Monthly Archives: March 2010

City Meter Maintenance Workers Paid Big Overtime Bucks

Remember last spring?

It was when the parking meter transition was spiraling into chaos because LAZ, Chicago Parking Meters’ operational partner could not keep up with all the broken meters and the massive increase in quarter collections?

Well, a lot of city workers who were asked or told to step in and lend a hand made some big money according to the Sun-Times. One mechanic for the city raked in more than $30,000 in overtime. Wow!

The Dirty Business Of Street Cleaning

UPDATE: It was a good try, but no…quorum.

A vote shy of the number needed to call a special session of the city council, the Mayor’s compromise will move forward starting tomorrow.

“I’m glad they’ve come as far as they have the last couple of days,” said 47th Ward Alderman Gene Schulter, who flew back from his vacation in Florida for the special session.

“Whether this compromise will work remains to be seen,” said 49th Ward Alderman Joe Moore, one of the organizers of the street sweeper rebellion. “I’m willing to give it a try. I appreciate Commissioner Byrne’s attempt to keep the street sweepers in the wards. There may be some bugs to work out.”

Moore thinks they’ll know within a few weeks if the compromise plan will work. If it doesn’t work, he says they’ll make another attempt to force the city to move back to the old system.

Just hours before the official start of Chicago’s street cleaning season, there still is no firm plan in place for keeping city streets swept and no comprehensive schedule that can tell residents what streets get cleaned when.

As of 6 PM Tuesday, sources say the Mayor has backed off his plan to push for a grid system for street cleaning.

DOR Director Reyna-Hickey Gives Us The Lowdown On Parking Ticket Payment Options

Department of Revenue Director Bea Reyna-Hickey, takes a moment to inform scofflaws on the many ways they can pay their parking and red light camera tickets from the City of Chicago, as well as sharing some good advice.

Street Sweeper Rebellion Brewing In City Council

Normally Mayor Daley always gets his way.

But, perhaps not this time.

Last Tuesday, just eight days from the traditional April 1st start of the Chicago street cleaning season, the administration decided to make a drastic change to how city streets get cleaned.

For decades, street cleaning was under the control of each of the 50 alderman and their ward’s Street and Sanitation Supervisor. With one street sweeper designated per ward, the two parties would put together a detailed schedule to make sure their ward got the proper amount of street cleaning per season.

But the mayor, facing a severe budget shortfall, and a shortage of street sweeper drivers due to layoffs, decided to switch street cleaning to a grid system. While on its face, the new system seems more efficient, alderman are complaining that the new plan will reduce the number of street cleanings by almost half in many cases and not allow for the type of flexibility needed to sweep on demand after street festivals, after running events, or even after traffic accidents.

But the city council seems to be pushing back.

Loading Zones Don’t Mean Free Parking

Just because your business pays the annual $100 fee for a loading zone, doesn’t mean you can park all day there for free.

But, some drivers on the west side are avoiding paying the meters by taking advanage of loading zone privileges according to CBS 2 News.

The always intrepid Jay Levine and his producer Ed Marshall are on the story taking 27th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett with them to investigate drivers trying to game the system.

Cicero Enlists Town Trustees To Write Parking Tickets

Here’s a unique way to write more parking tickets: give your trustees their very own ticket book.

According to the Chicago Tribune, that’s just what Cicero has decided to do beginning April 2nd after putting their seven trustees through a short training course on how to write parking tickets.

Cullerton’s Red Light Camera ‘Reform’ Bill Passes Senate

The Illinois state Senate passed President John Cullerton’s (D-Chicago) red light camera reform bill Thursday.

The controversial bill, according to anti-red light activists doesn’t do enough to truly reform the use of RLC technology by municipalities, had 45 yea votes and 10 nay votes.

Sen. Dan Duffy (R-Lake Barrington) who had sponsored a draconian bill banning all red light cameras in the state, was one of those no votes because he felt Cullerton’s bill was too watered down.

Anti-red light camera proponents have been publicly critical of the bill.

Westmont Hosts Red Light Camera Forum Thursday

Red light cameras will be the focus of a forum hosted by Social Justice in DuPage Thursday night in west suburban Westmont.

The group has been hosting a series of these forums on topics of the day. This time around, their fourth installment of the series is entitled “Red Light Cameras: Civil Rights vs. Surveillance.” and will take place at the Westmont Public Library at 428 North Cass Avenue. It starts at 6:30 PM.

The esteemed nitwit, The Parking Ticket Geek has very kindly asked to be a panel member.

Budget Issues May Reduce Highway Police Patrols

Since 1985, Illinois State Troopers have patrolled the 53 miles of Illinois highways that run through Chicago.

But now, with the state budget facing draconian cutbacks, this responsibility may fall back on the city’s shoulders according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Gov. Quinn is proposing cutbacks to the state police that would remove the 182 officers who currently patrol Chicago highways. And Mayor Daley is not happy.

Because Daley is already facing his own budget issues and with Chicago police already understaffed, it would be fiscally impossible to replace the patrols with CPD officers.

The most obvious possibility would be a highway system with a skeleton crew of patrols or, according to city hall, installing speed cameras along the highways system and just mail speeding tickets to lead-footed drivers.

Speed cameras?!?

Uh oh! That doesn’t sound good!

Tribune Jumps Into Yellow Light Timing Issue

The Chicago Tribune has devoted many gallons of black ink to covering, or perhaps uncovering the red light camera controversy in Chicagoland.

Tuesday, the newspaper added their take on the yellow light timing issue with an article pointing out the difference in amber times at city intersections versus suburban intersections.