NBC 5 Looks Into ‘Rash’ Of Parking Tickets

Some people think the city has beefed up its ticket writing to raise more revenue.

That’s the thesis of an NBC 5 piece Wednesday night.

Lisa Parker’s piece spotlights a woman who was ticketed for parking a vehicle taller than 6′ less than 20 feet from a crosswalk–an obscure violation meant more for commercial vehicles than passenger vehicles.

Driver Kelly Martin, fought the ticket using manufacturer data to prove her Mistibushi Endeavor is actually only 5′ 10″ tall but was still found liable for the ticket.

According to the NBC 5 piece, violations have jumped from about 100 tickets in 2009 to approximately 501 in 2010.

But the reality is ticket writing was down substantially in 2010–the lowest in 15 years according to the Dept. of Revenue, mainly because police are writing substantially fewer parking tickets than in previous years.

The good news is NBC’s attention got Administrative Hearings to non-suited her ticket.

Here’s NBC 5′s full story, “Drivers Awash in a Sea of Orange Fight Back.”

You can also watch the full video too.

20 Responses to NBC 5 Looks Into ‘Rash’ Of Parking Tickets

  1. Rinzler says:

    Let us play devils advocate. If Kelly’s car was over 6ft, and was within the 20ft of the crosswalk as shown. Wouldn’t the fact she was on a one way street and passed the crosswalk, wouldn’t the ticket writer use some judgement and keep on going. Some ordinances are created for the safety of the citizens. The way this one was applied smells like a revenue or quota generator. I am sure Capt. M and DoR would disagree, but I know there are ticket writers out there that would show some God given old fashion common sense and keep on moving.

    What about the Administrative Hearing People? How come they didn’t automatically dismiss this ticket? Kelly should have contested the ticket in person and it would be a slam dunk win.

    65% of 300k contested tickets were dismissed. Impressive, but how many tickets were written for the year? How many people just layed down and roll over for the city?

  2. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    Actually, this particular violation (over 6′/20 feet from crosswalk) is something I’m sure Capt. M Plate would enforce.

    Because when you think about it, the law makes sense for the safety of pedestrians.

    The problem is not so much enforcing the law when the violation is committed, but writing the ticket for a vehicle under that 6′ height.

    Another good thing would be to educate the public about this somewhat obscure law.

  3. DoR Employee says:

    The major issue, as I see it; is that Not Every ticket writer is exactly 6 feet tall, blonde and blue eyed.

    We are all of different height….thus the P.O.V (point of view) is slightly different when looking at a vehicle.

    Only reason this woman is bitching is because the ALO screwed up and didn’t toss it based upon the evidence of the Vehicle Maker.

    Keep in mind though…

    If you alter the top of the vehicle with a storage Rack type device…you are potentially at risk from those few mere inches.

    But it should have been non-Suited in the first place from the data from Mitsubishi.

  4. This driver has “some kind of nerve” expecting ticket writers to actually be accurate about the height measurement of her vehicle when it comes to applying the city ordinance and trying to ring up the city’s cash register. DOR’s comment has no foundation and is a blatant misrepresentation, because the roof rack is standard equipment on this model vehicle. The height was measured on the TV spot too. The city ordinance specification was not violated and ticket writers should be prohibited from writing any tickets involving any physical measurements unless the ticket writers carry and use measuring tapes. Maybe the ticket writer was standing in one of Chicago’s numerous pot holes and this threw off the height perceptio, could it be the ticket writer wasn’t wearing their necessary prescription eyeglasses or the eyeglasses were fogged up from Chicago’s winter weather, it’s possible.
    What’s predictable, but inexcusable, is that the write-in defense was not properly reviewed, CaChingg!
    It’s stories like these the suburbs love to hear, as residents move out of the city and don’t look back.

  5. DoR Employee says:


    Since I don’t own one of those vehicles And have NOT seen a Current Picture of this Womens vehicle…I don’t know/and neither do you; if the sport rack that is standard on it has been altered or not.

    I mentioned the modification issue just as a friendly heads up, not as a ‘you stupid idiot, it is actually your fault’ comment.

    But you’re correct Barnet.

    We all should walk around with a 25ft long tape measure and NIT PICK to the Inch.

    Thanks for the advice. I’ll pass it along to Bea Hickey and Cochran-Persons that the Ticket Doctor thinks all PEA’s should be required to measure every vehicle for Distance and Height violation ordinance citations.

    15 feet from a Fire Hydrants
    20 feet from the Crosswalk
    12 inches or more from the Curb
    6ft Tall or Taller, within 20 feet of the crosswalk.
    10 Feet from Rail Tracks.
    30 Feet from Stop Sign or Corner Mounts Stop Signals.

    Get ready Barnet…it is now your fault.

  6. DoR Employee says:

    501 tickets of 1 specific Violation in 365 days is not a lot.

