Monthly Archives: October 2011
Next time you fill up your car at the gas station, you might want to wear a full body hazmat suit.
A new report released Tuesday says that gas pump handles are about the dirtiest, most germ infested surface people touch during their work day.
According to USA Today 71% of gas pump handles show signs of bacteria or viruses that will make you sick. The handles on corner mailboxes came in at second grimiest with 68%.
No, it’s not a re-run of Oprah.
But, Chicago drivers might be surprised by the fashionable new look your parking meter pay boxes are sporting.
Mayor Emanuel, in his effort to bring new revenue to the city and fill the budget deficit, is proposing adding a $2 per day fee to the cost of parking in both private and public parking garages and lots in Chicago. The idea is to discourage people from driving and instead use public transportation, bike or walk to work.
The $2 fee would be used to invest in public transportation, install more bike lanes and improve pedestrian safety.
In other words, motorists would pay more to facilitate others who don’t choose to drive.
Not only is the idea getting poor reviews from drivers, but transportation experts are panning the idea as well according to a story by National Public Radio.
Electric car technology seems all the rage these days.
Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt, Tesla Roadster, Mistibushi MiEV and others.
One of these electric car companies, Fisker seems to be getting some bad press lately.
First, ABC News reports that Fisker got $529 million in loan guarantees from the U.S. Department of Energy at the behest of the Obama administration to build cars in the U.S.
The good news is 500 people were hired to manufacture the luxury $97,000 Fisker Karma. The bad news is, those 500 people live in Finland.
Law Could Make Chicago Speed Camera Capital Of U.S.
That’s the message the city was trying to sell at a press conference on Thursday where Chicago Public School CEO Jean-Claude Brizard and Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy got behind an effort to swing public support behind utilizing the city’s red light cameras to issue tickets for speeding. With very minor adjustments, Chicago’s current RLC’s could be used to enforce speeding violations in addition to issuing red light camera tickets.
“One-third of Chicago children walk to school each day, and we must do everything we can to ensure they get there safely,” said Brizard at UIC College Prep High School. “This new legislation will help us take additional steps to reduce reckless driving and enhance school environments so that they are safe for students and staff, which is vital for teaching and learning.”
Mayor Emanuel is pushing for changes to the state’s red light camera legislation that would allow Chicago to begin using red light cameras to now enforce speeding violations.
With Mayor Rahm Emanuel desperately trying to figure out any possible way to generate more revenue for a cash starved city, he proposed the brilliant idea of raising the cost of city stickers $15 on heavier passenger vehicles last week.
On the surface, it was easy to shrug off the notion because only people with those evil gas guzzlers would be affected. But what the Mayor failed to make clear was that the city would also lower the weight for this heavier vehicle classification from the current 4500 pounds to 4000.
This added a whole heckuva lot more cars to the SUV class with nearly 200,000 more vehicles paying almost double of what they paid this year. Cars like the Ford Taurus, the Ford Explorer and mini vans like the Toyota Sienna.
The main argument the city made in defense of this proposal was that heavier vehicles–even ones as light as 4000 pounds–are more damaging to city streets because of their weight.
But according to Department of Finance spokesperson Holly Stutz, the plan is not as insidious as it sounds. Stutz says the RLCs would be restricted to only be issuing speeding tickets in areas where there are a lot of children and pedestrians.
“It’s meant to get people to slow down in school and park zones,” says Stutz. “This is not a revenue generating piece of legislation it’s safety legislation.”
Stutz says the idea is relatively new and will be introduced in the Illinois General Assembly soon.
UPDATE: Chicago Tonight did a report on catching speeders with RLC cameras this evening according to our friend The Ticket Doctor. We’ll post the video when it becomes available.
UPDATE: Just added video of Target 5 piece to the Geek Media page.
The piece airs at 10 PM tonight on NBC 5.
Sources at NBC tell us that annoying Parking Ticket Geek may make a cameo appearance in the story.
View more videos at: http://nbcchicago.com.
NBC 5 and a myriad of other TV stations covered the story about police officers writing tickets for vehicles with old city stickers on their windshields.
In general, most of the stories are riddled with errors and inaccuracies. While the speculation is this spate of erroneous tickets are an effort to generate more revenue for a cash strapped city, both the Department of Revenue and Chicago City Clerk’s office adamantly deny their enforcement staffs engage in this type of ticket writing. Since the DOR does the majority of the parking enforcement in the city, this story is more likely just a set of incidents isolated to one or two north side police districts.
According to sources within the Department of Revenue, lots of drivers have been inquiring about the details of city sticker enforcement to make sure they don’t get tagged with a $120 parking ticket.
Here’s the Tribune’s version of this story, “Chicago ticketing cars with old city stickers?“
Medill Reports has an interesting piece about how a somewhat arcane change in the state sales tax may inadvertently increase the cost of gas for Chicago drivers.
Here’s how it breaks down.
Chicago drivers get a discount on their sales tax for any E10 gasoline, a blend of ethanol and regular gas.
The federal government is close to approving a new blend called E15, with a higher percentage of ethanol.
The Illinois state legislature is working on a change to the state sales tax that would eliminate the discount on E10 and move it to E15.