Monthly Archives: November 2011

SpotHero Offers Towed Drivers Free Parking Spots

Getting towed sucks.

At least that’s what SpotHero founder Mark Lawrence thinks.

That’s why, on the eve of Chicago’s Winter Overnight Parking Ban, Lawrence is offering any unfortunate drivers who get towed on the first night of the ban free parking at one of the hundreds of  spots they list for any event, time and place over the next year,

Lawrence feels its a way for his company to lessen the pain of being towed.

“Because we’ve been towed ourselves and getting towed  sucks, it’s our way of giving back because we understand the pain and aggravation,” explains Lawrence. “It’s so we can make parking in Chicago a little better.”

Winter Overnight Parking Ban Starts Tonight

The Facts, Info & Tips To Keep The Tow Trucks Away

With Chicago’s annual Winter Overnight Parking Ban starting late Wednesday night at 3AM (technically Thursday morning), The Expired Meter has the lowdown on what drivers need to know to keep their cars from being hooked up behind a city tow truck.

WHEN?

Thursday, December 1st until April 1st, from 3 AM to 7 AM.

Remember, this really means Wednesday night. Find a safe, legal parking spot on a side street for your car tonight so you can avoid any of this driving drama.

WHERE?

On 107 miles of Chicago’s main arterial streets.

This includes portions of Clark St., Devon, Central, Foster, Kedzie, Milwaukee, Division, Madison, State St., Cermak, Archer, Martin Luther King Drive, Morgan, 60th, Cottage Grove, 78th, 103rd, 106th and Torrence.

Here’s the city’s full listing of streets covered by the parking ban.

If you normally park on a major thoroughfare overnight, double-check the signs along the entire block to see if you can legally park there at night.

Give your alderman’s office a call and double check with a staff member to see where you can legally park and/or what streets near where you live are impacted.

Reference the map below to see if streets where you park are affected.

Statewide Handicap Parking Abuse Sting Nails 31

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White

While shoppers were invading malls all over the state last weekend, Secretary of State Police were making their rounds of malls as well.

But the police weren’t looking for bargains. Instead, they were patrolling mall parking lots looking for scofflaws who abuse handicap parking privileges by illegally parking in spots designated for the handicapped or misusing a disabled parking placard.

Secretary of State Jesse White’s enforcement teams wrote 31 citations from shopping destinations all over the state including Rockford, Springfield, Marion, Bolingbrook, Lombard, Orland Park, Skokie, Carbondale, Peoria, Champaign and even Schaumburg’s Woodfield Mall in this neck of the woods.

Early Warning: Winter Overnight Parking Ban Begins Wednesday Night

It won’t matter.

Seriously, no matter what the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation does, it won’t make a lick of difference December 1st when the city’s annual Winter Overnight Parking Ban begins at 3 AM.

No matter, how much PR and public outreach, no matter how many fliers they’ll place on windshields, no matter how many news stories or permanent posted signs, and even though this annual promotional push by Streets and Sanitation began over a week ago, a few hundred drivers will wake up Thursday morning to find the cars they parked on the street the night before have mysteriously disappeared–POOF!

No, it won’t be some mysterious magic trick, but a tow truck that took their car parked on the one of Chicago’s 107 miles of critical thoroughfares designated for Chicago’s annual Winter Overnight Parking Ban.

“The overnight parking ban is in place during the winter to make sure that critical routes are up and running at all hours so that emergency vehicles, buses and other traffic can get through,” said Streets & Sanitation Commissioner Thomas G. Byrne.

The ban runs every night/early morning from 3 AM until 7 AM starting Thursday, December 1st and continues through April 1st.

Chicago Tribune Gives Quinn Green Light On Speed Cameras

The Chicago Tribune editorial board thinks Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposed speed camera program is just fine and dandy.

In fact, the Trib edit board essentially pleading with Governor Pat Quinn to not delay and speedily sign that puppy into law. “Do it for the kids Gov. Quinn!,” is the overriding theme of the piece.

On Sunday, the board’s editorial, entitled “Speeding cameras: Go, governor,” salivated over the idea giving readers such insightful platitudes as “If you don’t speed, you won’t have to pay.”

The editorial also cites alleged “safety studies” done by the city as evidence the program is a super, duper idea, even though the newspaper’s own reporting found significant flaws in how the city interpreted their own data. In fact, the city’s own numbers showed that most juvenile pedestrian deaths due to car crash were on side streets–not on busier thoroughfares.