    That is what stuns me.

    They don’t bitch about an Upswing in “Tow Zone/No Park Anytime” tickets near a Starbucks. Or Street Cleaning tickets written in ward 20 or 1 or 18. And that’s because People “Should KNOW BETTER.”

    But they don’t discuss how the alderman’s office doesn’t keep the voters informed about all parking rules and compliance rules that the city has the Right to Enforce daily. Last time I walked into my alderpersons office they were OUT of Stock on the Municipal Code book that deals with Title 9 (Vehicles/Traffic/Rail)

    They keep their lips buttoned about complaints from citizens about Street Cleaning tickets being written early by the Police Department.
    They ignore complaints about CPD tickets/TMA tickets written for “NO Parking IN Loop” outside of Loop Borders.
    They don’t discuss complaints about SER CO’s overly aggressive interpretation and enforcement of the Municipal Code to make their daily quota.
    They don’t report about Managers or Directors that get tickets tossed for family members.

    They don’t Report about PEA’s that are Attacked during work hours. Just because no one likes us, we are ignored regarding assault and battery events.

    We have it rough by virtue of doing a City Job that No one actually grows up and wants to do.

    We do the job no one wants to do.
    We do the job the Police are too Fucking Lazy to do.

    We catch a lot of shit attitude because the Police are too lazy to write tickets when they are not working a Call or on Lunch or banging their Mistress while the wife has the kids.

  7. The Parking Ticket Geek says:


    In regards to your thoughts above, I agree 501 tickets is not a lot.

    My guess is the number is up from the previous year due to a memo to PEAs to remember to ticket for that particular violation.

    And yeah, the media, especially TV, finds what they think is a story and shines a bright light on it even if it’s not really much of a story.

    The reality is, some people are going to be ticketed improperly, mistakes do happen. I think if a vehicle is close to 6′ tall and the ticket writer is unsure, they should let it go.

    In this case it didn’t happen and the ticket writer was wrong.

    But more importantly, after the lady presented data that proved the ticket wrong, the ticket was upheld by the ALO. That’s actually even worse than the erroneous ticket.

    That data should have been an EASY dismissal.

    5’9″ < 6′ This is simple math. Even a lawyer should be able to figure that one out. As far as cops, they’re like PEAs or anyone else. There are great cops and great PEAs. There are also goofs, dimwits, jerks, etc. in all areas of life. I’d like to think that most cops are good people protecting us from the bad guys despite the bad apples. Same goes for PEAs and writing tickets. As a last point, I don’t like getting parking tickets. But, PEAs are necessary to enforce the law. I don’t like it, but it is what it is. People who don’t like parking tickets should really not take it out on PEAs. They just enforce the law. It’s City Hall where you should direct your anger. It’s the bad parking and driving policies we should have an issue with not the PEAs who are simply doing their job by enforcing them.

  8. M Plate says:

    There was no memo on this one.

    We don’t get memos that say “push Code # ” or anything like that.

    Want to know why that one is enforced more now? You can thank me.

    I’ve gotten questions from PEA’s at the sites I used to work out of “how is it you write #### each day Every Day?”

    And I tell them…I know what We are Authorized to Write…so I write it. I don’t walk by a Budweiser Semi in the Bike Lane because he is delivering Beer….Illegally Parked means I ticket you. I don’t ignore a School Bus on an Expired meter or a fire hydrant.

    I don’t care if your an M Plate on an Expired Meter. If you’re not on a Job..pay the meter.

    I am not paid to care why you parked on a hydrant, or in a bus stop, or in a tow zone; I am not paid to take into consideration that the Economy is Hard and “oh…that’s Mean.” Tough times means you should take pains to Park Legally and not do things that make my job Easy.

    The Job description is to Find and Identify Violations and Cite the offending Vehicle.

    Not be a pussy and walk in a circle for 8 hours and write 20 tickets cause you really want to be liked by society.

    We have moron Managers and Directors that actually consider this department to be a “Customer Service” for the citizens of Chicago.
    And I can’t keep a straight face with that one either, Mike.

  9. DoR Employee says:

    Mike…like I said; The ALO screwed up.

    Yes…I am sorry the writer was off by 3 inches. I don’t like making mistakes anymore than the next human being.

    But an Honest error by the ticket writer isn’t deliberate.

    The Judgment by the ALO despite evidence was Deliberate.

