not my issue. This is something for the city council to deal with.”
The “Stop The Meters” #2 protest and rally is scheduled to take place tonight at
6 PM in front of the South Chicago Chamber of Commerce at 8826 S. Commercial.
I received a parking ticket for violation #9-64-180. I have been parking on Canal St. for the past 2 years without incident until I returned to my car on 6/18 and found a ticket.
There appeared to be at least 15 other cars w/ tickets as well, all for the same violation. There are no signs posted anywhere saying this is a no parking area. It is a residential street with apartments on the west side of Canal.
My ticket says I was parked at 305 N. Canal. It is my understanding that this is outside the area stated in the ordinance. Canal St. is just West of the Chicago River. Am I understanding this ordinance correctly?
Can I win if I contest this ticket? Thanks for your help.
This past Saturday, I was working in the backyard. While cutting the lawn, I started getting a whiff of something really foul. After checking my yard for the source of the offending stench, I figured out my next door neighbor’s dog had taken a mean dump in their backyard. Because of the heat and the mild breeze, I was literally choking from the odor that wafted into my yard.
When I read your note, your ticket reminded me of my backyard experience this past weekend.
Here’s the ordinance in question:
9-64-180 Restricted parking – Area bounded by Chicago River, Michigan Avenue and Harrison Street.
(a) Except as provided in subsection (b), it is unlawful to park any vehicle at any time…on any of the following streets: Washington Street, Madison Street and Monroe Street, between State Street and Michigan Avenue; Adams Street and Jackson Boulevard, between Canal Street and Michigan Avenue; Dearborn Street, Clark Street and LaSalle Street, between Washington Street and Jackson Boulevard; and Wacker Drive, from Franklin Street to Van Buren Street.
I read over the ordinance and checked out the location on a map, and unless I’m being really dense, I cannot for the life of me, see why you would be ticketed for this particular violation.
I’m baffled, but whatever it is, it really smells. My only guess would be that whomever wrote the tickets is stupid, mean or has no sense of direction.
But this seems like a pretty easy win.
All you have to do to beat this, is cite the law, then provide a map showing the address on the ticket is outside the zone(s) outlined in the municipal code. Since your car was outside the zone in question, you should not have been ticketed.
Plus, if the ticket writer didn’t indicate which subsection (the a, b, or c) of the code, this would be a reason to get this ticket dismissed as well.
Fight it and you should win.
Very truly yours,
What is the policy for paper time stamps (Pay & Display meter receipts)? There is no way to display the paper time stamp securely on motorcycle. How does the City expect motorcycles to use this system?
Good question Joe.
The Pay & Display receipts are supposed to come printed on an adhesive sheet. The back of the receipt should instruct you to write your license plate on the line provided on the front, peel the left portion of the receipt off the adhesive backing and stick it to your motorcycle’s headlight.
Hold onto the smaller, right portion of the receipt until you come back to your motorcycle. The reason? Well, if the wind or elements dislodges your sticker, or some drunk jag decides to be a creep and rip the sticker off your headlight, and you get a ticket–you have proof you paid for your time and you will be able to fight and beat the ticket.
So, enjoy your motorcycle and don’t forget to wear your helmet.
Very truly yours,
My hubby and I visited the city over the weekend and received a parking ticket for “No Parkbox Ticket”.
First of all, we’re from a small town in North Carolina where parking is rarely an issue. That being the case, we automatically thought that the covered meters meant we didn’t have to pay.
I know, I know… it seems silly, but it was an honest mistake. The second part to this problem is the fact that we were driving a rental. I spoke with Enterprise, which informed us that we could not contest or pay the ticket since we are not the owners of the car. Enterprise has since had the ticket place in my hubby’s name, so it’s now our ticket to contest or pay. A few questions…
1. Is it worth contesting by pleading “tourist ignorance?”
2. What will happen if we just don’t pay it?
Ouch, ouch and ouch again.
Do you see how Chicago welcomes visitors? With a bright orange, $50 ticket!
Is it any surprise tourists like yourself are taking their hard earned money to other, more welcoming cities and vacation spots?
I apologize on behalf of the rest of our great businesses and citizens for the foibles of our Mayor and the City Council. I hope you at least enjoyed your visit to our overall kickass city.