Ticket Writer Charged With Taking Bribe To Make Parking Ticket ‘Disappear’

The wheels of justice move very slowly.

While the Chicago Sun-Times’ gossip columnist Michael Sneed is reporting about Parking Enforcement Aide Jamila Judkins recently charged with taking a $20 bribe in the form of a personal check to make a parking ticket disappear, the original alleged incident of bribery is nearly three years old.

The alleged bribe took place in March, 2009 in the West Rogers Park neighborhood and was originally reported on Ken’s Blog a week after the original incident with all the juicy details.

This site had reached out to the young man who wrote the $20 check in May, 2009 to get more information and try to confirm some of the details. He responded, and asked for us to keep his name out of any story.

Ultimately, when we didn’t get a response from the driver after tendering some followup questions to the original email, and therefore unable to confirm what we thought were crucial details, we decided against publishing the allegations at the time.

But here’s what he said in his email to our original inquiry.

“I was parking on Devon Ave. to go to the bakery. When I got out of the bakery I saw a meter maid giving me a ticket for not paying the meter. When she saw me she said, “since I went in and out of the bakery in five minutes she wasn’t going to give me the ticket”. I told her thank you and began to get into my car. She then said that when she let’s people off she usually gets a little something in return a small fee to her for $20.00. I told her I did not have any cash, and that I only had a check book. She then said I should go into my car and to write the check out to her name. So I went into my car and wrote her the check. She then walked off to go to the bank. When I got home I told my father what happened and he immediately canceled the check. We then went to the police station to file a report. The investigator then called me a few weeks later and had me pick out her picture.

Geek Joins Nick D On WGN Radio Tonight At 10

Apologies for the short notice.

The Parking Ticket Geek is going to talk tickets and all things driving Friday night at 10 PM with Nick Digilio on WGN Radio 720 AM.

Listen in and then call in and torment the Geek at 312-591-7200.

Black Friday Will Cost Some Shoppers More Than Planned With Disabled Parking Crackdown

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White is not playing.

White announced Tuesday that Secretary of State Police will be patrolling Woodfield Mall on the day after Thanksgiving to target scofflaws who use disabled parking placards or handicap license plates to park illegally in designated handicap parking spots.

Similar enforcement stings will be happening simultaneously statewide at malls in Rockford, Springfield and Marion.

“Our mission is not to give tickets, but to ensure the parking spaces are available to those who need them,” White said. “My message today is simple-if you don’t belong there-don’t park there.”

While White’s office conducted a similar enforcement program last year on Black Friday, this year’s clampdown comes on the heels of a Sun-Times expose’ that showed the immense volume of motorists using stolen or borrowed disabled parking placards to avoid having to pay for metered street parking.

AAA: Expect More Traffic This Thanksgiving

IDOT Suspends Road Work, State Police Prepare DUI Crackdown For Holiday Weekend

More motorists will be traveling to get your turkey dinner this Thanksgiving Day holiday according to the AAA.

The AAA Motor Club says 2 million Illinois motorists will be hitting the road for the holiday, telling drivers to expect a 3.8% increase in passenger car traffic over Thanksgiving 2010–despite gas prices which are on average, fifty cents higher than last year.

“Driving AAA’s projected increase in the number of Thanksgiving travelers is pent-up demand from Americans who may have foregone holiday travel the last three years,” said Brad Roeber, regional president of AAA Chicago. “This is the first significant increase in any holiday travel this year. Memorial Day travel was statistically flat while Independence Day and Labor Day travel experienced decreases of 2.5 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively.”

Despite this uptick in travel this Thanksgiving, holiday travel is still below historical averages and well below pre-recession levels.

IDOT Suspending Road Construction, Opening Up  Lanes

Union Fights Back For 4 Cops Caught Up In Ticket Writing Scam

No surprise here.

The Fraternal Order of Police, the union which represents Chicago police officers is strongly backing its four members who’ve been implicated and recommended for termination for their alleged involvement in the Mark Geinosky ticket writing scam says the Chicago Tribune.

Geinosky is the man from the South Suburbs who kept on getting parking tickets for places he had never been. Geinosky got 24 tickets in all and beat every last one, but media scrutiny from the Tribune’s Problem Solver column and Geinosky’s law suit has put the jobs of several cops at risk.

Three of the four cops have hearing dates on December 9th. The fourth one is fighting in Afghanistan and won’t have his hearing until he returns stateside.

Here’s the Tribune’s update on the case, “Problem Solver: Ticket case keeps on ticking.”