Monthly Archives: August 2009

‘Green Team’ Highlighted In Trib Story

pay-to-park

Tribune transportation reporter, Jon Hilkevitch, has a story in his Getting Around column about the “Green Team.”

The Green Team is a street team, hired by LAZ,  wearing bright green T-shirts to help motorists when they first encounter freshly installed Pay & Display pay boxes.

They essentially follow pay box installation teams around the city, sticking around after the boxes first go in to help people who’ve never met one of these new fangled parking meters before.

Actually, since the Green Team has been on the job since June, this is really not a breaking news story to anyone who drives around the city on a regular basis. I come across them regularly.

The article chronicles the drudgery and boredom of the job as well as, let’s say the intellectually challenged, who can’t figure out how to use one of these Pay & Display machines.

Even for the severely impaired morons like myself, it took perhaps 60 seconds of reading to figure out how to operate one of these machines.

The pay boxes may be a tad bit confusing for the first 30 seconds, but seriously, it’s not that hard.

The only thing Hilkevitch missed is that Green Team staff is only on hand the first day the new machines are installed. The next day, they move on to the next installation destination, leaving any subsequent newbies out in the cold to figure out the machines for themselves.

The reality is, these new machines are pretty intuitive, and most people can figure out how they work all by their lonesome, without anyone’s help.

Thus making the Green Team, more than anything else, a well executed public relations ploy.

Here’s Hilkevitch’s full column.

Dagwood Pays A Parking Ticket

Blondie-cropped

Uh-oh!

Dagwood tries to pay a parking ticket.

Of course, anytime Dagwood is involved with something, trouble ensues.

As funny as this Blondie comic strip is, perhaps the fact the comic strip artists captured what it’s like to endure Chicago’s (or any town’s) parking ticket bureaucracy is even more hilarious.

This was last Sunday’s Blondie. Enjoy the entire comic strip here.

Thanks to the Illinois Patriot for the heads up on this.

The Geek’s Weekend Traffic & Parking Hot Spot Guide

Pig on a spit

It’s another weekend of street festivals and fun summer events, which of course means street closures, traffic backups and parking headaches.

The Parking Ticket Geek has the lowdown on what areas to avoid driving and tips on where to park if you plan to attend any of these events.

Here’s what’s going on, places to avoid driving and parking advice.

As the summer continues to wind down, so does the pace and quantity of street closing outdoor events. In other words, another light weekend.

EVENT: Taste of Romania

WHERE: Avondale

CLOSURES: California Ave., from Addison to Roscoe.

This is a cool event is put on by Branko, the dude who owns Little Bucharest restaurant over on Elston. He’s been doing this event for 17 years, from when his restaurant was located at Ashland & Wellington.

It’s cool to see the Romanian music and dancing, and of course chow down on the great Romanian food including spit roasted ox, pig and lamb. And of course, the fresh squeezed grape juice is always free.

Parking should not be too bad. But there’s not a ton of streets adjacent to the festival area as California is bounded by the river and ComEd. If you don’t mind walking a few blocks, there’s lots of neighborhood parking north of Addison, south of Roscoe and south and west of California.

Saturday may be a little tight near Roscoe, as Hot Doug’s (another fantastic Chicago don’t miss spot) draws big crowds from 11 AM to 4 PM.

EVENT: St. Helen Festival

WHERE: Ukranian Village

CLOSURES: Augusta Blvd., from Western to Oakley

This is an annual fundraising event for St. Helen’s Elementary School. a fun, family carnival with all sorts of rides for kids and adults. If you haven’t indulged in your annual dose of carny fun, then this may be your last chance to do so.

Me? I’m a sucker for funnel cakes and cotton candy.

They do have some great Polish food vendors there too.

Parking, like the above event, is not bad, but you may have to walk a few blocks. Nothing terrible. I advise along Western Ave. or west of Western.

EVENT: Chicago Triathalon

WHERE: Lakefront, Grant Park (Sunday morning only)

CLOSURES: The two inside lanes of Lake Shore Drive, both northbound and southbound, from Randolph to Foster.

This event will have LSD all screwed up starting VERY early Sunday morning until early Sunday afternoon, with all the triathletes running up and down the drive.

And it’s always the laggards that delays things. Encourage them with your angry shouts and horn honking to get their butts in gear so they can re-open all the lanes. Just kidding!

PLEASE, stay away from Lake Shore Drive if you can. It really backs things up both ways Sunday morning and the delays can be very painful.

Be careful parking on the street. Meters must be fed on Sunday and some downtown meters must be fed 24 hours a day. It might make sense to pay for parking in a public lot or garage.

Megan Fox Gets Ticketed In Santa Monica

Megan Fox

Dear Ms. Fox,

I have just heard the utterly devastating news that you, Megan Fox just received a parking ticket for parking in a no parking zone in Santa Monica.

Didn’t the lady who wrote you the ticket know you were a star? Transformers 1 & 2, duh!

As someone who has been issued hundreds of parking tickets over the years, I feel your pain.

I think the first problem you ran into was that it was not a male Traffic Services employee. Because if it were a dude issuing the ticket, being as hot as you are and dressed in those crazy crazy high heels, you should have been able to strut away from the incident sans ticket.

That being said, let the Parking Ticket Geek help you fight your parking ticket.

As an expert in receiving and fighting parking tickets, I’m easily your very best bet in fighting this obviously unwarranted, unfair and improper parking ticket.

My advice would be request a hearing on the ticket. Then, fly me to LA (I prefer first class, but coach would be fine), and put me up in the Chateau Marmont or the Mondrian for a few nights.

Or better yet, I can stay at your place!