First, the covered parking meters is confusing even long time Chicago residents. I’m not surprised at all that someone visiting from out of state would make this mistake. So, don’t be too embarrassed.
Second, Enterprise is correct. They own the car, it’s registered in their name, not yours. Normally, only the registered owner (or a spouse or close family member) can fight a ticket issued to a particular vehicle. Most likely you would have a hard time trying to fight this ticket without an affidavit from them.
Third, this really doesn’t matter, because I don’t see how you could beat the ticket anyway. Pleading ignorance almost never works–at least not in my experience–and I’m pretty darn ignorant.
I would recommend not paying it.
In essence, our new parking meter systems, courtesy of that crappy parking meter lease deal, makes tourists or suburbanites, not up to speed on the parking rules here in Chicago, easy pickings for ticket revenue.
The worst that could happen is that a collection company will send you a mean letter and threaten to report this $50 ticket (which will double to $100 and have some extra fees tacked on), to credit reporting agencies.
For one ticket, I don’t believe they will report it and if they do, parking tickets have little or next to no impact on your credit score.
Screw the city! Write them a letter telling them you’re not going to pay and you’re not going to visit Chicago again, so they can say goodbye to all the money you would spend on a return trip.
Hey Parking Geek,
I rent an apartment in the city of Chicago. My car on the other hand is registered to my parents house in the suburbs.
I park my car in a neighborhood on the street that does not require permit parking. Can I get a ticket for not having a city sticker, due to the fact that my car is parked on the city streets, pretty much every day?
- Chicagoan “Suburbanite”
Dear Chicagoan “Suburbanite”
Can you get ticketed? Sure.
Will you be ticketed? Maybe…but probably not.
Just as a warning, technically, you should change the registration on your vehicle if you are really a resident, living within the city proper.
But, as someone who earlier in their life, did exactly what you did for years, I have am definitely not criticizing you for doing it.
Look, with an expensive annual city sticker fee, why register your car in the city if your folks will help you scam Mayor Daley out of $75 bucks or more every year? Plus, often your insurance rates are lower with an address outside the city.
Here’s what I recommend.
Ask your parents to snag you a vehicle sticker from where they live. Most suburbs provide this sticker mainly to make sure their residents don’t get ticketed for not having a Chicago city
sticker when they drive downtown. That will definitely throw any ticket writer comes sniffing around for city sticker violations, off the scent.
If you do get ticketed, just provide a copy of your current registration. Just say you were visiting friends. Or better yet, you were shacking up with a young lady whom lives on that street. I’m sure that’s the truth. At least, for your sake, I hope that’s the truth.
Very truly yours,
The Parking Ticket Geek
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 with your query at: email@example.com
Just days after the first “Stop The Meters” protest rally was held last Friday morning, a second protest has been planned for Tuesday evening at 6 PM.
Tuesday’s protest will be held at 8826 S Commercial Ave, outside the South Chicago Chamber of Commerce, the organization that initially requested the new meters on behalf of some of it’s member businesses.
“We’re trying to get the businesses directly impacted by the meters to participate,” explains Garcia Technology Coordinator for Centro Comunitario Juan Diego. “and more people from the community itself.”
Last Friday, about 100 protesters marched and chanted their frustration with the parking meter lease deal and the threat of new meters being installed between 87th & 89th Streets on S. Commercial Ave.
It seems that an incident Friday evening may have inspired this new protest.
According to Garcia, Friday around 6 PM, he and a handful of people from the community center, walked outside to see employees of LAZ Parking digging holes for the new meter pay boxes directly outside the community center.
“We were hoping the protest would slow things down a little bit and have people think about it (the meter installation issue),” says Garcia. “We had no idea. Was this part of a big plan or did they want to send us a message? I don’t know.”
When pressed, Garcia thinks the original protest may have sped up the process and/or was some sort of soft retribution for bringing attention to the subject.
“I definitely think that’s a possibility,” said Garcia. “Once they started getting attention to it, they wanted to get them up as quickly as possible.”
UPDATE: 1:45 PM. Garcia called back to report that crews are back on S. Commercial to install the actual pay boxes this afternoon Protesters are going to have a sit in protest in front of the new machines as they are being installed
One step forward, two steps back.
One step forward.
Monday, on Meier’s afternoon show, he talks to that mentally unbalanced joker, the Parking Ticket Geek.
Easily, two steps back.
