Monthly Archives: October 2009

Halloween Driving Safety Tips

jack-o-lantern

Halloween may be the most dangerous night of the year for kids.

And not because of all the stomach aches that occur from consuming an overabundance of candy.

No,there are multiple studies that indicate more children are hit by vehicles on October 31st than any other 24 hour period of the year.

The Center for Disease Control conducted a study between 1975 and 1996 that showed deaths for young (age 5-14) pedestrians is four times higher on Halloween than any other night of the year.

More generally, a 1999 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) claims most collisions between vehicles and young pedestrians occur between 4-8 PM–the heart of trick or treating, and 84% of young pedestrian deaths occur mid-block when kids try to dash across the street.

So, here are a few tips when you’re out driving this Saturday.

1-Slow Down

This is the one day or night out of the year that you should drive well below the speed limit–especially in residential neighborhoods where the majority of trick or treating is done.

Look out for kids darting across the street from between parked cars.

2-Be Careful Passing Stopped Vehicles

Before you assume some bonehead is pulled over just to aggravate  you, remember, it may be a parent dropping off a bunch of costumed kids. Be extra careful that one doesn’t run in front of your vehicle while passinig.

3-Use Your Hazard Lights

If you’re the mom or dad dropping off the kids somewhere, when you pull over to let them out, throw on your hazard lights so other drivers see you pulled over and will hopefully slow down and drive more carefully.

4-Be Extra Vigilant When You See Kids

Look, kids do stupid things. They can’t help it. They don’t look both ways, they dart into the street without looking, they’re easily distracted and tonight, they’re all tweaked from excitement and from all the sugar they’ve ingested. Plus, if the kid has a mask on, they’re vision is impaired as well.

So, anytime you see a pack of kids with costumes on, open your eyes, sit up and pay attention and again…slow down.

5-Enter & Exit Driveways Carefully

With gangs of candy junkies walking the sidewalks of your neighborhood, make sure you’re especially careful when pulling in and out of driveways. Did I mention kids don’t pay attention and do stupid things?

HALLOWEEN TRAFFIC ALERT!

Try to avoid Boystown on Saturday evening. That is unless you actually want to participate in the always entertaining North Halsted Halloween Parade. Halsted from Belmont to Addision will be closed from 4 PM until 10 PM.

I’m positive you will never see more flamboyant, over the top, entertaining and creative costumes anywhere in Chicago.

Happy Halloween Mayor Daley!

Hiz Honor Da Mayor

The winner (and only entrant) for our idiotic “Dress Up Like The Parking Ticket Geek For Halloween”  contest is Mayor Daley!

Congrats Mayor. That mask looks very becoming on you.

This was submitted by a frequent flier and friend to this website the Illinois Patriot. Great job IP! He will be getting some cool stuff courtesy of The Parking Ticket Geek.

But hell, if anyone else sends us a photo of themselves in that goofy mask we posted, we’ll post the photo and probably send you some cool stuff from the bottom of our junk drawer as well.

NOTE: Be careful driving out there tomorrow. Lots of kids out and about all dressed in black.

Sun-Times Gives Readers The Boot (And Tickets)

Sun-Times Boot Cover

The cover story of today’s Chicago Sun-Times is a ward by ward breakdown of booting and ticketing in Chicago.

This info came out in a handout on the first day of city budget hearings from the Department of Revenue which was the first department to come under aldermanic scrutiny.

The newspaper did a decent job with graphics and maps to help visualize all this data.

Interesting, but far from surprising was that the 41st ward ranked first in booting. Not surprising as O’Hare Airport’s 24-7 booting patrol of airport is a money making machine for the city.

Can you guess which ward was #2? C’mon, it’s not hard.

That’s right, the 23rd where Midway Airport resides. Same 24-7 super aggressive booting patrol concept out there.

When it comes to parking tickets, here’s the ranking of the top 5 most ticketed wards:

Rank    Ward   Tickets

#1            42        192,758

#2             2          142,290

#3           44         106,209

#4            1            93,312

#5          32           87,480

Again, if you think about it, there’s a very good reason why it breaks down this way.

To put it simply, parking meters and congestion.

Essentially, the top five most ticketed wards are also the most vehicular congested and have the most meters in their wards.

In fact, when you compare the most ticketed wards, with the wards with the most meters, it’s nearly identical. The only exception is the 1st Ward which ranks 4th in ticket volume but 6th in meters.

Rank    Ward    Meters

#1            42         4206

#2             2           3894

#3           44          1768

#4           47          1505

#5           32          1419

#6            1            1141

Go ahead and read Fran Spielman’s take on the booting and parking data in Thursday’s Sun-Times, and check out the cool booting/ticketing maps too.

The Geek’s Parking Ticket Near Miss

SERCO receipt

My parking meter receipt expired at 6:43 PM.

And it was already 6:49.

Running late as usual, I said my goodbyes to the customer in Lincoln Park where I had dropped off some boxes and nearly tripped over the SERCO Parking Enforcement Officer peering at my expired receipt on my dashboard, getting ready to write me a parking ticket.

“Uh, ah, oh yeah, I’m just loading up and leaving,” I said the syllables crashing and stumbling into each other trying to exit my lips as quickly as possible.

She looked up at me briefly, put down her handheld ticketing unit, and then moved on into the rainy darkness and to the next vehicle down the street.

I jumped into my car and breathed a huge sigh of relief. That was close.

