Drivers May Keep Expired Meter Grace Period

Waguespack To Extend 5-Minute Grace Period Beyond April 1

With just a few weeks before Mayor Daley’s five minute grace period for expired meter violations quietly sunsets on April 1st, 32nd Ward Alderman Scott Waguespack has jumped in to help drivers by introducing an amendment to make this ordinance permanent.

Smarting from a constant barrage of criticism over his handling of the privatization of Chicago’s parking meter system, Daley introduced an ordinance early last year that would give drivers parked in a metered space a 5-minute grace period to save them from a $50 ticket if they were a few moments late returning to their car.

The Mayor tossed this olive branch at furious drivers, who were experiencing a second year of parking meter rate increases which jacked up rates by 500%,  and who were still universally hated Daley’s meter lease deal.

Daley’s grace period gave drivers who received an expired meter violation five minutes or less from the expiration time on the pay box meter receipt, could have their parking tickets “non-suited”, or in other words thrown out. Vehicle owners were only allowed one of these free passes once per year.

Since the ordinance passed February 10th of last year, the city has thrown out 3,824 tickets under this grace period provision.

14 Months Of Grace Period, While Lease Lasts 75 Years?

But while the media ran with the feel good nature of the Mayor’s gesture last year, nearly everyone missed one important detail. Despite the fact the length of the parking meter lease contract is 75 years, Daley’s grace period ends just 14 months after it became law.

The April 1st expiration of the grace period is, by some coincidence, comes just weeks after the primary election and a few days after the runoff election.

Waguespack introduced an amendment to the municipal code on February, 2nd eliminating the end date language for the grace period.

But why would the Mayor cut a break to drivers feeling the effects of the new and vastly higher parking meter rates by introducing a law that ends after just 14 months when the meter lease deal would end 74 years later in 2084?

“It is not unusual for sunset provisions to be included in ordinances,” explained Department of Revenue spokesperson Ed Walsh when asked about the short life of the Mayor’s ordinance. “The Mayor proposed and the City Council approved the original ordinance in February 2010. At that time, the pay boxes being installed by the concessionaire were new to many motorists, and the proposal was written to provide some time for motorists to grow accustomed to using them. ”

“Further, the change was designed to assist motorists who are ticketed for accidentally overstaying the time on their pay box receipt by a few minutes despite trying to comply with parking requirements by purchasing adequate parking time.”

Waguespack, the most outspoken critic of Mayor Daley’s parking meter privatization deal was also critical of the short shelf life of Daley’s grace period.

“For him it was purely political–he tried to show good will to people even though he blew the lease deal,” says Waguespack. “Basically he did it as a short term stunt to get through all the negative feedback on the deal. It should be forever or at least for the next 75 years.”

Possibility Grace Period Extension Could Cost City

One possible explanation for the short life of the law would be language in the parking meter lease contract that could cost the city money.

Under the enforcement section of the contract, if the city eases enforcement in any way that might adversely impact meter revenues to Chicago Parking Meters, LLC, it could trigger what’s called a “compensation event.”

It’s feasible under the broad language of the contract, the city would be compelled to pay CPM for this reduction in enforcement.

But Walsh disagrees.

“First, the impact of a ‘grace period’ is not something specifically addressed in the agreement,” says Walsh. “And any extension of the term of the existing 5-minute grace period ordinance wouldn’t necessarily constitute a compensation event under the agreement any more than the grace period does now. Per the agreement, for any City action to constitute a “compensation event,” the
concessionaire would have to prove that it suffered a loss due to that action.”

According to Ald. Waguespack, his amendment should come up at the next meeting of the Committee on Traffic Control and Safety on Tuesday, March 8th.

14 Responses to Drivers May Keep Expired Meter Grace Period

  1. Chuck says:

    Got a ticket? Try this one. Find a parking neighbor who has a valid meter ticket for the time you received a parking ticket. Ask to buy it for what they paid. Hell, pay him or her a couple of bucks extra!! Contest your ticket saying “Sorry, it must have fell on the floor of the car!!”

    Spend $5 to save $45.00!

    Don’t hate the player!!! Hate the game!!!

  2. Winky says:

    And when they put the expired receipt number on the violation, what then?

  3. DoR Employee says:

    Chuck…we take Pictures.

    Of the Dash where the Receipt is Required to be on display.

    Of the Expired Receipt that shows purchase time and expired time.

  4. Winky says:

    ** Speaking for Chuck **

    — shakes fist at DoR Employee & shouts —

    “Damn you! Damn you and your technology to hell….!!!”

    ** Me **

    OK Player, what else you got?

  5. DoR Employee says:

    Whatever happened to the ParkMagic Program that was supposed to make life easier for the public in Chicago that use meters?

  6. Rinzler says:

    Shhhhh DoR, you not suppose to bring a up program that was actually working, that was when the batteries were charged.

  7. [...] Although this grace period has ended, 32nd Ward Alderman Scott Waguespack has introduced legislation to make the grace period permanent. [...]

  8. Iwasinmycar says:

    How does that work if you are parked in a spot but was issued a ticket when you were still in your car or was going to pay for your meter?

  9. DoR Employee says:

    Iwasinmycar……

    Seriously? You got an Expired Meter Ticket while INSIDE your vehicle?

    Motorists walking from a Pay Box are supposed to have the ticket immediately Voided out ON Site if they have a purchased receipt in their hands.

    If we Miss the person walking To the box…and I will honestly say that it is not done on purpose by PEA’s….you have to contest the ticket and better have a receipt with a time stamp of less than 3 minutes from the time the ticket was issued to have any sort of a chance with the ALO. But if you see a PEA while you are walking To the Box…get our darn attention and let US know what vehicle is yours and that you are going to the box. You know…Help us not Ticket you while you are doing what you are Supposed to be doing.

    If you got a Meter Ticket while in the car..well…I have some bad news for you.

    If you are Parked in a Pay Box location, with No Receipt and you don’t have someone going to the box…you are in Violation.

    PEA’s have been informed that we are to Instruct the Drive to Either Go Pay or Leave.

    If we don’t see an Occupant, we just cite. If the Occupant is less than the Legal Driving Age, we Cite. If there is a Language difficulty and I can’t get the people In the car to Understand me, I cite.

    You are not allowed by City Policy to have your vehicle on an Expired Meter space unless you are actively heading to PAY to be Parked there.

    Now…How often do PEA”s write Occupied vehicles for Expired Meters…

    Probably very low numbers. Even our departments most GungHo writers are not that gungho.

    TMA’s would write their mothers though.

  10. karateboi87 says:

    Got a ticket for coming to the vehicle a few minutes late… the ticket expired at 2:01 and my issued ticket had a time of 2:03… can I contest this?

  11. gminor says:

    Contest the hell out of it. It works for me all the time.

  12. Taneisha says:

    I was coming out the store as a ticket giver was giving ticket my meter expired@2:02 I took picture and I was giving a ticket@2:04 can I contest this ticket

  13. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    Taneisha,

    You can contest, but you probably won’t win. Two minutes after the meter expired still means the meter expired.

  14. Ebony says:

    Taneisha,
    I had the same thing happen to me. My sticker expired at 2:33, I got the ticket while I was walking up at 2:35. I yelled to the ticket writer I was coming and she said too late she already issued it. What happen with your contest? Does anyone else know if this is worthy of contesting.

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