Catch the Geek around 2 PM on WGN 720 AM.
The Geek is a longtime fan of Garry’s, so he’s hoping he doesn’t completely ruin his show.
Photo courtesy and copyright WGN Radio.
Now you can help catch people abusing handicapped placards and parking for free at parking meters.
Based on the great investigative reporting by CBS 2 on motorists illegally using handicapped placards, Secretary of State Police have setup a website to report this abuse.
You’ll need to provide some important pieces of info, including the placard or license plate number, or the disability plate number, plus date, time and address of the abuse. You can go to the website for more info.
But check out the second part of the two part investigative report by Dave Savini entitled, State Asks For Your Help Catching Meter Cheaters.
It’s a great piece of reporting catching some people misbehaving and embarrassing the hell out of these goofs.
It’s another busy weekend of street festivals, which of course means street closures, traffic backups and parking headaches.
The Parking Ticket Geek has the lowdown on weekend events, street closures and parking advice.
EVENT: Peace Fest
WHERE: Lincoln Park, close to the lake at North Ave.
CLOSURES: Stockton Drive, just north of North Ave.
Nothing screams “fun” to me like hippies. Just say it aloud a few times. Hippies! Hippies! HIPPIES!
In all seriousness, Peace Fest is just code for Hippie Fest or Bong Fest. Personally, hippies drive me crazy talking their peace and love BS. Take another hit you long hair PC freak! Now shut up and keep on trance dancing to that Grateful Dead wannabe band.
You’d have to drug me to unconsciousness to get me there.
From a driving and parking perspective, I would encourage public transit or cabs. Very little parking normally and not many public lots. Sounds like hell to drive to.
EVENT: Taste of Randolph Street
WHERE: West Loop
CLOSURES: Randolph Street, west of Halsted for several blocks.
There are a lot of really great restaurants in this area of the city. If you want to try food from some excellent Chicago restaurants that aren’t hotdogs, burgers and funnel cakes, check out this event.
And there will be some big name bands like Urge Overkill and the Posies.
However, it’s a bit pricey. These goofs encourage a $10 donation. Most street fests ask for $2-$5. But these guys think they’re special so you should donate $10. Sorry, but screw that.
Parking may be a bit dicey. If I was going, I would drive and look for spots along Lake St., perhaps a little west of the Halsted or on Fulton, Peoria, Sangamon or the other side streets in the industrial part of that area. Very few meters, so that’s good.
EVENT: BAM! Fest
WHERE: Roscoe Village/Hamlin Park
CLOSURES: Belmont Ave. from Damen west to Leavitt
The festival sucks. There’s no other way to describe it. With so many decent festivals in the city every year, why do we need another lame one? Not only is it a stupid festival, it blocks a major east/west street for two days.
If you’re stupid enough to go, parking around there should not be that difficult. You may have to walk a block or so. But so few people go and it’s not terribly congested around there to begin with, you should be ok finding spots to park on side streets.
I say, don’t waste your time.
EVENT: Puerto Rican Fest
WHERE: Humboldt Park
CLOSURES: No closures, just lots of traffic.
Yes, traffic will be particularly bad in any neighborhood (especially Humboldt Park) that has a decent population of Puerto Ricans living there. It is perhaps one of the most annoying weekends of the summer.
That’s because thousands of Puerto Ricans get in their cars, stick PR flags out the windows, jam 12 people in the car, turn up the bass on their stereo to earth shaking levels and then crank the Reggaeton as they cruise around, screaming “Puerto Rico!!!” out the windows wherever they go.
I particularly enjoy it when, after 10 PM they cruise down my street waking my young children with their idiotic antics.
Look, you’re Puerto Rican, you’re proud, the island is beautiful and you love it–WE GET IT!!!!
Now stop acting like dipshit posers and turn down the f@#kin’ music.
Do you see all the other ethnic groups acting like this? Sheesh!
I advise trying to stay off the streets in the evenings, unless you take drugs to control your blood pressure.
EVENT: Puerto Rican Day Parade (Sunday morning only)
WHERE: Downtown, Columbus Drive & Balbo
CLOSURES: Columbus Drive is the parade route, starting at Balbo and moving north.
It’s a parade. Unless you’re going to the parade Sunday, avoid the area. It’s downtown so parking will be tough, but perhaps because it’s Sunday morning, it won’t be too bad. I say it’s 50/50 on taking a car or opting for public transportation.