  10. Here’s the deal DOR when an employee is paid to enforce the law, follow the law! When a citation is issued for a particular violation there must be a legal foundation. If the employee is required to use a tool such as a tape measure, to ensure the accuracy of the tickets, then so be it. There is no latitude for laziness just because a ticket writer can get away with it. Even an illicit, mechanically defective parking ticket is a fraud on the public whether it’s one ticket or 500 when the issuers may be too uncaring to perform their duty fairly. Imagine when Chicago parking tickets are filled out with non-existent addresses, pure fraud. So why should motorists trust a ticket’s accuracy when the majority thrust is financially based? Simple, they don’t…
    What if there was a package atop the SUV in question, not part of the permanent structure of the vehicle, does this violate the ordinance since it is not a permanent part of the vehicle? The city’s web site says”f you own or rent a large vehicle like a suburban utility vehicle (SUV) it may be 6 feet or taller. You may not park a vehicle 6 feet or taller within 20 feet of a crosswalk because other motorists may have difficulty seeing around your vehicle before entering an intersection. Therefore, this restriction promotes safety for all drivers as well as pedestrians.” Since the ordinance speaks to motorists entering the intersection it may not apply to vehicles on a one-way street which are parked “past the intersection” thereby not infringing the forward site distance of motorists, which was the case in this event.

  11. Rinzler says:

    M Plate, you must be getting a bonus? Or perhaps you are on power trip? Maybe you are making up in this area because you are lacking somewhere else?

    I know a few ticket writers and many cops. One thing they both have in common, they know how to show mercy. A little good will can go a long way.

  12. DoR Employee says:

    Barnet…the ordinance is clear cut.

    It shall be unlawful to stand or park any vehicle 6ft or greater in height within 20 feet of a Crosswalk. Direct quote. No leeway for direction of street (a la One Way) or modifications to the vehicle with a rack or storage case, etc..

    Nothing in it about modifications being exempted. I had to look to check.


    M Plate is the product of Military and Police Training. A tad gungho..but ultimately is still correct.

  13. DoR, with all due respect, did you view the NBC video clip showing the Mitsubishi SUV under discussion? I did and it clearly showed what appeared to be a stock Mitsubishi roof rack. The owner measured it on camera with a metal tape measure which showed less than 6 feet in height.
    Unless I am mistaken, no one mentioned a modified luggage rack except you.
    As someone who has been in the automotive industry for many years, including truck design for Beatrice Foods, maybe you can disclose to me what the nature of the roof rack modification is you referenced. I am curious please advise.

  14. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    Well said about fair enforcement Rinzler.

    I have no comment on your other allegations.

    But fair enforcement is fine. Overzealous enforcement is ultimately counter productive as it makes drivers feel the city is only looking for revenue.

    Look, if we didn’t have any parking enforcement, driving and parking would be even more of a nightmare with people flaunting the law.

    But, if you drivers get pissed and frustrated an environment of anger is fostered between ticket writers and drivers.

    I don’t want to see things explode into violence against city employees.

  15. How’s this for a suggestion; run all issued parking ticket addresses through the city’s geographic map data base to verify addresses and minimize non-existent addresses.

  16. Rigo Beagle says:

    DOR EMPLOYEE & M-Plate = both dummies, don’t listen to their nonsense

  17. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    I don’t know Rigo.

    DoR seems to know his stuff when it comes to the law and most of his advice seems pretty right on.

    Although, sometimes he can be a bit acerbic.

  18. DoR Employee says:

    Barnet…leaving out for the moment your favorite story about getting ticketed on West Michigan Avenue…

    Every Hundred Block has 100 numbers that are valid for use on a Citation.
    There is not a requirement for the physical number to appear on a physical building.

    Rinzler…this is Enforcement of Municipal Code. I think you can understand to concept of “Fair and Equal Treatment.” If PEA so and so writes 1 Expired License Plate ticket on a Block…he/she has to write all of them that are found. If CPD officer so and so Writes 1 Rush Hour ticket…he/she has to write all of them on that Street.

    I can Choose to Skip a particular violation code for a day…like say, Expired Meters or 12in or more From the Curb. I don’t have to skip anything though. But I must be fair about my enforcement…Or Else it would appear to look like Favoritism.

  19. InDisbelief says:

    I think this is absolutely true!

    Take this for example: I went to my car yesterday, where it is legally parked on the street. Once there I discovered I have 3 parking tickets. 3!! They were all issued by the same Officer, almost exactly 24-hours apart. What are they for? Having an expired plate…

    My plates are not expired…

    The Officer seemed convinced that the “3″ on my license plate is actually a “2″ and felt it necessary to issue me 3 tickets based on his mistake.

    Moving right along…
    Today I go to check my car. I have ANOTHER ticket, this time from a different Officer. This Officer took the time to check my expiration and got it right. However, he issued me another mistaken ticket. He wrote my plates violate Municipal Code 9-76-160(d) for being obstructed. In no way shape or form is this true. I have a frame on it- that is all- this is not illegal in the City of Chicago. Thus, leaving me with my fourth ticket that I have to contest.

    Either these guys have taken a serious dislike to my Hyundai Santa Fe or they are stepping up their ticketing for the year.

  20. Optimus Prime says:

    Go to police station and try to get them non-suited.

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