It’s actually easier for us to prepare your parking ticket defense at your place anyways. That way, we can review which cleavage bearing outfit you should wear for the ticket hearing.

Look, normally I would charge a hefty fee for my unique services. But as a big fan of your work, I would be willing to advise you gratis.

Have your people call my people to hammer out all the details.

I look forward to meeting with you soon.

And don’t worry, together we will get parking ticket justice!!!

Very truly yours,

The Parking Ticket Geek

Photo courtesy of Megan Fox Rule’s Flickr page.

ALERT!: Critical Mass Bike Ride Tonight

Critical Mass

What the hell is Critical Mass?

It’s just a bike ride. A monthly bike ride that takes place the last Friday of every month according to the Critical Mass website.

Actually, it’s a humongous, several thousand person, bike ride.

City car drivers are most likely to experience the infamous Critical Mass, during Friday evening rush hour, which more often than not, snarls local traffic as it winds through 10-20 miles of the city.

Racing bikes, mountain bikes, low rider bikes, tall bikes, tricked out bikes, antique bikes, bicycles built for two. Thousands of them. It’s really quite a spectacle.

But a Critical Mass can literally shut down car traffic for 15-30 minutes if you blunder along their route on a Friday evening.

Many drivers get apoplectic, and furiously honk their horns in protest when held up in the wake of the group’s ride. But, it’s not long before the smiling and friendly bikers, happily shouting “Happy Friday!” to everyone, have charmed the delayed drivers into calmly waiting out the ride with a smile.

This month’s Critical Mass steps off Friday evening at Daley Center (Dearborn & Washington)  starting at 5:30 PM.

Friday’s route starts out winding through the near north side, but then takes riders south of the Loop.

But here’s this month’s Critical Mass route map, if you want to make sure you don’t get caught up stuck in Critical Mass traffic.

Photo courtesy and copyright Nixternal’s Flickr page.

Andy Shaw’s Take On Meter Lawsuit

Andy Shaw, former ABC 7 political reporter and now the head of the Better Government Association, joined the Fox 32 morning show recently to share his thoughts on the IVI-IVO lawsuit.

Ticketed For Parking While Breastfeeding?

Breast feeding sign

Blame it on the brat.

According to the esteemed New York Times, it seems a couple with a hungry 6-month old baby, pulled their car into a no standing zone in New York City so the mother could breastfeed their son.

The father left the vehicle for a few minutes to go around the corner to his office to heat a bottle to supplement the feeding.

By the time he got back, bada-bing, a traffic enforcement agent was writing up a $115 ticket while the mother nursed.

My guess is the ticket writer was issuing the ticket as an excuse to sneak a peak–if you know what I mean.

According, to the NYT piece, this is not the first instance of being ticketed for parking while breastfeeding.

So fellow scofflaws, I put the question to you. Should they have been ticketed or not?

Photo courtesy and copyright Wha’ppen’s Flickr page.

ALERT!: ANOTHER Cub’s Night Game Tonight–Parking Restrictions Begin At 5 PM

It’s another night game with Washington.

7:05 start…if it doesn’t get called for rain that is.

Enforcement begins at 5:00 PM–even if it’s a rain out!

Let’s pray the Cubs do better tonight.

Last night was painful. Ouch!

Mayor Daley Refuses To Apologize

Mayor Daley

Is was too good to be true.

Even though the text of the Mayor Daley’s speech was highly publicized hours before gave it, and did seem to contain some form of apology, when it was his turn at the microphone, he just couldn’t go through with it.

According to his speech Daley was supposed to say, “I’ll be the first to admit that we screwed up.”

But the closest he came to a real apology was saying he takes responsibility for the problems with the transition.

The truth is, leaking the speech to the media ahead of time, was a ploy, a slight of hand, to make it look like Mayor Daley was actually sorry for the meter privatization deal.

Rumors have been circulating that the administration had been doing polling and focus groups on this subject, with the results coming back to City Hall overwhelmingly negative and perhaps injurious to Daley’s re-election.

What a surprise!

Now, with the next Mayoral election in the admittedly far distance, the Mayor has to look like he’s truly sorry. Because many believe the meters could be Daley’s snowstorm.

But he isn’t sorry.

Daley is like the petulant two year old forced to apologize to a sibling for hitting them, when they’re obviously not contrite.

Daley is obviously not sincere because inside he’s seething with anger, you can see it in his scowl, you can hear it in his tone. Because he can’t understand why so many people don’t see it his way.

He thinks he saved the day by doing this $1.15 billion dollar deal. We needed the money he explains. It was a windfall for the city he tries to rationalize.

The question he won’t answer is how did you and your administration mismange the city’s finances so spectacularly, that there’s been a half a billion dollar deficit two years in a row?

Because if it weren’t for these huge budget deficits, the city wouldn’t have been forced into what 32nd Ward Alderman Scott Waguespack calls, “…One of the worst deals in the history of the nation…”

In order to apologize successfully, it’s common practice to speak the words, “I’m sorry,” or the lesser used, but equally popular “I apologize.”

But don’t expect to hear any of these words or phrases from Mayor Daley any time soon.

In fact, don’t expect them ever.

Photo courtesy and copyright of Joe M500′s Flickr page.

The Geek On CBS 2 News At 10

cbs2chicago.comBLUE

CBS 2‘s veteran political reporter, Jay Levine gets the Geek’s take on Mayor Daley’s planned meter mea culpa at the South Shore Cultural Center this evening.

Levine’s report airs on the 10 o’clock news on channel 2.

The Geek apologizes in advance for any damage his ugly mug may inflict upon your television screen.

UPDATE: If you missed Jay Levine’s report at 10, here’s the video link. Don’t blink, you may miss the Geek’s cameo appearance.