Yearly Archives: 2011

Americans Spend Record In Annual Gas Purchases


That’s how much the average American family will have spent filling up their motor vehicles in 2011–a record amount according to The Blaze.

That number also accounts for 8.4% of the median income of the average U.S. family, the highest percentage of income for gasoline since 1981 when it was 8.8% of total family income.

For context, over the past decade gasoline purchases was a pretty constant 5.3% of average total family income.

These record breaking numbers have a lot to do with the high cost of gasoline. Nationally, the price of gas averaged over $3.50 per gallon for regular unleaded, and much more in the Chicagoland area which at some points during the year boasted the highest gas prices in the nation

CBS2 News Covers Parking Meter Story At 6 PM

CBS 2 News picks up and runs with The Expired Meter’s exclusive story on the $2.1 million bill the city received from Chicago Parking Meters, LLC for lost revenue in 2009 and 2010.

Here’s CBS 2′s full story: “Parking Meter Firm Bills City $2.1M For Lost Revenue From Street Closures.”

SpotHero Wins $10,000 Grand Challenge Apps Competition

SpotHero's Jeremy Smith and Mark Lawrence

“We are really pumped!”, says Chicago parking website SpotHero co-founder excitedly over the phone.

And why shouldn’t be?

The Chicago-based startup company that helps drivers locate and reserve parking spots, was just awarded $10,000 as the Grand Challenge winner of the Apps 4 Metro Chicago competition.

The winners were announced this morning at Excelerate Labs by Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Director of Social Media Kevin Hauswirth, and Illinois Chief Operating officer Andy Ross Friday morning.

SpotHero became a finalist in the Grand Challenge portion of the competition after winning the earlier Transportation round of the competition earlier in the year.

Major Crackdown On Disabled Parking Abuse Thursday

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A joint enforcement effort between Secretary of State Police and Chicago Police put many police officers on the ground at five separate locations around downtown Chicago Thursday looking for abuse of disabled parking laws according to the NBC Chicago website.

Parking Meter Firm Bills City Another $2.1 Million

Documents Show Hidden Cost Of Lease Deal To Taxpayers

An LAZ employee documents a closure along Irving Park Road at California Ave. for Chicago Parking Meters, LLC

While Chicago’s infamous parking meter lease deal quietly celebrated its third anniversary the first week of December, the city was releasing documents chronicling more evidence the privatization of the city’s more than 36,000 parking meters turned out to be more costly for taxpayers than originally imagined.

Financial statements, released by the Chicago Inspector General’s office via their Open Chicago government transparency initiative, reveals what many critics of the lease deal had feared–the city would end up owing or paying Chicago Parking Meters, LLC millions of dollars in compensation when any sort of change or activity by the city impacts parking meter revenue for the company.

Financial statements for the company show that CPM has billed the city an additional $2,191,326 in “True-up Revenue” through the end of 2010.

As the notes from the independent auditor’s report by accounting firm KPMG LLP to the financial statements explains:

Chicago Tonight Weighs In On Chicago Parking Meters’ $13.5 Million Bill For Free Disabled Parking

WTTW’s Paris Schutz puts together a nice nuts and bolts synopsis of Chicago Parking Meter, LLC’s recent $13.5 million bill for an overabundance of motorists utilizing handicap license plates and disabled placards to park for free in metered spots.

And The Winner Is…

Freshman Student Wins City Sticker Design Contest

Lawrence Hall Youth Services freshman Herbert Pulgar's winning city sticker design

While just a freshman, Herbert Pulgar, a student from Lawrence Hall Youth Services walked away as the winner of Chicago’s 2012-2013 city sticker design contest.

This is the third time in the 17 years of the contest that a student from Lawrence Hall has won the annual competition.

Over 18,000 people voted for the designs of ten student finalists last week online and via a computer kiosk at City Hall.

“This city is very special to me, which is why I chose to create a heart filled with both our skyline and the Chicago flag, explained Pulgar about his artwork. “From the top of the heart, I wanted convey the diversity of our great city and its emergency personnel by using four different hands and the three first response symbols. Thank you for the great opportunity to share my artwork with the citizens of Chicago.

Chicago Parking Meters Bills City $13.5 Million For Disabled Parking

UPDATE: Mayor Emanuel says he’s not going to pay CPM’s $13.5 bill according to the Sun-Times.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Emanuel had some strong words about the subject.

“I just don’t write blank checks to companies that say that’s what we owe. I’m gonna be the taxpayer watchdog,” the mayor said Tuesday. “Now, they may say that’s what we owe. But, just because they submit it doesn’t mean that’s what we’re gonna pay. We’re contesting that right now in a series of discussions with the company.”

Here’s the Sun-Times story.

Original post below.

I-GO Spending $2.5 Million To Go Electric

I-GO's future solar powered EV charging stations

I-GO, Chicago’s homegrown non-profit car sharing program, recently announced a new $2.5 million initiative to fully embrace the burgeoning electric car movement.

Not only does I-GO have plans to purchase 36 new all electric vehicles to add to their stable of over 225 hybrid or gas powered vehicles, but will also fund the installation of 18 solar powered electric car charging stations in and around Chicago.

Once the initiative is finished, I-GO will have the largest all electric car fleet in the Midwest and will use more solar power to charge electric vehicles than anyone else in the nation.

Mayor Emanuel Proposes Tough New Fines For Disabled Parking Abuse

Don’t even think about it.

That’s the message Mayor Rahm Emanuel is trying to convey to drivers who feel compelled to misuse disabled parking placards or handicap plates to park for free on metered streets.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the proposal cruised through the City Council Committee on Pedestrian and Traffic Safety Monday and looks like it will be voted on by the full City Council at Wednesday’s meeting.

The proposed change in the law would hand down fines between $1500 and $3000 for drivers flouting the law. Furthermore, the driver’s vehicle would be immediately towed and impounded to the tune of an additional $150.

Emanuel’s plan had the support of Secretary of State Jesse White who has his own major changes planned for the state law that controls handicap parking abuse.

It seems both Emanuel’s and White’s push for more stringent laws on disabled parking abuse is the direct result of a week long series on the subject by the Chicago Sun-Times last month which caught myriads of drivers involved in this type of abuse.