But as I was counting my  lucky stars and starting my engine I realized I had forgotten something.

I didn’t thank her.

By this time she was nearly a block away. I did a U-turn and parked, illegally of course, in a tow zone across the street from where she was.

I dashed across the street and blurted, “Excuse me, but I just wanted to thank you for not giving me a ticket back there.”

She looked up startled, confused and said, “Are you saying I gave you a ticket back there…are you being sarcastic or being serious?”

“No, no,” I scrambled to clarify that I wasn’t being confrontational. “I deserved a ticket but you didn’t give me one and I wanted to thank you for that. I know you guys get hassled a lot, but I forgot to say thanks for cutting me a break…that’s all.”

She smiled and gave me a little hug and thanked me for, well, being appreciative of the break she cut me.

We both headed our separate ways both of us with one less parking ticket for the day.

‘Sexy Meter Maid’ Another Costume Idea For Halloween

Naughty Meter Maid

Yeah,  everyone should know by now that the term “meter maid” is an outdated term and is not considered politically correct in these so-called enlightened times.

Historically, nationally, internationally and here in Chicago, parking meter enforcement has been done by women. It was only in 1978 that “meter maids” officially began being called Parking Enforcement Aides here in Chicago, according to the Chicago Department of Revenue’s in-house newsletter Revenue Buzz. It then was another 12 years before the first male PEA was hired.

Be that as it may, with Halloween looming, The Expired Meter has found an all around un-PC costume for all those readers looking for that parking enforcement themed costume. With the compelling title of  “Money Maker Mama Sexy Meter Maid Costume” and manufactured by the always classy Shirley of Hollywood, you can never  go wrong.

Again, if this doesn’t work for you and you’re completely desperate, check out the officially licensed Parking Ticket Geek mask for this Halloween.

City Sees 26% Jump In Parking Violations

It’s not like we haven’t warned you.

Chicago parking violations  are up dramatically this year according to a great, data-laden piece by Tribune transportation writer Jon Hilkevitch.

This 26% increase in parking tickets compared to this time last year has resulted in an additional $7 million windfall for the city.

Interesting enough, nearly 50% of the jump came at the expense of drivers parked at expired meters  in the Loop or just outside of downtown at the new 24-7 pay boxes.

The only good news is that police ticket writing is down 10% from last year. This is mainly due to a lack of morale within Chicago police ranks.

A good portion of this increase can be directly attributed to the large-scale increase in the ranks of Parking Enforcement Aides (the ticket writing personnel of the the city’s Department of Revenue). As we reported back in August, close to 50 new PEAs were hired and on the street at the end of last year and the first part of this year. The hiring push netted an additional 32 PEAs on the streets writing tickets.

Don’t expect to see an end to this enforcement push either. The city expects to see increases of parking tickets in 2010 from the Dept. of Revenue, but also Chicago Parking Meters (CPM) and their operations partner LAZ Parking is gearing up to add an additional 20 people enforcing meter violations shortly. Shortly after this initial crew hits the streets, even more LAZ personnel is in the works.

Per the parking meter lease deal, CPM has the option to hire their own enforcement to insure people pay those meters.

LAZ’s 20 people will account for at least a 10% increase in ticket writing bodies on the streets of Chicago.

Read all the brutal details in today’s Chicago Tribune.

The Geek Joins Bob Sirott At Noon

Sorry for the short notice.

The Geek joins Bob Sirott on WGN AM 720 on the Noon Show today at…well noon.

Lots of ticket and red light camera stories in the news today.

Tune in!

Be The Parking Ticket Geek For Halloween

halloweeeeeeen
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Click the link to download your very own Parking Ticket Geek Halloween mask.

Sure it’s stupid, but obviously, we don’t really care.

If you’re really desperate for a Halloween costume, go ahead and download a PDF of this officially licensed Parking Ticket Geek mask.

It’s a great costume to scare the hell out of small children and/or your parking scofflaw friends. Trick or treat the Mayor’s house on Halloween with this mask and see what he has to say.

If you’re insane enough, send us photos of yourself wearing the mask and we’ll post them on the website.

Whomever comes up with the most creative parking ticket related costume this Halloween gets some sort of prize. Just send us those photos and we’ll put some sort of decent prize package together.

E-mail your photos to: info@theexpiredmeter.com

WTTW Re-Ignites Motorcyle Meter Matter

Last week, Chicago Tonight, WTTW Channel 11‘s refreshingly intelligent nightly local news program, did a piece on the issues surrounding how motorcycle and scooters riders deal with the new parking meters.

It’s nice to see someone else covering the issue after this site’s original coverage of the issue back in July.

Of course, that fool, the Parking Ticket Geek, weasels his way into the piece as well.

The Most Expensive Chicago Parking Ticket Ever: $1.5 Million

tick vertical

Ya shoulda just paid the ticket Officer Friendly.

Of course hindsight is 20/20. But that’s what the irate Chicago cop who was ticketed by a Traffic Management Authority supervisor two years ago should have done.

Instead, he and his three cop buddies arrested the TMA and injured her when they put her in handcuffs.

Because on Friday, the four were found to have violated the plaintiff’s civil rights. Now Jacqueline Fegan is walking away with $1.5 million of taxpayer money because one cop cried about having to pay a $50 parking ticket.

$50 + $1.99 for a pacifier vs. $1.5 million. Hmmmm.

I’ll take the $50 any day.

The Tribune has all the details.