Ask The Parking Ticket Geek
I recently received a ticket for parking in front of a driveway.
I parked there after it had snowed and the space was unrecognizable as a driveway since it had not been shoveled and at the building line there is a 7 foot chain link fence across the driveway from one building to another.
A few days later I returned to a ticket.
With the snow melted it was a little more clear I was in front of a driveway. At first I was surprised that the car had not been towed but considering the circumstances I now assume the driveway was not in use. Should I try to fight this ticket? Is there a chance for it to get dismissed?
I think you’re in kind of a grey area here Evan.
But, you should definitely fight it.
Essentially, it sounds like you parked in front what used to be a driveway. There’s a curb cut, but no destination for a vehicle to go to, and according to your description there’s a big ass permanent chain link fence blocking where the former driveway went.
To my mind, this is a bunk ticket written by some smart-alecky ticket writer.
So, let’s read the municipal code.
9-64-100 It shall be unlawful to park any vehicle in any of the following places:
(c) At any place where the vehicle will block vehicular access to or use of a driveway, alley or firelane;
Ok, that makes sense on the surface. But check out the definition of driveway in the muni code.
“Driveway or private road” means every way or place in private ownership and used for vehicular travel by the owner and those having express or implied permission from the owner but not by other persons.
It implies that in order for a driveway to be a driveway you actually need to be able to drive on the driveway. But the big ass fence is in the way so therefore it’s not a driveway. Instead, it’s just a useless curb cut with no where to go.
Here’s what I would do.
Request an in-person hearing. I don’t suggest you contest by mail on this one.
While you’re waiting for a hearing date, wait for it to snow again. When it does, take photos of what the curb cut looked like at the time you parked there. The photos should demonstrate that it was not clear there was a curb cut there.
In addition, provide photos of the fence and the non-driveway to bring to your hearing.
Make the argument it’s not a driveway for all the above reasons and cite the muni code I listed above. At the very least it is, at the very least, very confusing.
To put icing on this little cake we’re making, I would also take some time to take photos of what real driveways look like and present those photos as evidence of how most people define driveways.
I don’t have 100% confidence in this defense. But, if you present your argument in a common sense way and you get a hearing officer who embraces a common sense interpretation of the term “driveway,” I believe you win this one.
Hey there Geek,
Here is my latest parking dilemma.
I was driving my 81 yr old grandmother downtown in my car and we brought along her handicap placard to hang in on the rear view mirror when we park. Upon arriving back at the car we were shocked to find a ticket
on the windshield.
The violation was being parked during “Rush Hour” (4-6) and was issued at 5:30pm. There was no sign near our car that said that, only far down the block.
My question is, shouldn’t the fact that we had the handicap sign in the window made us exempt from this ticket?
Please let me know whether to pay or contest it. Thanks so much for your help!
p.s. They didn’t note the handicap sign on the ticket at all.
Unfortunately, your grandmother’s handicapped placard does not allow you to park for free anywhere you feel like it. And placards don’t possess any special powers that magically repel all parking tickets.
Handicapped plates and placards do two main things.
1. Allows vehicles possessing the placards or plates to park legally in parking spots designated for handicapped persons.
2. Let’s cars with these plates and placards to park for free at any metered parking spaces in the city of Chicago without the typical time limits other drivers face.
So, because you have the placard dangling from the rear view mirror doesn’t mean you can park the car in front of a fire hydrant, in a tow zone or leave your vehicle parked in a rush hour zone.
And despite the fact there was only one sign, parked all the way down the block it looks like you’re out 50 bucks. That’s because the city only has to post one sign per block. Yeah, it sucks, but the city says it’s the driver’s responsibility to obey signs even if they’re posted an eighth of a mile away from where you parked.
If you have a temporary residential parking sticker for a parking space and there is a meter box there that states you have to pay the meter box from 6am-6pm, do you still have to pay for the meter? (ie: I parked at 8pm on a Thursday and put my sticker in the window and I received a ticket at 10am for an expired meter).
I thought the residential parking permits were good for 24 hours?
Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated.
Yeah, this situation can be confusing Polly.
There are some areas of the city where metered spaces and residential permit areas overlap.
It is my opinion that the city should eliminate any of these seemingly contradictory parking situations.
But the thing everyone should know is the metered zone has precedence over the residential parking zone.
Of course, your RPP sticker was good for 24 hours, but you would still have to feed the meter where applicable.
So, yeah, sorry to say I think you’re screwed here.
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