A lot of media was on hand for the “Stop The Meters” protest in South Chicago on Friday morning, including Kristyn Hartman of CBS 2.
Hartman does a pretty good job of covering the protest and the issue.
There are no parking meters on East 106th Street in front of 10th Ward Alderman John Pope’s office.
An irony, that made the protest against Chicago’s parking meter lease deal and the threat of new meters on a two block stretch of S. Commercial St. that much more delicious to Friday’s protesters.
Over 100 people, many wearing T-shirts the same bright orange color of a Chicago parking ticket, showed up to voice their frustrations with the parking meter issue in the South Chicago and East Side neighborhoods.
The protest was sparked by an impending installation of new parking meters on S. Commercial, between 87th & 89th streets. Some businesses along this commercial shopping district want meters to help ease parking congestion, while others are opposed.
“The community does not want these meters,” said James Nabe, a long-time South Chicago resident. “Basically this is a community killer. If they put up meters on Commercial, come back in a year and you will see a bunch of boarded up buildings. It’s a money grab.”
The protest started a little late and a little slow, but at 10:30 AM, a bus load of people with the Centro Comunitario Juan Diego, a community organization located on the stretch of S. Commercial in question, unloaded 60 or so protesters carrying signs in both English and Spanish decrying the meters.
“No More Parking Meters,” read one sign, another read “Alto No Mas,” had a drawing of a person being shaken upside down by a parking meter and actual coins taped to the sign, while another exclaimed “Break Meters.”
A few of the organizers got on the bullhorn to say a few words including Mr. Nabe and Robert Garcia from the CCJD, who said, “there are three reasons we’re here today,” and then ticked off their platform of asking Ald. Pope to not install more meters in South Chicago and the East Side, send a message to the entire city that the parking meter lease is a problem for the city and show people they should not be afraid to speak out.
Protesters then marched up and down the block in front of Ald. Pope’s offices for nearly 20 minutes, loudly chanting slogans like “Liars, punks, cheaters, thieves. We don’t need your stinking meters.”
The protesters main arguments was the added cost to the poor of the area and the impact the meters may have on business.
“We’re less than a mile from the Indiana state line,” explained Nabe. “People with automobiles have options. In six blocks you can be in Indiana without taxes as high as Chicago. If you have an automobile, what is the incentive to shop in this area with Indiana so close. If you actually talk to the business owners, they don’t want them (the meters).”
No one from the Alderman’s office would comment during the protest.
One of the most important rules of driving and parking is to always read the signs.
Recently, during the CTA’s work on the portion of the Blue Line that runs parallel to Milwaukee Ave. in Wicker Park, one particularly UNlucky driver either missed or decided to ignore, the 8.5″ x 11″ paper signs that were posted along the track supports.
“No Parking–Track Work Above,” the signs state.
Seemingly, a butter-fingered CTA worker lost their grip on a several hundred pound railroad tie.
Gravity and the law of physics took it’s inevitable control of the situation and slammed that tie into the roof of an unfortunate pickup truck. The one parked where it wasn’t supposed to be.
Luckily no one was in the car when this devastating blow occurred.
One assumes, lesson learned.
Thanks to a tipster who prefers their anonymity.
In what is perhaps the Chicago political story of the year, the Reader’s cover story this week again explores the parking meter lease fiasco.
In Fail Part 3, Mick Dumke & Ben Jorvasky find even more dirt on the lease deal.
It’s a long piece, but the Cliff’s Notes version is that a lot of money was made by clout heavy law firms, consultants and others. In fact, one firm, the William Blair company, actually dreamed up the idea and sold the Mayor on the lease deal.
“What we got is a new version of patronage–’pin stripe patronage’,” says Dumke describing how clout heavy people are getting fat off the city. “It’s (the meter deal) a telling symbol of how the (Daley) administration has done business for so long.
So, is there a ‘Fail 4′ or ‘Fail 5′ in the works? Could this deal get any worse?
Dumke laughed and then said, “I guess it could get worse. There’s a lot of unanswered questions. The things that are so striking to me is, the more we look at this, the uglier it gets.”
I think these guys may have an award-winning journalism series on their hands.
Pickup your copy of the Reader at better newsstands and newspaper boxes city wide.